Monday, August 28, 2023

The 2023 Guitar Ted Death Ride: "W-V-W" - Part 1

 Escape Route: West 2nd @ slightly after 4:00am.
 I mentioned earlier last week that I had a day off work and that I had planned a "big ride" for that day. Well, it was going to be my version of the Guitar Ted Death Ride for 2023. I used to invite people to come along with me on this, but since the pandemic and since I "retired" from event promoting I don't do that anymore. I just go solo on this deal now. 

My route was planned to be the same that I failed at in 2020. A route that went South to just East of Dysart, through Garrison, on to Vinton, then just West of Independence and then to Jesup and back to Waterloo. The route, as planned, was right at 100 miles from my house and back again. You can read the 2020 report on the failed attempt HERE

This was a "redemption" ride, to finally get that one done. This report will let you know how it all went. I did change up a couple of things this time outside of the route but that did affect the ride. One- I started far earlier and two- I planned better for nutrition. The first attempt failed mostly because I was so amped up about not getting COVID that I forgot to buy food to eat at Vinton. Of course, I bonked. 

This time I took more "on the road food" and I was adamant that I would buy food at Vinton. I also did plan on not eating before I left. I always seem to ride better on an empty stomach, at least for a while, to start out. I planned on stopping about 12 miles in to eat on the road at the corner of Quarry Road and Aker Road. 

Funny, but there isn't a lot to see in the country at night!

The sky was juuuust starting to blush in the East as I took this on Quarry Road.

I also did not take any sort of a computer. I had the route all ready to upload into the Wahoo, and it said it went in, but I could not recall it on the device once I did have it, and what is more, I couldn't find a few other rides that should have been on the device, one or two that were there before. This was discovered mid-week when I did a dry run of my set up. So, I hand wrote my cues, mounted a cue sheet holder, and boom! No worries. (As for Wahoo, and any other GPS, I think I am done with them. More on that in another post)

The other big thing I did was to get up really early and take off. My original plan was to get up at 3:00am. I set an alarm on my phone, but while the app said it was alerting me to wake up, it wasn't. Good thing I woke up on my own at 3:30am. I made it out and was riding by about 4:10am.

Riding at night brings a different sensory vibe. You hear things more keenly, and I noted how there were fewer crickets than usual this year. Probably due to the drought we're in. This drought condition would be a big factor in several ways on this ride. 

"First Breakfast" at the corner was good, and I was moving along at a steady, and a bit slower, pace. Their were no clear "lines" in the gravel, and the Light and Motion light I was using was not a good match for gravel riding as it tended to wash out details and contrasts. I had to keep a firm grasp on the bars to keep the ship pointed in the right direction. 

Headed South, it was getting close to Sunrise.

In the middle of that "S" curve is where Black Hawk County ends and Benton County starts.

The weather was warm, it was still in the low 70's when I got going, and it was very humid. So humid that the moisture condensed on my Rudy Project glasses and my camera lens which then attracted the dust from the roads. This fouled my glasses to the point that they were useless and screwed up a few camera shots until I swiped the lens off. 

There was little wind, which was nice, but what wind there would be was forecast to be out of the North and pretty significant. I was not looking forward to a head wind! 

A super-rare James Greer McQuilken Round Barn on the corner of 52nd St and 11th Ave in Benton County.

A lone silo stands sentinel as the Sunrise is in progress.

It was so humid that I was soaked with a combination of sweat and humidity. I wasn't looking forward to the Sun making things even more uncomfortable. However; as the Sun began to rise it got cooler. The air must have trended drier as well during this time since I started feeling almost too chilly at times, especially in my feet. 

There She is!

There is a very intriguing C Road I wish I could ride down there!

As the Sun came up I saw the roads better and I was able to turn off the light. There were decent lines, but a lot of loose, chunky gravel too. I was starting to battle some issues already before I was 30 miles in. My right trapezius was aching like a son-of-a-gun and I was afraid it might cause me to cut the ride short, but a self-massage while riding seemed to alleviate that to a degree that I forgot about it. 

A fun dirt road and then.....

....A second breakfast at the place I entered the Old Creamery Trail.

I planned a stop at the Old Creamery Tail where I intersected it and that trail is a pea gravel trail which I was to ride all the way East over to Vinton. Here I ate more, took some ibuprofen for the sore muscle, and some electrolyte tabs. Then I was off again on what may have been the most difficult part of the ride for me. 

The Sun made things difficult, but that wasn't the worst of it.

Again, the trail was hard to navigate due to the angle of the Sun when I rode it all the way to Vinton.

While I was able to work the shoulder thing out, I got the "sleepies". I was having a super-hard time staying alert. I ran across a couple joggers that kind of snapped me to for a short while, but I ended up slapping myself, trying to stay awake. Eventually I just had to stop when I found a trailside bench halfway to Vinton out of Garrison. Here I took a brief "cat nap'.

That helped, and I was able to roll into Vinton a little after 8:00am in the morning. I went straight away to Casey's Convenience Store to resupply, and to eat, because I figured that my on-the-road food wasn't cutting it for whatever reason. A slice of breakfast pizza did the trick.

A Monster and a slice-o-pie fixed me right up!

I was pleased at this point and I was about to head out on what I figured would be the hardest part of the route. There would be a headwind and some tough navigation. Plus the Sun would be up and at full steam. Would it get hot and humid? I did not know, but the weather was supposed to be fine. 

Next: "W-V-W" Part 2

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