Monday, July 05, 2021

Country Views: A Day Before The Fourth

The Cedar River at Downtown Waterloo. Looking pretty low!
Generally I like to do a 4th of July ride to celebrate, in my own little way, my freedom which this country has afforded me. Well, the way this weekend panned out, I ended up getting Monday off from work, since many businesses and workplaces were shutting down on Monday the 5th. So, I figured that I might get in two rides, one on the 3rd and the other on the 5th, and stick around at home with the family on the 4th for a change. It's been a while since I have done that. 

So, I figured that I had time for about another 30-40 mile ride, again not wanting to over-do it after recovering from the moving ordeal, and then see how I felt afterward. This time I was going without any nutritional supplements in my water, to see if my experiences with the GU Energy Roctane were 'real' or imagined. So, that was part of the plan, along with testing the new Wolf Tooth Supple Lite handle bar tape. 

It was hot, into the upper 80's, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, nor hardly any wind to speak of. It wasn't humid, in the traditional Iowa sense though, and again- that concerns me. But besides that, it was a great Summer day to get out for a ride. This time I was going to head to Evansdale via bicycle paths and then down to Foulk Road, head toward the South, and then hang a right on Reinbeck Road just before reaching Tama County. West then over to Ansborough and then winding my way back to the G-Ted Headquarters. No transfer by truck this time!

The bike was the Noble Bikes GX5 and the gear was a Pirate Cycling League jersey over a Twin Six base layer with a Zoic short insert and a Showers Pass "Gravel Short" over that. Socks by Twin Six and shoes were the Shimano GX-8's. I wore a Walz cycling cap under the Bontrager jersey and a pair of Spy Optic glasses to protect the eyeballs. Oh, and I am testing a new chamois creme which I will be writing about soon. Anyway.... 

Not much activity in the fields now, but I did catch this tractor and wind row machine in action off Foulk Road.

And a little closer look at those day lillies from the image above.

I got out to the gravel feeling pretty good, but then I felt a bit dogged. So, I throttled it back and tried just to focus on my position on the bike and my effort. Things went well, but not as good as the last time I was out, that's for sure. The roads were no big deal, at least. Just typical for Summer time gravel. Not smooth, but not the freshly dumped, deep, and hard to pedal through thing I see out here at times. 

My traditional 'bike against the corn' shot for the 4th of July. The corn is all over the place in terms of height now.
I did stop briefly to grab a shot of the bike against the corn- something I do every 4th anymore it seems, so why not this year? And then I motored on down South. I eventually got to Reinbeck Road, which is two miles from the Tama County line, and turned West. The last few miles to Reinbeck Road get pretty hilly, foretelling the terrain in Tama County, which is a county of big rolling hills, for the most part.
Reinbeck Road. No relief from the Sun out here!

Some Black-eyed Susans were found in this ditch along Reinbeck Road

Going West I was struck by just how many rollers are on Reinbeck Road in Southern Black Hawk County. Working against a light Southwestern wind, it was about all I wanted to handle in this heat. But I have to get acclimated to this if I am to get any amount of miles in at Gravel Worlds because it will be hot, humid, and windy there. When isn't it? 

A brief stop at the intersection of Reinbeck Road and Ansborough Avenue.

Patterns in the land- not so much in the sky!

So, overall I think what I am finding is that the GU Energy Roctane was actually doing something positive for me. I am going to research that a bit more, but I am definitely getting some more of that stuff in the bottles soon. As for the Wolf Tooth Supple Lite handle bar tape, well there is good and bad here. More good though than bad.

I like everything about it except when I get really sweaty hands and then the grip goes away big time. Not surprising, most handle bar tape does this. I will bring gloves along during hot weather rides in the future, or use something like wrist cuffs to keep the sweat at bay. Or I probably should start wearing my UV arm sleeves. That's probably the best option!

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