Monday, March 15, 2021

Country Views: One Before It Gets Bad

Escape Route; County V-49 North From Raymond.
 Nearly 60°F and a breeze from the Southeast on a clear-ish day? March? You have to get it when you can. Especially when a big storm is headed your way, the temperatures are supposed to plummet, and snow is forecast. So, yeah, doubly important to get your butt off the couch and ride. 

I knew this, but I also knew I had a few errands to tackle for the family before I could get out of the house on my ride, so I ended up doing those things and grilling lunch, and it was time to go. 

I decided on using the Noble Bikes GX5 for this run and I decided to embark from the softball complex in Raymond, Iowa. I've used that a few times before as a place to take off from to get to the Eastern side of Black Hawk County a little faster. I can reach this area riding from the house but it takes another 20 or so miles, round trip, to do it and I didn't have that kind of time. 

I also wasn't really feeling right. I woke up stiff, felt really tired, and then that kind of went away but after lunch I felt like I had a balloon in my gut. Maybe salad isn't my jam before a ride? Possibly. Whatever the deal was, I had this uncomfortable, nagging feeling and I wasn't quite 'right' on the bike, so keeping things realistic in terms of ride length was a better idea anyway. I did have a slightly longer loop as an option, but I went with the original plan instead. and that ended up being the right call in the end. I was able to complete the ride comfortably, with no big issues and no damage incurred to the body. Which is a good thing. Longer days will happen soon enough. 

There now is very little snow to be found. I saw some leftovers in ditches like this on Osage Road.

Things look like late October again out in the country. That won't last much longer!

The roads out East of Waterloo weren't so super-smooth as they were North and South of town, but they weren't what I'd call 'normal' conditions. No, this still qualifies as 'Hero Gravel' despite the fine covering of grit and almost 'pea' gravel in places that I experienced. It was, as it has been everywhere this early Spring, completely and utterly dry. 

In fact, I must report that I was 100% wrong about this changing 'when the frost comes out' because the frost is out now. This is sort of an unprecedented year then. Without copious amounts of rain, I see no reason why this condition won't turn the roads into moon-dust and get really powder-like out there real soon. It was obvious that the frost had come out since most every drainage tile end was dumping out water and all the rivulets, creeks, and streams are running full-tilt now. Realizing that we haven't had much precipitation to account for this, I believe it is the early season frost that is coming out that accounts for my observations. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can correct me if I am wrong there. There are some pretty smart people reading this blog, I know......

A giant pile of field stones sits alongside Pilot Grove Road near a creek crossing on the right here.

A quick stop on Newell Road at the Poyner Creek crossing.

Like I was saying, there was wind. It was a tiny bit on the annoying side, but you know, that's par for the course out here. So, I wasn't complaining at all. But it was one of those winds that you never got a good push from because of how our roads are gridded out on the compass points. Even when I returned from the East to go back to the truck it wasn't the sort of tailwind push you'd hope for. 

Sad eyes, crooked crosses, in God's country.

Super fast conditions on Young Road.

I ended up heading back on Young Road which has this climb that is one of those that grinds you down. It doesn't look all that bad at first, but it just keeps going, and going, and going. I paid attention to this and it is slightly over a mile in length at what I would say is about a 6% grade. It isn't remarkable, in comparison to many other climbs out there, but it is one of those climbs that bites you because it initially looks like no big deal, and then a half a mile later you are wondering when it quits. It's hard to explain it, but maybe you've been on something similar? It just grinds on and I had to really pay attention to my cadence and effort level so I wouldn't get too far in the weeds with regard to effort and then end up blowing up. Anyway...

I was happy to say I managed it well, but I remember when this past Summer, on a hot day, this same climb kicked me in the butt because it had a ton of fresh gravel on it, and maintaining a cadence was hard to do. So, I'll have to revisit this climb again later in the year to gauge my progress. Not that it is fun to do...

After the climb I found my legs, (finally) and was kicking it in gear with some good rhythm and power. I felt really good and to end the ride on that note was a good way to end. I rolled up to the truck and headed back home. That'll likely do it for nice weather for a bit. I doubt we touch 60 degrees the rest of the week. Heck, I was riding in a base layer and a long sleeved jersey only on Saturday. The first 'no jacket' ride of the year, although I could have gone no-jacket there back a week ago, but I was being conservative. 

More soon......

1 comment:

Erin said...

Nice photo for the U2 reference. I read it and instantly had the song in my head.