Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Country Views: Gathering The Gravel

Escape route: 4th Street, Waterloo, Iowa.
 Last Thursday I decided I'd better get this chore done that I had been putting off for several weeks. It was a very odd job to fulfill a strange request. A request from the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame, as a matter of fact.

They are trying to build displays for each individual already in the GCHoF and requested a few things from each of us. One of those things was a 20 ounce jar of our local gravel. yes - a jar of rocks. 

I suppose it will be somewhat interesting to see all the rocks and dirt people will eventually contribute in the years to come. We will see that "gravel" is not only diverse in terms of the people that participate, but in its very nature when it comes to what we ride on.  

I searched the house for a canning jar but could not find one. I ended up using a jar from spaghetti sauce instead. I wrapped that in a shop towel and bubble wrap and then I put that in my Campagne Bag on the Karate Monkey. That would insure that I wouldn't break the jar on the trip. Of course, I had to do this by bicycle, and I used the KM not only because that big bag is mounted on it, but this bicycle was my first "gravel bike". It was the bike I fell in love riding gravel with over my first several years of riding gravel. 

Once again, things are VERY dry in the country.

I saw a weather related article before I left that stated that due to this run of very dry air with no rain for days that where I live is on the verge of being rated "moderate" in terms of drought conditions. Once I reached the gravel, it was plain to see. The gravel is very dusty, and the dirt looks pretty bad around the North side of Waterloo. 

Looking North up Sage Road you can see how it veers left to get around the Big Rock

Looking West over to Big Rock Road

I decided that the place I would scoop up some gravel for this GCHoF deal had to be at the intersection of Big Rock Road and Sage Road where The Big Rock is beside the Southeast corner of the intersection. I stopped and leaned the Karate Monkey against the huge stone and stepped over to the intersection, stooped down, and scooped up a few handfuls of crushed limestone. 

As I stood up I felt oddly. Like this was a significant gesture and I felt a wave of emotion. But just then, a car's tires were heard on the rocks coming from the South up Sage Road. I didn't have time to process those feelings and I stepped off the road to allow the car to pass by. 

The jar of crushed rock on The Big Rock

Old and new technology coexisting on the farm

I snapped off a few photos to mark the occasion and remounted the bike after packing the jar of gravel away carefully in the Campagne Bag. Heading East down Big Rock Road, I was feeling a lot less work on the pedals. Heading Eastward was very bad since the wind was strong out of that direction. The air was super-dry, but otherwise it was an awesome day with zero clouds in the sky and warm temperatures. 

Riding the Karate Monkey in this new configuration is so-not aero and I could tell the difference. It was super-slow going heading into the wind and even without that it was slow. Much slower than my "true" gravel bikes are when riding out in the country. Slow isn't necessarily "bad", but if I am trying to get miles in this bike won't do. 

Anyway, it was a ride, I got my chore done, and today, sometime this day, that jar will get delivered in Emporia.

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