|This time I embarked on the ride from Cedar River Access near La Porte City. |
Anyway, on to more of "The Quest" story. My attempt to ride every gravel road in Black Hawk County by the end of this year. This time I mop up more of the Southeast corner of the county. Specifically, I was taking out all the roads between Brandon Road and the Cedar River. It was a LOT of out and back in which I made an interesting observation. Each dead end road ended on a private property. It was as if each bit of road that was designated as a dead end was really a glorified drive way. There were no signs at the ends of these roads to indicate that you were on private property past a certain point. The road just dumped right into a driveway, or a farm yard, or a front yard. It was bizarre and I've never encountered anything quite like it before, especially multiple times in one area.
But before I get into the ride details I need to share this ride's kit that I wore and the weather that informed my choices. It was a raw day, with strong Northeast winds gusting to 26mph and the air temperature was in the upper 30's at the morning start. Wind chills were around 30°F. I wore the GORE Windstopper® gear I was sent to review for RidingGravel.com. This included the Phantom Jacket, Thermo+ bib tights, and a windproof base layer shirt. sandwiched in there was my Twin Six Standard Wool short sleeved jersey. I wore some Twin Six wool socks and the Northwave Winter boots I have. I'm not enamored of the GORE mittens I got to review so I wore my SealSkinz gloves. A Walz Wool earflapper cycling cap and the Rudy Project Cutline glasses made up the rest of the kit including my Bontrager helmet, of course. In this get-up I rode two hours very comfortably.
|The first out-and-back was Carr Road.|| |
|Barns For Jason #1|
After finding the first 'glorified driveway', I headed East on Harmon Road. The wind seemed okay at this point, nothing really that bad. Then the route ran into a "T" intersection with Bader Road. I had to run South to get a dead end portion there. So another out-and-back.
|Barns For Jason #2|
|The roads were mostly really good for bicycle riding.|| |
The roads were mostly clear of the big chunk, but I did have a few places where the gravel was deeper. Fortunately most of those sections did not coincide with going North. That direction was hard enough with the wind. As I went along, it became even more difficult as the winds picked up a bit.
|Barns For Jason #3|
|This tree has been engulfing this derelict windmill for decades. |
I then made another out-and-back on Lange Road but instead of ending in someones yard, this road dumped out to Brandon Road, which is paved. Then it was back to Wright road which turns South and becomes Purdy Road and then on to two consecutive out-and-backs.
|Beef cattle grazing on a hillside along Wright Road.|
|The western terminus of McChane Road, which dumps into an abandoned farm yard.|
One of these out-and-backs was McChane Road which terminated into an abandoned farm, again, with no warning signs or anything. So odd! same with Purdy Road's Southern terminus, which bailed out right into a farmer's drive in front of their home.
|The last of the Fall colors hangs on here and there. |
|Rest stop on the Black Hawk/Buchanan County line. Looking back into Black Hawk County here down McChane Road. |
The last bit going North on Black Hawk/Buchanan Road was brutal. By now the winds were a constant blast from the Northeast and if they were anything under 25mph, I would have been surprised. It was almost every bit as bad as that Saturday I rode recently North of here. But coming back from the corner where the road went to pavement was super easy. I almost coasted an entire mile!
|Barns For Jason #4|
After the last out-and-back I ran the main drags back the way I came and then one more bit I saved till the end- an out-and-back on Garling Road to Brandon Road. Garling actually continues on North past that intersection, but I'm saving that for the last ride in this area which should happen this weekend. Stay tuned for that report coming soon.......hopefully!