|It's a jungle out there!|
The alarm went off at 04:30 am and I rubbed my bleary eyes and jumped to it. I met N.Y. Roll at the Stone Castle Estates, where I was greeted by his dog, Ella, at the door. After a short chat, we were off in the direction of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail (CVNT), going Southeast out of town, so we could explore some roads that N.Y. Roll had been on and a few he had not been on.
Fall air was in play as it was about 52°F at the beginning of the ride, and it dipped down a bit from there. There was a mostly cloudy sky, (although we couldn't see anything at first), and a light breeze out of the Northwest. All in all it was pretty pleasant, actually. I wore my base layer, my Twin Six Standard Wool jersey, wool arm warmers, a RidingGravel.com vest, Showers Pass shorts, Zion liner, Twin Six wool socks, and I cut up a couple plastic shopping bags which I wrapped around my toes and then I put on my Shimano RX8 shoes over that. I wore a tube sock (or "Buff", as they are called) under my helmet. I was warm all ride long and never was really uncomfortable. Temperatures probably dipped into the upper 40's at some points, and it got up to 58°F by rides end.
I rode the Noble Bikes GX5 with a clip on rear fender fitted, and a Revelate Tangle Bag, along with an old Carousel Designs bento bag. I used the Giant Recon HL 1600 front light and a Bontrager tail light. Equipment was spot on for this ride.
|A ghostly N.Y. Roll rides alongside me South of Waterloo, Iowa.|
N.Y. Roll advised me that we were looking for Miller Creek Road and there we would go left. It wasn't long and we had made the corner and when we did the dead flat road, on a river valley floor, was not very well drained or solid. In fact, it was in classic, "Trans Iowa condition", being mushy, muddy, and it was causing a lot of extra effort and concern for my drive train. While I never heard any crunchy, snappy weirdness from the chain ring or cassette while it integrated with the chain, I did get a bit of skipping at a couple of points. Mud was flinging off my front tire in the light beam, and I could hear the maelstrom of grit pounding off the carbon down tube and off the back of the seat tube. Not a pleasant sound! I was sure hoping this was an odd situation and that the rest of the roads were going to be better.
N.Y. Roll wanted to turn onto Cotter Road eventually, and when we made that turn South, we found that the road trended upward in elevation and the road was much firmer and faster than what I had been on before. Of course, now the light was growing as the Sun, somewhere behind those clouds in the Eastern sky, mounted up and brought forth day.
|Up and into drier territory on Cotter Road.|
|Stopping for a nature break.|
|Pushing further South.|
Eventually we went South past LaPorte a bit and then circled back around and North a hair to catch HWY 218 North into LaPorte. Oddly enough, while several cars went out Southward, we were never passed by a car or truck all the way into town and on to Rocket's, it was free and clear. Riding pavement was a bit different, but sometimes I actually do this, and I haven't forgotten how.
|Drafting into LaPorte from the South on HWY 218.|
|Someone carved what was left of an old tree into a corn cob.|
|Highly recommended if you are ever in LaPorte, Iowa. The Rocket's Bakery blueberry fritter was great!|
|Heading out of LaPorte, the Sun actually shone for a bit.|
|Riding along the mighty Cedar River in Waterloo, Iowa.|
|The Noble GX5 after I returned home.|
I am looking forward to more early morning rides! Thanks N.Y.Roll for getting me out there.