Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Weekend Tribute To The C.O.G.100

 The Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross", or as I call it, "Orange Crush"
Yesterday I posted about the happenings around the World in relation to the solo #cog100 ride and posted up some images sent to me and found on social media. Today I am going to tell you what I did to commemorate the "postponed weekend".

Friday I knew that Saturday was going to be a mess, in terms of the weather, so I rode the single speed set up Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, serial # 49, which I call the Orange Crush. That was a fun commute on the new route which does have some alleys, dirt paths, and short cuts across some areas. So, a fair amount of non-paved surfaces. I try to get off pavement as much as possible. Usually that means less, or zero car traffic. The less of that the better! Plus the dirt and alleyways provide more challenges, adventure, and fun. So, I seek that out whenever possible.

The Saturday of the weekend was, as expected, rainy and not conducive to putting in any sort of decent bike ride. I ended up doing a long walk and then spent the rest of the day with my family. Sunday promised to be a bit better, but when the winds were gusting toward 50mph on Sunday morning, I decided to wait until the afternoon to see what would happen. By around 3:00pm, the winds had subsided to a "measly" 16-20mph with a few higher gusts, so I decided to do an urban ride.This was again down some alleyways around my neighborhood. I can literally spend a few hours just riding alleys in this city. The only bad thing about it is that I have to interrupt the fun every block to cross a paved street.

But I like alleyways anyway, despite the constant interruptions. Once in awhile I find some alleys that I can bomb since they are in really quiet neighborhoods. That may be not a smart thing to do, but hey! What is life without taking a chance once in a while? Besides, I am ready to accept any consequences. It is also worth noting I don't do that often, but sometimes......

Alleyway as far as I can see.
There is this one particular alley, it is kind of hidden and out of the way behind some old gentrified homes, that I have discovered that goes fairly steeply down, or up, and is rough, and curves at the bottom. That's one I can generally just blast down, or up, as the case may be, as the cross-street traffic is pretty much nil. Of course, I hit that one Sunday! Then I crossed the mid-Southtown hills and finally did the rustic alleyway down Baltimore Street which leads me right back to my home area. But I wasn't quite ready to be done just yet.

I then hit the Elmwood Cemetery just down from where I live. I made several laps around there, and it is quite hilly, although the hills are tiny. It definitely is not flat! So I got a decent amount of on-again-of-again efforts in a short amount of time back in there.

So, not much to write home about, but there was a ride or two and I made the most out of what I have been handed. Look for a proper "#cog100" outing in the very near future.


The Weekend Tribute To The C.O.G.100

 The Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross", or as I call it, "Orange Crush"
Yesterday I posted about the happenings around the World in relation to the solo #cog100 ride and posted up some images sent to me and found on social media. Today I am going to tell you what I did to commemorate the "postponed weekend".

Friday I knew that Saturday was going to be a mess, in terms of the weather, so I rode the single speed set up Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, serial # 49, which I call the Orange Crush. That was a fun commute on the new route which does have some alleys, dirt paths, and short cuts across some areas. So, a fair amount of non-paved surfaces. I try to get off pavement as much as possible. Usually that means less, or zero car traffic. The less of that the better! Plus the dirt and alleyways provide more challenges, adventure, and fun. So, I seek that out whenever possible.

The Saturday of the weekend was, as expected, rainy and not conducive to putting in any sort of decent bike ride. I ended up doing a long walk and then spent the rest of the day with my family. Sunday promised to be a bit better, but when the winds were gusting toward 50mph on Sunday morning, I decided to wait until the afternoon to see what would happen. By around 3:00pm, the winds had subsided to a "measly" 16-20mph with a few higher gusts, so I decided to do an urban ride.This was again down some alleyways around my neighborhood. I can literally spend a few hours just riding alleys in this city. The only bad thing about it is that I have to interrupt the fun every block to cross a paved street.

But I like alleyways anyway, despite the constant interruptions. Once in awhile I find some alleys that I can bomb since they are in really quiet neighborhoods. That may be not a smart thing to do, but hey! What is life without taking a chance once in a while? Besides, I am ready to accept any consequences. It is also worth noting I don't do that often, but sometimes......

Alleyway as far as I can see.
There is this one particular alley, it is kind of hidden and out of the way behind some old gentrified homes, that I have discovered that goes fairly steeply down, or up, and is rough, and curves at the bottom. That's one I can generally just blast down, or up, as the case may be, as the cross-street traffic is pretty much nil. Of course, I hit that one Sunday! Then I crossed the mid-Southtown hills and finally did the rustic alleyway down Baltimore Street which leads me right back to my home area. But I wasn't quite ready to be done just yet.

I then hit the Elmwood Cemetery just down from where I live. I made several laps around there, and it is quite hilly, although the hills are tiny. It definitely is not flat! So I got a decent amount of on-again-of-again efforts in a short amount of time back in there.

So, not much to write home about, but there was a ride or two and I made the most out of what I have been handed. Look for a proper "#cog100" outing in the very near future.


Monday, March 30, 2020

The Weekend That Was Postponed

Okay, so I want to say up front that I know there are a LOT bigger issues out there than a postponed bicycle event. I get it, but instead of droning on about the obvious I wanted to divert our collective (read: "my" ) thoughts toward something to take our minds off of things for a brief moment.

That diversion would be talking about the weather we had Saturday, and a few other things, that took place when we had the C.O.G. 100 planned to happen. N.Y. Roll told me last week it was probably for the best that it wasn't going to happen, because at that time they were saying we would have severe thunderstorms in the morning hours. Thankfully, that never happened.

What did happen was that we got a typical soaking rain with about 50°F temperatures which would have made the roads pretty much just about as nice as last year's C.O.G.100 event, just with wetness. So, yeah, take away the crazy wind, (there still was plenty of wind though), add rain, and get the same amount of "suck". Ha! Anyway, it would have been quite the slog/mud-fest and we all would have been shivering, wet, and pretty miserable. You know- typical epic Spring gravel racing. 

Oh! And later in the day we had a tornado warning here in Waterloo. May not have affected the event, but there was that too.....

So, if you've ever been in a situation like that, just close your eyes, remember it, and you'd be pretty close to what could have happened over the weekend. Or don't and be glad it never happened. Either way, a single speed would have been a perfect bike for those conditions.

Now, as for the solo #cog100  Yeah..... I postponed that, since things are on high alert in many areas and travel is discouraged in places where stay at home orders are in place. But that didn't stop some of our European brethren, and a couple of others, from riding. So, with names withheld to protect the innocent, I have some submissions to share. One of which is my favorite bike I've seen in quite awhile as far as gravel travel is concerned. I think many of you will agree...... (Guess which one!)

From Germany- Mr. 7-speed
"E", from the U.S.A.

From Britain- "sous le bois'" All City Nature Boy
JH from Germany sent me this shot.
From the U.S. 'kinggood shared this image of his Van Dessel
"TC", a local, shared this one.

Meet "Esmeralda", a converted 80's era roadie belonging to "FJK" of Germany who sent me this.
 One of the German submissions came with a long, interesting story, which I cannot replicate here, but something he said about our current situation resonated with me. It is something that reminds us that this is a world-wide phenomenon. Not just affecting you- but all of humanity. Check it out:

"The actual situation feels like taking involuntary part in an bad b-movie written by an misanthrope and directed by a paranoid. There is no escape from the permanent announcing of danger! Time for a solo ride!"

That pretty much summed up how I have been feeling. And yes- isn't it great if you are able to 'get away' on a solo ride? 

The person who submitted the story ended it on this fine note;

"Conclusion: Cycle more, consume less and shop locally. And keep an eye
on our rights that maintain our freedom!
"

So, there were folks out and about that were thinking of the C.O.G.100 and that's pretty freakin' amazing, if you ask me. I sure hope that y'all got in great rides but stayed safe and all that. Hopefully this passes soon so we can all forget about "virtual group rides" and sharing via digital means. In the meantime, I hope this brought a little relief from the heaviness of today's world.

The Weekend That Was Postponed

Okay, so I want to say up front that I know there are a LOT bigger issues out there than a postponed bicycle event. I get it, but instead of droning on about the obvious I wanted to divert our collective (read: "my" ) thoughts toward something to take our minds off of things for a brief moment.

That diversion would be talking about the weather we had Saturday, and a few other things, that took place when we had the C.O.G. 100 planned to happen. N.Y. Roll told me last week it was probably for the best that it wasn't going to happen, because at that time they were saying we would have severe thunderstorms in the morning hours. Thankfully, that never happened.

What did happen was that we got a typical soaking rain with about 50°F temperatures which would have made the roads pretty much just about as nice as last year's C.O.G.100 event, just with wetness. So, yeah, take away the crazy wind, (there still was plenty of wind though), add rain, and get the same amount of "suck". Ha! Anyway, it would have been quite the slog/mud-fest and we all would have been shivering, wet, and pretty miserable. You know- typical epic Spring gravel racing. 

Oh! And later in the day we had a tornado warning here in Waterloo. May not have affected the event, but there was that too.....

So, if you've ever been in a situation like that, just close your eyes, remember it, and you'd be pretty close to what could have happened over the weekend. Or don't and be glad it never happened. Either way, a single speed would have been a perfect bike for those conditions.

Now, as for the solo #cog100  Yeah..... I postponed that, since things are on high alert in many areas and travel is discouraged in places where stay at home orders are in place. But that didn't stop some of our European brethren, and a couple of others, from riding. So, with names withheld to protect the innocent, I have some submissions to share. One of which is my favorite bike I've seen in quite awhile as far as gravel travel is concerned. I think many of you will agree...... (Guess which one!)

From Germany- Mr. 7-speed
"E", from the U.S.A.

From Britain- "sous le bois'" All City Nature Boy
JH from Germany sent me this shot.
From the U.S. 'kinggood shared this image of his Van Dessel
"TC", a local, shared this one.

Meet "Esmeralda", a converted 80's era roadie belonging to "FJK" of Germany who sent me this.
 One of the German submissions came with a long, interesting story, which I cannot replicate here, but something he said about our current situation resonated with me. It is something that reminds us that this is a world-wide phenomenon. Not just affecting you- but all of humanity. Check it out:

"The actual situation feels like taking involuntary part in an bad b-movie written by an misanthrope and directed by a paranoid. There is no escape from the permanent announcing of danger! Time for a solo ride!"

That pretty much summed up how I have been feeling. And yes- isn't it great if you are able to 'get away' on a solo ride? 

The person who submitted the story ended it on this fine note;

"Conclusion: Cycle more, consume less and shop locally. And keep an eye
on our rights that maintain our freedom!
"

So, there were folks out and about that were thinking of the C.O.G.100 and that's pretty freakin' amazing, if you ask me. I sure hope that y'all got in great rides but stayed safe and all that. Hopefully this passes soon so we can all forget about "virtual group rides" and sharing via digital means. In the meantime, I hope this brought a little relief from the heaviness of today's world.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Trans Iowa Stories: It's About The People - Part 1

John Gorilla at the impromptu finish line of T.I.v4 with a can of beer he found on the street.
"Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

Now that I have told many stories up through Trans Iowa v6, I thought it might be a good time to take a breather to look at a few of the important characters from the time around T.I.v5-v6. I'll be getting to what I think of as the pivotal time period in Trans Iowa history with Trans Iowa v7 memories. Before we get there though, I need to set the table with my stories about these people.  I will make a few comments about these folks, but please keep in mind- they are in no particular order.

John Gorilla. Yes- that is his given name. I'll never forget receiving his T.I.v4 post card and thinking, "this has got to be some kind of a goofy name, ya know? Like "Guitar Ted"!. Only it wasn't. At any rate...... That's the least of his impact upon Trans Iowa. John, while he contested the event, was a force to be reckoned with. A very strong rider, and very good at Trans Iowa. I mean, let's face it- Trans Iowa was odd and it had some strange things unlike other gravel events. John took to it like a fish takes to water. Plus, he was gracious, had excellent feedback from each event he was in, and overall is a really good human. I liked John. I was a bit dismayed by how T.I.v8 and v11 went for him, and he never contested the event in the latter years. Too bad. He never rode in the same T.I. as Greg Gleason, (with the exception of the ill-fated v11), but I bet that would have been an intense battle had they both shown up together. I'll always wonder about that...... My favorite memory of John will always be his T.I.v4 finish where he and his wife, Adele, walked up the street, found a can of unopened beer rolling in the gutter, dusted it off, cracked it open, and drank it while wrapped up in a blanket. That was fun!


(L-R) Joe Meiser, Charles Parsons, and John Gorilla after T.I.v6 in The Barn
John was originally living in Minnesota when he first came to Trans Iowa and John was good friends with Joe Meiser and another fellow by the name of Charles Parsons. John talked Charles into coming to T.I.v4, (I think that was the case!), and Charles then went on to become one of the biggest fans/supporters of Trans Iowa. Charles showed up to ten Trans Iowa events, only missing T.I.v10 after Trans Iowa v4. Amazing!

Charles was tough, tenacious, but he knew how to have fun despite tough conditions. He ended up being one of those riders I always knew would "rally the troops" out on the gravel. Charles actually ended up relishing this role, and he was one of several guys that I knew would be a kind of "On Course Shepherd" for the Rookies in the field each year. Charles also ended up talking his wife into being a volunteer, and so that helped me out even further. I'm not sure Patrice saw the allure of Trans Iowa like Charles did, but she was always a really great asset to the event.

Funny story about Charles as told to me by fellow Trans Iowan, Mike Johnson. Apparently, during Trans Iowa one year, Mike wasn't feeling very "positive" and he was dangling off the back of a group during the difficult overnight hours. Charles drifted back and basically told Mike that unless he was going to straighten up and be positive he wasn't welcome in the group, (No Negative Vibes!) but if he was going to try, Charles would do whatever it took to help him get to the finish. I think that made a huge impression on Mike. Charles is like that, and that story illustrates why I was so fortunate to have him ride Trans Iowa.

Of course, Joe Meiser was a big deal to Trans Iowa back in those days as well. Joe didn't immediately impress, but as time went on he got better and better at Trans Iowa until he won T.I.v5. Between he and Sean Mailen, both engineers at Salsa Cycles/QBP, they tested out several ideas for gravel bikes at Trans Iowa which helped shape what we know as gravel bikes to this day. But more than this, Joe was a steadying force. His demeanor and easy going nature brought a calm over the event, in my estimation. T.I.v6 being a prime example of that. Of course, he could go on a tear and basically ride you off the wheel anytime he liked, but you'd never know that to talk to him. Joe's last T.I. was v6, and he's another one I'd have liked to have seen have a go in the latter years of the event. But it was never to be.....


George Keslin, (L) and Wally Kilburg became friends of mine and vital assets to Trans Iowa.
Then there is Wally & George. Many riders of past Trans Iowas will recognize those names as photographers of the event, and the guys that helped me do recon for several editions of Trans Iowa. If you were fortunate enough to reach one of their remote checkpoints in T.I.v7 or v8, you'll also recall how nice those stops were. But how did I get hooked up with those characters? Well, it almost didn't happen.

Wally was the instigator. He emailed me during preparations for Trans Iowa v6 and asked if he could help. Now, you should know that I was very reticent to take on unknown volunteers. I had to put a lot of trust in volunteers, and Wally, well, I just had no clue who this guy from Illinois was. He suggested that he could try and ride a moto to help, maybe be a course sweeper. I was very skeptical. How good was this guy on a motorcycle? For all I knew this was some yahoo that had no clue what Iowa rural roads could be like. So, there was some back-and-forth on e-mails. Eventually we settled in on having Wally do a moto course sweep, but as T.I.v6 got closer, we agreed that the weather was looking too poorly for anyone to be out on a motorcycle. Good thing! Wally wouldn't have had a very good time of it.

So, it wasn't until T.I.v7 when Wally brought up the idea of he and his fast friend, George Keslin, being volunteers at our remote checkpoint for T.I.v7, that he actually came to the event. By this time, I figured out that both he and George were accomplished motorcyclists and that Wally had a photography hobby at that time.  Of course, the rest is history. But I need to say that Wally and George were vital to the success of Trans Iowa for several years. The photography was phenomenal, and the recon efforts were so helpful, and legendary fun. The time I spent with those two gentlemen will always be some of the very best times I ever had doing Trans Iowa. Thanks isn't enough......

Next: A Pivotal Version

Trans Iowa Stories: It's About The People - Part 1

John Gorilla at the impromptu finish line of T.I.v4 with a can of beer he found on the street.
"Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

Now that I have told many stories up through Trans Iowa v6, I thought it might be a good time to take a breather to look at a few of the important characters from the time around T.I.v5-v6. I'll be getting to what I think of as the pivotal time period in Trans Iowa history with Trans Iowa v7 memories. Before we get there though, I need to set the table with my stories about these people.  I will make a few comments about these folks, but please keep in mind- they are in no particular order.

John Gorilla. Yes- that is his given name. I'll never forget receiving his T.I.v4 post card and thinking, "this has got to be some kind of a goofy name, ya know? Like "Guitar Ted"!. Only it wasn't. At any rate...... That's the least of his impact upon Trans Iowa. John, while he contested the event, was a force to be reckoned with. A very strong rider, and very good at Trans Iowa. I mean, let's face it- Trans Iowa was odd and it had some strange things unlike other gravel events. John took to it like a fish takes to water. Plus, he was gracious, had excellent feedback from each event he was in, and overall is a really good human. I liked John. I was a bit dismayed by how T.I.v8 and v11 went for him, and he never contested the event in the latter years. Too bad. He never rode in the same T.I. as Greg Gleason, (with the exception of the ill-fated v11), but I bet that would have been an intense battle had they both shown up together. I'll always wonder about that...... My favorite memory of John will always be his T.I.v4 finish where he and his wife, Adele, walked up the street, found a can of unopened beer rolling in the gutter, dusted it off, cracked it open, and drank it while wrapped up in a blanket. That was fun!


(L-R) Joe Meiser, Charles Parsons, and John Gorilla after T.I.v6 in The Barn
John was originally living in Minnesota when he first came to Trans Iowa and John was good friends with Joe Meiser and another fellow by the name of Charles Parsons. John talked Charles into coming to T.I.v4, (I think that was the case!), and Charles then went on to become one of the biggest fans/supporters of Trans Iowa. Charles showed up to ten Trans Iowa events, only missing T.I.v10 after Trans Iowa v4. Amazing!

Charles was tough, tenacious, but he knew how to have fun despite tough conditions. He ended up being one of those riders I always knew would "rally the troops" out on the gravel. Charles actually ended up relishing this role, and he was one of several guys that I knew would be a kind of "On Course Shepherd" for the Rookies in the field each year. Charles also ended up talking his wife into being a volunteer, and so that helped me out even further. I'm not sure Patrice saw the allure of Trans Iowa like Charles did, but she was always a really great asset to the event.

Funny story about Charles as told to me by fellow Trans Iowan, Mike Johnson. Apparently, during Trans Iowa one year, Mike wasn't feeling very "positive" and he was dangling off the back of a group during the difficult overnight hours. Charles drifted back and basically told Mike that unless he was going to straighten up and be positive he wasn't welcome in the group, (No Negative Vibes!) but if he was going to try, Charles would do whatever it took to help him get to the finish. I think that made a huge impression on Mike. Charles is like that, and that story illustrates why I was so fortunate to have him ride Trans Iowa.

Of course, Joe Meiser was a big deal to Trans Iowa back in those days as well. Joe didn't immediately impress, but as time went on he got better and better at Trans Iowa until he won T.I.v5. Between he and Sean Mailen, both engineers at Salsa Cycles/QBP, they tested out several ideas for gravel bikes at Trans Iowa which helped shape what we know as gravel bikes to this day. But more than this, Joe was a steadying force. His demeanor and easy going nature brought a calm over the event, in my estimation. T.I.v6 being a prime example of that. Of course, he could go on a tear and basically ride you off the wheel anytime he liked, but you'd never know that to talk to him. Joe's last T.I. was v6, and he's another one I'd have liked to have seen have a go in the latter years of the event. But it was never to be.....


George Keslin, (L) and Wally Kilburg became friends of mine and vital assets to Trans Iowa.
Then there is Wally & George. Many riders of past Trans Iowas will recognize those names as photographers of the event, and the guys that helped me do recon for several editions of Trans Iowa. If you were fortunate enough to reach one of their remote checkpoints in T.I.v7 or v8, you'll also recall how nice those stops were. But how did I get hooked up with those characters? Well, it almost didn't happen.

Wally was the instigator. He emailed me during preparations for Trans Iowa v6 and asked if he could help. Now, you should know that I was very reticent to take on unknown volunteers. I had to put a lot of trust in volunteers, and Wally, well, I just had no clue who this guy from Illinois was. He suggested that he could try and ride a moto to help, maybe be a course sweeper. I was very skeptical. How good was this guy on a motorcycle? For all I knew this was some yahoo that had no clue what Iowa rural roads could be like. So, there was some back-and-forth on e-mails. Eventually we settled in on having Wally do a moto course sweep, but as T.I.v6 got closer, we agreed that the weather was looking too poorly for anyone to be out on a motorcycle. Good thing! Wally wouldn't have had a very good time of it.

So, it wasn't until T.I.v7 when Wally brought up the idea of he and his fast friend, George Keslin, being volunteers at our remote checkpoint for T.I.v7, that he actually came to the event. By this time, I figured out that both he and George were accomplished motorcyclists and that Wally had a photography hobby at that time.  Of course, the rest is history. But I need to say that Wally and George were vital to the success of Trans Iowa for several years. The photography was phenomenal, and the recon efforts were so helpful, and legendary fun. The time I spent with those two gentlemen will always be some of the very best times I ever had doing Trans Iowa. Thanks isn't enough......

Next: A Pivotal Version

Saturday, March 28, 2020

An Interesting, Low Key Summer In Store?

Not Memorial Day weekend? Not this year!
Let's see..... No Summer Olympics, The Tour looks like it may be run with no spectators, if they run it at all, and the Indy 500 postponed their traditional Memorial Day event to August.

Y'all know why, I won't drag you through that again....

Add in many gravel events and other cycling events to that list. The Prairie Burn 100, which is run the first weekend of June- cancelled for 2020, The Heywood Ride, postponed, and others are either postponed, or leaning that way.

Even the venerable Dirty Kanza said they will make it official one way or the other on May 1st. You have to wonder, with this thing still ramping up and it is almost April, it is hard to imagine we'll be getting any "all-clear" signals by the end of May, but who knows?

Whatever happens, it is going to be a very interesting, (or boring, depending upon your point of view), Summer in the gravel world. I saw a discussion on Facebook, on one gravel oriented page, with many voicing the opinion that this catastrophe is going to knock the corporate element out of the gravel scene. There was talk about how there would be a return to individual rides and non-competitive adventuring.

Well, not to be a wet rag, but as the kids say, "no duh!" See, many events are cancelled and/or postponed for the Spring and maybe most of the Summer. Getting into groups is frowned upon, and possibly deadly. So, yeah....of course that line of thinking is correct, for now. 

But when this whole thing is over, and it will be, we don't know exactly what will happen. I'm betting people will be itching to do something like the Dirty Kanza, or Prairie Burn, or The Heywood. They will be buying stuff again, fixing stuff again, and going out in droves in groups again because they will be allowed to. That will bring the situation right back to where we are today. Too many people remember how it was and will want it back that way again.

Or maybe something more radical will occur. Again- I don't know. But anyone who is thinking that this pandemic is going to "fix the gravel scene" is not thinking straight. Disrupting it? Sure. Absolutely. But once this passes, then what? I'm not so sure that things won't be very similar to how they were. At least in terms of the gravel riding community. In the meantime, it looks like we are in for a very strange, interesting Summer.

An Interesting, Low Key Summer In Store?

Not Memorial Day weekend? Not this year!
Let's see..... No Summer Olympics, The Tour looks like it may be run with no spectators, if they run it at all, and the Indy 500 postponed their traditional Memorial Day event to August.

Y'all know why, I won't drag you through that again....

Add in many gravel events and other cycling events to that list. The Prairie Burn 100, which is run the first weekend of June- cancelled for 2020, The Heywood Ride, postponed, and others are either postponed, or leaning that way.

Even the venerable Dirty Kanza said they will make it official one way or the other on May 1st. You have to wonder, with this thing still ramping up and it is almost April, it is hard to imagine we'll be getting any "all-clear" signals by the end of May, but who knows?

Whatever happens, it is going to be a very interesting, (or boring, depending upon your point of view), Summer in the gravel world. I saw a discussion on Facebook, on one gravel oriented page, with many voicing the opinion that this catastrophe is going to knock the corporate element out of the gravel scene. There was talk about how there would be a return to individual rides and non-competitive adventuring.

Well, not to be a wet rag, but as the kids say, "no duh!" See, many events are cancelled and/or postponed for the Spring and maybe most of the Summer. Getting into groups is frowned upon, and possibly deadly. So, yeah....of course that line of thinking is correct, for now. 

But when this whole thing is over, and it will be, we don't know exactly what will happen. I'm betting people will be itching to do something like the Dirty Kanza, or Prairie Burn, or The Heywood. They will be buying stuff again, fixing stuff again, and going out in droves in groups again because they will be allowed to. That will bring the situation right back to where we are today. Too many people remember how it was and will want it back that way again.

Or maybe something more radical will occur. Again- I don't know. But anyone who is thinking that this pandemic is going to "fix the gravel scene" is not thinking straight. Disrupting it? Sure. Absolutely. But once this passes, then what? I'm not so sure that things won't be very similar to how they were. At least in terms of the gravel riding community. In the meantime, it looks like we are in for a very strange, interesting Summer.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday News And Views

The contenders for the latest round in the Lube-Off.
Guitar Ted Lube-Off Update: 

So far I have ridden on all three of the bikes which are sporting the newest contenders in the latest round of the Lube-Off. It's still early in the going, (all lubes have just over an hour or so of time on them), but I see some early trends developing here.

As I have already reported, the aMTBer Smoothe Lube is not a lube for wet gravel travel. But the other two claim wet weather capabilities. So I didn't hold back and used my somewhat muddy, wet commute route as a test track. So far the results are what I expect from a lube that is made for 'wet conditions' use. That being they are 'messy', and they don't leave your chain dry-ish and 'clean' like the aMTBer lube does. But again- different horses for different courses here.

My new boss, Andy, actually had a great suggestion. Try the C3 ceramic Wet Lube from Muc-Off. So, after I get through with one of these others (six hours of ride time) I will strip off that lube and get the C3 Wet Lube into this test as well. hopefully we don't get all dried out and go to Summer-like conditions in the meantime. But in any case, look for another contender here and I will drop all the details on the C3 Ceramic Wet Lube as soon as I put that lube into the rotation.

C.O.G.100 Solo Ride Challenge:

Sheesh! As if things couldn't get any worse..... Many states have instituted "Stay At Home" orders and all non-essential travel is discouraged in those places. So, this weekend we were hoping to have folks go out for solo C.O.G. rides. But now that may seem to be a bad idea for some folks. For some of you- it may be okay. 

I cannot enforce decisions made by individuals out there, but in light of our current situations, I am going to propose we put this off as well. If you end up doing the challenge, so be it. Again- I cannot stop you. But 'unofficially-officially' I am postponing this until all-clear orders are given and restrictions are lifted everywhere.

Once that happens I'll post a date and we can do this thing right.

On another C.O.G.100 related note: N.Y.Roll has started mailing out t-shirts. You should start seeing these in your mailboxes and on doorsteps soon. I know they have all been sent so they should be in your hands within the next several days, and if not, let us know. Thanks for all your patience in this matter! 

 "Power Assisted Running": Wait- This Sounds Familiar!

Like many of you, I have a lot of extra time on my hands now days. I was cruising the innergoogles and found an interesting tech article explaining "power assisted running" The concept is in its development stages, and not of a lot of detail about how this works is being given, but the benefit claims are, well........very familiar sounding. 

The system is said to "reduce the energy costs of running" and they claim it will allow runners to run further with less effort than traditional runners. (Question: Do we call traditional running "acoustic running" now?) Benefits such as 'last mile commuting' and allowing less fit runners to run with their more fit friends are also listed here.  

I'm sure these developers have pulled a few pages from the HPC/motorized bicycle playbook. That would explain a lot of the claims here. Whether or not we see exoskeleton equipped people zipping up sidewalks in the future or not remains to be seen. One thing I think of that we do not see discussed much is how the prices of these sorts of motorized contraptions are marking a distinct line between economic classes. And to think of it another way, what if everybody were using these sorts of devices? Wouldn't we pretty much end up where we are at now, only with a lot more complications, danger, and a shift from one set of economic issues to another? Kind of like when society went from horses to automobiles? I don't know, but something about this motorized stuff strikes me as "less a benefit", and not so much as a positive to humankind.

But then again, like I say, maybe I'm thinking too much......

Stay safe out there folks! Stay home if you are advised to, and hopefully we all will stay healthy too.

Friday News And Views

The contenders for the latest round in the Lube-Off.
Guitar Ted Lube-Off Update: 

So far I have ridden on all three of the bikes which are sporting the newest contenders in the latest round of the Lube-Off. It's still early in the going, (all lubes have just over an hour or so of time on them), but I see some early trends developing here.

As I have already reported, the aMTBer Smoothe Lube is not a lube for wet gravel travel. But the other two claim wet weather capabilities. So I didn't hold back and used my somewhat muddy, wet commute route as a test track. So far the results are what I expect from a lube that is made for 'wet conditions' use. That being they are 'messy', and they don't leave your chain dry-ish and 'clean' like the aMTBer lube does. But again- different horses for different courses here.

My new boss, Andy, actually had a great suggestion. Try the C3 ceramic Wet Lube from Muc-Off. So, after I get through with one of these others (six hours of ride time) I will strip off that lube and get the C3 Wet Lube into this test as well. hopefully we don't get all dried out and go to Summer-like conditions in the meantime. But in any case, look for another contender here and I will drop all the details on the C3 Ceramic Wet Lube as soon as I put that lube into the rotation.

C.O.G.100 Solo Ride Challenge:

Sheesh! As if things couldn't get any worse..... Many states have instituted "Stay At Home" orders and all non-essential travel is discouraged in those places. So, this weekend we were hoping to have folks go out for solo C.O.G. rides. But now that may seem to be a bad idea for some folks. For some of you- it may be okay. 

I cannot enforce decisions made by individuals out there, but in light of our current situations, I am going to propose we put this off as well. If you end up doing the challenge, so be it. Again- I cannot stop you. But 'unofficially-officially' I am postponing this until all-clear orders are given and restrictions are lifted everywhere.

Once that happens I'll post a date and we can do this thing right.

On another C.O.G.100 related note: N.Y.Roll has started mailing out t-shirts. You should start seeing these in your mailboxes and on doorsteps soon. I know they have all been sent so they should be in your hands within the next several days, and if not, let us know. Thanks for all your patience in this matter! 

 "Power Assisted Running": Wait- This Sounds Familiar!

Like many of you, I have a lot of extra time on my hands now days. I was cruising the innergoogles and found an interesting tech article explaining "power assisted running" The concept is in its development stages, and not of a lot of detail about how this works is being given, but the benefit claims are, well........very familiar sounding. 

The system is said to "reduce the energy costs of running" and they claim it will allow runners to run further with less effort than traditional runners. (Question: Do we call traditional running "acoustic running" now?) Benefits such as 'last mile commuting' and allowing less fit runners to run with their more fit friends are also listed here.  

I'm sure these developers have pulled a few pages from the HPC/motorized bicycle playbook. That would explain a lot of the claims here. Whether or not we see exoskeleton equipped people zipping up sidewalks in the future or not remains to be seen. One thing I think of that we do not see discussed much is how the prices of these sorts of motorized contraptions are marking a distinct line between economic classes. And to think of it another way, what if everybody were using these sorts of devices? Wouldn't we pretty much end up where we are at now, only with a lot more complications, danger, and a shift from one set of economic issues to another? Kind of like when society went from horses to automobiles? I don't know, but something about this motorized stuff strikes me as "less a benefit", and not so much as a positive to humankind.

But then again, like I say, maybe I'm thinking too much......

Stay safe out there folks! Stay home if you are advised to, and hopefully we all will stay healthy too.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Review Of An Old Friend

The ol' Fargo Gen I keeps pluggin along......
The Lube-Off is well underway now here and in the test is a lube I'm using on the old Gen I Fargo. This bike seems to have been done up in many configurations, so I decided I'd search the archives here and see if that was true, or if I was just thinking it had been so.

Well, as it turns out, the Fargo Gen I has been mostly in this current configuration since about 2014. Whoa! I would not have guessed that! I suppose I should have paid more attention to the signs.

One of those was when my Velocity Bottle Trap on the fork broke at Gravel Worlds last year. I mean, after almost six years, should I have been surprised? Then I started thinking here as I researched this post, "I wonder how long some of these other components have been on the Fargo?" As it turns out, they have been on there quite a long time! No wonder my red anodized Retroshift, (now Gevenalle) perches have faded to a nice, soft pink color!

The crank set had a "wobbly" middle ring last year and I thought I had "bent it back in" to being mostly straight, but the other day I looked and it was worse than ever. So, hmm.......maybe it isn't bent? It was loose chain ring bolts! I tightened them up and now that ring is as straight as an arrow. Again- no surprise after six years. Wow! Six years of abuses. I mean real bad stuff, because this bike has been through the wringer. I've had countless muddy encounters, days full of dust, and miles and miles of riding. Funny the drive train still functions.

Then there is that Luxy Bar. It has been pounded for six years going..... Probably high time I removed it and retired it to the wall of old parts in the Lab. We used to be strictly warned back in the '90's to switch out aluminum MTB bars every two years or sooner. I know some folks run old road aluminum bars forever, but these bars are getting on in age. And there are great choices I can use now to replace them with that I actually have sitting around here. In fact, some older Cowchippers I have that are newer and less abused may be going on to replace the old Luxy.

I just replaced the stem with a Redshift Sports Shockstop stem I've had around. So that's a good thing since that old Origin 8 stem was also getting on in years. I've got a newer Salsa Ti Regulator, so the seat post is fine for now. Wheels? They've been changed out several times. That said, the set I am running now is getting pretty old and I had better start thinking about new ones. Tires are fine, but I'll probably be switching those out soon too.

The last thing I've been holding out on is the upgrade on the drive train. This bike is still stuck in the 9 speed world. Could be worse. I may not change that. But look for a refresh on this old rig to be happening soon. Once I'm done, it'll be off for more adventures!

A Review Of An Old Friend

The ol' Fargo Gen I keeps pluggin along......
The Lube-Off is well underway now here and in the test is a lube I'm using on the old Gen I Fargo. This bike seems to have been done up in many configurations, so I decided I'd search the archives here and see if that was true, or if I was just thinking it had been so.

Well, as it turns out, the Fargo Gen I has been mostly in this current configuration since about 2014. Whoa! I would not have guessed that! I suppose I should have paid more attention to the signs.

One of those was when my Velocity Bottle Trap on the fork broke at Gravel Worlds last year. I mean, after almost six years, should I have been surprised? Then I started thinking here as I researched this post, "I wonder how long some of these other components have been on the Fargo?" As it turns out, they have been on there quite a long time! No wonder my red anodized Retroshift, (now Gevenalle) perches have faded to a nice, soft pink color!

The crank set had a "wobbly" middle ring last year and I thought I had "bent it back in" to being mostly straight, but the other day I looked and it was worse than ever. So, hmm.......maybe it isn't bent? It was loose chain ring bolts! I tightened them up and now that ring is as straight as an arrow. Again- no surprise after six years. Wow! Six years of abuses. I mean real bad stuff, because this bike has been through the wringer. I've had countless muddy encounters, days full of dust, and miles and miles of riding. Funny the drive train still functions.

Then there is that Luxy Bar. It has been pounded for six years going..... Probably high time I removed it and retired it to the wall of old parts in the Lab. We used to be strictly warned back in the '90's to switch out aluminum MTB bars every two years or sooner. I know some folks run old road aluminum bars forever, but these bars are getting on in age. And there are great choices I can use now to replace them with that I actually have sitting around here. In fact, some older Cowchippers I have that are newer and less abused may be going on to replace the old Luxy.

I just replaced the stem with a Redshift Sports Shockstop stem I've had around. So that's a good thing since that old Origin 8 stem was also getting on in years. I've got a newer Salsa Ti Regulator, so the seat post is fine for now. Wheels? They've been changed out several times. That said, the set I am running now is getting pretty old and I had better start thinking about new ones. Tires are fine, but I'll probably be switching those out soon too.

The last thing I've been holding out on is the upgrade on the drive train. This bike is still stuck in the 9 speed world. Could be worse. I may not change that. But look for a refresh on this old rig to be happening soon. Once I'm done, it'll be off for more adventures!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Who Said You Have To Look Like "That"?

Typical cyclists look for Spring
Working downtown now I get a great view up a street where a lot of local cyclists access the bike path. One thing that struck me is that while most of these folks are only out for a spin, they almost all look like they are geared up to do Trans Iowa or something.

Frankly, I have to say that I find it rather odd. But then again- I am a weirdo. 

First of all, I wear shorts when I commute anytime it gets near 40°F or above. Not cycling shorts either. Pffft! Why would I do that? I'm just riding a few miles to work, ya know? It isn't like it is a race, or some epic ride. So my shorts are Dickies. Oh! And when it gets colder? Dickies 874 cotton twill pants. Dickies 874's are the best, under-the-radar commuter pants ever. And Dickies makes a similar model in a short, but I typically go for the longer cut leg models for my shorts.

Up top I'll wear a t-shirt, and if it is colder, a long sleeved wool jersey and a windbreaker over all of that. Now that it is warmer I wear a synthetic blend hoodie that seems to keep the wind out pretty well. It is emblazoned with a local dairy's logo. I'm fine with that. The less I look like a cyclist the better, when commuting or cycling for recreation.

Plus, wearing this sort of garb is just easier. It's what I am wearing anyway. No need to switch into "cycling kit". What a hassle! Just give me my helmet and a pair of gloves, (maybe), and I am off. Now I have some new kicks in the house that make me look even less like a cyclist and they are clipless compatible. They are from the DZR Shoes company.

DZR S240 shoes and Dickies 874 cotton twill pants.
 They look like work boots crossed with a skate shoe. DZR call them the S240, which is code for "Sub 24 Overnighter". I just say they look like 'regular shoes' and I can mount a clip to them and ride any bike I have. flat pedals, clipless, and walk afterward with no issues. No one would ever guess they are "cycling shoes". (Note: These were review shoes for Riding Gravel.com. DZR sent them for teat and review at no charge)

The net effect of all this 'undercover' cycling garb is that I don't seem to get the angst and trouble from car and truck drivers that I do when I am "kitted up". Ya know? There is some strange psychology going on there with that. Anyway. It works.

And who ever said we all need to get all in a costume to ride in the first place? I never dressed special to ride a bike when I was a kid right up until I started mountain biking in my late 20's. I guess I bought in to the "ya gotta wear this and this" to ride a bicycle. Now, hey! I get it. Sometimes 'real bike clothes' are what you should be riding in. But wearing this costume for every ride thing? Not so much. News flash; You can ride in blue jeans and t-shirts. 

 I know, amazing isn't it?

But back to the get ups I'm seeing people ride in now. I suppose many are just getting out after a long winter off the bike and, well.......just trying to escape the madness for a bit. But face masks and full tights with booties when it is well above freezing? Maybe I'm acclimated from being out all Winter on a bike, or......maybe my brain is frozen. 

Like I said, I'm a weirdo. Don't mind me........

Who Said You Have To Look Like "That"?

Typical cyclists look for Spring
Working downtown now I get a great view up a street where a lot of local cyclists access the bike path. One thing that struck me is that while most of these folks are only out for a spin, they almost all look like they are geared up to do Trans Iowa or something.

Frankly, I have to say that I find it rather odd. But then again- I am a weirdo. 

First of all, I wear shorts when I commute anytime it gets near 40°F or above. Not cycling shorts either. Pffft! Why would I do that? I'm just riding a few miles to work, ya know? It isn't like it is a race, or some epic ride. So my shorts are Dickies. Oh! And when it gets colder? Dickies 874 cotton twill pants. Dickies 874's are the best, under-the-radar commuter pants ever. And Dickies makes a similar model in a short, but I typically go for the longer cut leg models for my shorts.

Up top I'll wear a t-shirt, and if it is colder, a long sleeved wool jersey and a windbreaker over all of that. Now that it is warmer I wear a synthetic blend hoodie that seems to keep the wind out pretty well. It is emblazoned with a local dairy's logo. I'm fine with that. The less I look like a cyclist the better, when commuting or cycling for recreation.

Plus, wearing this sort of garb is just easier. It's what I am wearing anyway. No need to switch into "cycling kit". What a hassle! Just give me my helmet and a pair of gloves, (maybe), and I am off. Now I have some new kicks in the house that make me look even less like a cyclist and they are clipless compatible. They are from the DZR Shoes company.

DZR S240 shoes and Dickies 874 cotton twill pants.
 They look like work boots crossed with a skate shoe. DZR call them the S240, which is code for "Sub 24 Overnighter". I just say they look like 'regular shoes' and I can mount a clip to them and ride any bike I have. flat pedals, clipless, and walk afterward with no issues. No one would ever guess they are "cycling shoes". (Note: These were review shoes for Riding Gravel.com. DZR sent them for teat and review at no charge)

The net effect of all this 'undercover' cycling garb is that I don't seem to get the angst and trouble from car and truck drivers that I do when I am "kitted up". Ya know? There is some strange psychology going on there with that. Anyway. It works.

And who ever said we all need to get all in a costume to ride in the first place? I never dressed special to ride a bike when I was a kid right up until I started mountain biking in my late 20's. I guess I bought in to the "ya gotta wear this and this" to ride a bicycle. Now, hey! I get it. Sometimes 'real bike clothes' are what you should be riding in. But wearing this costume for every ride thing? Not so much. News flash; You can ride in blue jeans and t-shirts. 

 I know, amazing isn't it?

But back to the get ups I'm seeing people ride in now. I suppose many are just getting out after a long winter off the bike and, well.......just trying to escape the madness for a bit. But face masks and full tights with booties when it is well above freezing? Maybe I'm acclimated from being out all Winter on a bike, or......maybe my brain is frozen. 

Like I said, I'm a weirdo. Don't mind me........

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Solo C.O.G 100 Riding Challenge


My single speed set up on the BMC "Orange Crush" #49
Well, this coming weekend was supposed to have been the C.O.G.100 race weekend. Obviously that won't be happening! So instead, when we postponed the event till next year, we came up with an idea. We shared that already, but this is just a reminder for those that still can be allowed out and about on bicycles.

We are suggesting that you go do a long, preferably single speed, gravel bike ride in lieu of doing the C.O.G. 100. If you can, and we realize that some restrictions on movements exist in certain parts of the world and at home here. But for those of you that still are allowed outside on bicycles, here are the ground rules:

  • Social Distancing must be practiced! No group riding!
  • Ride as little or as far as you want. No distance requirements. 
  • Get a shot of at least your bike on a gravel road. If you can take a safe selfie, or put your camera in auto timer mode, get in the picture!
  • Ride date: Saturday March 28th. Anytime Saturday you want is fine.
  • Tag your picture and post to social media with the hashtag #cog100. 
  • OR- Send you images to g.ted.productions@gmail.com
That's it! On Wednesday next week I will strive to post a page of whatever images we can get on the C.O.G.100 site and here. Hopefully we get some, but if it ends up being just me, so be it. This is not a contest, there are no "winners", and nothing will be given away. The hope is that by sharing our images we can maybe bring a little bit of community and fun to our situation here.

Solo C.O.G 100 Riding Challenge


My single speed set up on the BMC "Orange Crush" #49
Well, this coming weekend was supposed to have been the C.O.G.100 race weekend. Obviously that won't be happening! So instead, when we postponed the event till next year, we came up with an idea. We shared that already, but this is just a reminder for those that still can be allowed out and about on bicycles.

We are suggesting that you go do a long, preferably single speed, gravel bike ride in lieu of doing the C.O.G. 100. If you can, and we realize that some restrictions on movements exist in certain parts of the world and at home here. But for those of you that still are allowed outside on bicycles, here are the ground rules:

  • Social Distancing must be practiced! No group riding!
  • Ride as little or as far as you want. No distance requirements. 
  • Get a shot of at least your bike on a gravel road. If you can take a safe selfie, or put your camera in auto timer mode, get in the picture!
  • Ride date: Saturday March 28th. Anytime Saturday you want is fine.
  • Tag your picture and post to social media with the hashtag #cog100. 
  • OR- Send you images to g.ted.productions@gmail.com
That's it! On Wednesday next week I will strive to post a page of whatever images we can get on the C.O.G.100 site and here. Hopefully we get some, but if it ends up being just me, so be it. This is not a contest, there are no "winners", and nothing will be given away. The hope is that by sharing our images we can maybe bring a little bit of community and fun to our situation here.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Country Views: Hints Of Spring

Hints of green are out there if you look for them.
Saturday I had waited for the temperatures to get into the upper 30's, then I donned my biking gear, and then I left for Prairie Grove Park. It was a mostly overcast day, a cool Southeast breeze was in the air, and I needed to clear my head. Too much stress with all this other stuff going on regarding the virus, social distancing, and with everything shut down.

I took the Noble GX5 which I had set up again with the latest Lube-Off contender. That and I had a Specialized C-GR post installed for research regarding my seat post shoot-out which will be forthcoming. Otherwise the point was just to get out and get away.

I noted several people out and about either walking (most of them) or running, (more than a few). At least people are getting exercise during this weird time in history. Everybody looked to be doing their part, doing their activities solo. Once I got to the parking lot of the park I took off for my usual loop of about an hour and a half length. Normally it takes that long. I wasn't sure how I would roll, and there was that wind I mentioned, which I would be headed straight into right away. Fortunately the roads were about as good as they ever get.

The frost is all out now, and the roads weathered the Winter very well. I saw one mud hole, and most of the roads were two-tracked in with super fast, smooth dirt with the gravel pushed off to the side. I did come across a couple of places where the gravel was all the way across, but it is easy to see that the County hasn't been out with the dump trucks and graders yet. I imagine that will happen soon unless this weirdness we are all experiencing affects gravel in some way.

Fast roads out there. Get 'em while ya can. The maintainers will be out soon, I think. 
Time for a snack and to just let this all soak in.
I managed to slog it out South till I got to Quarry Road and heading West was a nice respite. I then went with the wind, sort of, until I reached Aker Road and there I decided to take a few moments, eat some jerky I had, and just "be". Nothing like some head-clearing time for these days. The little creek I was sat over on the bridge was gurgling and there was a grove full of little song birds not far off that were chirping away in the background. It was nice just to forget about everything for a few minutes......

But then I decided I was getting a bit chilled and that I should move on. So, back at it and back North again. It didn't take long with the increasing wind, which I felt was switching around to the South, to get back to my truck and the ride was all over.

Like I said...... These roads don't get any better than this.
Rye grass, used as a cover crop, gives a lift of color to the mostly brown landscape here.
I'm guessing I'll be getting in several of these types of rides in for the foreseeable future. Solo swings with all the gear I need to survive out there. Not much new to me, as I almost always travel that way, but if you find yourself getting out on "social distancing rides", please consider all the self-support stuff you'll need so you don't have to burden anyone else because you were without means to extract yourself from the area you are riding in.

Here we cyclists are still welcome, but as anxiety and fear grip many parts of the rural areas of this nation, we are going to find pockets where we are not welcome. Ignorance of facts, and fear of the unknown will make people hostile toward "outsiders", and this is already happening in several areas. Most notably out West in Colorado and Utah. I happen to know of some touring cyclists who have noted the turn in attitude toward wandering adventurers.

Stay vigilant my friends.

Country Views: Hints Of Spring

Hints of green are out there if you look for them.
Saturday I had waited for the temperatures to get into the upper 30's, then I donned my biking gear, and then I left for Prairie Grove Park. It was a mostly overcast day, a cool Southeast breeze was in the air, and I needed to clear my head. Too much stress with all this other stuff going on regarding the virus, social distancing, and with everything shut down.

I took the Noble GX5 which I had set up again with the latest Lube-Off contender. That and I had a Specialized C-GR post installed for research regarding my seat post shoot-out which will be forthcoming. Otherwise the point was just to get out and get away.

I noted several people out and about either walking (most of them) or running, (more than a few). At least people are getting exercise during this weird time in history. Everybody looked to be doing their part, doing their activities solo. Once I got to the parking lot of the park I took off for my usual loop of about an hour and a half length. Normally it takes that long. I wasn't sure how I would roll, and there was that wind I mentioned, which I would be headed straight into right away. Fortunately the roads were about as good as they ever get.

The frost is all out now, and the roads weathered the Winter very well. I saw one mud hole, and most of the roads were two-tracked in with super fast, smooth dirt with the gravel pushed off to the side. I did come across a couple of places where the gravel was all the way across, but it is easy to see that the County hasn't been out with the dump trucks and graders yet. I imagine that will happen soon unless this weirdness we are all experiencing affects gravel in some way.

Fast roads out there. Get 'em while ya can. The maintainers will be out soon, I think. 
Time for a snack and to just let this all soak in.
I managed to slog it out South till I got to Quarry Road and heading West was a nice respite. I then went with the wind, sort of, until I reached Aker Road and there I decided to take a few moments, eat some jerky I had, and just "be". Nothing like some head-clearing time for these days. The little creek I was sat over on the bridge was gurgling and there was a grove full of little song birds not far off that were chirping away in the background. It was nice just to forget about everything for a few minutes......

But then I decided I was getting a bit chilled and that I should move on. So, back at it and back North again. It didn't take long with the increasing wind, which I felt was switching around to the South, to get back to my truck and the ride was all over.

Like I said...... These roads don't get any better than this.
Rye grass, used as a cover crop, gives a lift of color to the mostly brown landscape here.
I'm guessing I'll be getting in several of these types of rides in for the foreseeable future. Solo swings with all the gear I need to survive out there. Not much new to me, as I almost always travel that way, but if you find yourself getting out on "social distancing rides", please consider all the self-support stuff you'll need so you don't have to burden anyone else because you were without means to extract yourself from the area you are riding in.

Here we cyclists are still welcome, but as anxiety and fear grip many parts of the rural areas of this nation, we are going to find pockets where we are not welcome. Ignorance of facts, and fear of the unknown will make people hostile toward "outsiders", and this is already happening in several areas. Most notably out West in Colorado and Utah. I happen to know of some touring cyclists who have noted the turn in attitude toward wandering adventurers.

Stay vigilant my friends.