Monday, March 08, 2021

Country Views: Hero Gravel

Escape Route: Burton Avenue North.
 How does the saying go again? If March comes in like a lamb it is supposed to go out like a lion? Something along those lines. I must say- if the beginning of March is any indication of how the end of the month will be, the end is going to be bad! Seriously. The beginning of March has been stellar. The best I can remember. 

And the gravel roads- so far- have held up on that end as well. "Hero Gravel", is what we coined it years ago now. That comes from the old mountain biker descriptor for primo dirt conditions. Conditions so smooth and tacky that anyone could corner like a hero. Thus "hero dirt". Ah......anyway......

The day was spectacular, blue skies for miles, maybe a breeze from the Southeast, but it was no big deal, really. The roads- wow! So fast and smooth it was like pavement. Maybe a few potholes and ripple-like bumps here and there, but this was the smoothest I've seen the roads in a long time. Dry too! Really dry. A very unusual start to the riding season. So good that I keep wondering when it will all go to pot and we will get slapped back into reality again. I'm sure that day is coming! 

So, it was way up into the 40's again, and we've seen the snow get burned off by the high-riding Sun so fast that I can no longer in good conscious call this "Winter" anymore, so I broke out the first use of "Country Views" for 2021. Unless March goes out like a lion and we see a return to Winter, it'll be "Country Views" until Fall. 


Just North of Waterloo on Burton Avenue. These shrubs are blushing red against the leftover snow.

Burton eventually turns into a gravel road. This is "hero gravel" and it was like this for miles.

This time I was on the pink MCD from Black Mountain Cycles. It has those bars on it now that I am testing that I can't say anything about yet. Very soon..... Stay tuned. Anyway, the MCD has those big 700 X 47mm Teravail Rutlands on there now which I like. I figured that I'd need a wide, higher volume tire to deal with the mucky, soft post-Winter conditions, but so far I have not needed that characteristic of the big Rutlands. Nor have I really needed the fenders. I mean- it's nice to not have to worry about water spray, but I could have navigated what I've had to deal with, so far, without fenders. 

Like I said- every road was like this. Total hero gravel.

Rare tree lined gravel just North of Cedar Falls on Mount Vernon Road.

I had to stop for a 'nature break' and that always is a logistical nightmare on the prairies when the crops are gone. Well, I finally found a suitable spot near where a high-tension electrical wire went across the road. As I stood there to relieve myself, I could hear a faint, low frequency humming. It was coming from the pole holding the wires up near me. After I finished, I ventured over to the pole carefully and leaned in to put my ear as near to the wooden pole as I dared without touching it. I could distinctly hear the tones, and then I noticed that the entire pole was vibrating when I touched it with my gloved hand. Crazy! 

Anyway, I got going again and I eventually went West on Bennington Road over to Leversee Road and South to Mount Vernon Road. My aim was to get into Cedar Falls and maybe visit Andy at the shop. Then I could tool on over to where I live through the cities. My way back into Cedar Falls was going to be on this little known chunk of gravel called Strayer Road. Well, unfortunately the city or county must have chip sealed that road in 2020. Too bad! Another gravel road lost.......

Other than that bummer, it was a great ride.


MG said...

Nice… Sounds like your riding was much like ours – total hero gravel. You still have a lot more snow on the ground in fields and ditches than we do here. It's crazy… I rode in shorts and short sleeves yesterday. I'll take it.

The sealant in my fatbike tires is still liquid, so if the old prophecy proves true, we're good… It'll go away quickly if it comes.

GravelDoc said...

I've noticed the gravel/dirt road to my house is drier and smoother lately. Rain expected this weekend. ..