Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Brown Season: Sometimes Things Just Work Out

Things look pretty sad at Harold Getty Lake
February and shirt sleeves and shorts are not things you associate together in Iowa. Mexico? South America? Maybe there you might be thinking that is a normal association, but not in the Mid-West. 

That said, I rode on the 26th and the 27th in shorts and a t-shirt. That just ain't right, in my opinion. Cool? sure, but it is rather concerning. That and the lack of moisture. I've thought we were in for a doozy of a year in terms of a drought last year, but this year came in and said, "Hold my beer....

Things could turn around this Spring, and I sure hope that they do, or all I will be writing about all year is "Brown Season". Okay....maybe "Dust Season", that might actually work better. Again, I sure hope that I am wrong, but as of now, things look pretty dire out there.

While this may look like a pile of dirt, it is actually melting snow underneath that duff.

I really did not feel like riding Tuesday at all. But I also could not live with myself and let this unprecedented weather pass without some sort of bicycle ride. Today it will struggle to get into the 30's, which, is about normal anyway for February, but Monday it was 74°F here and yesterday it was about 65°F before the winds came up around 2:00pm and the long slide downward overnight happened. We ended up being in the single digits!

Anyway, so I did not feel like riding, but I got kitted up anyway and headed over East thinking maybe I'd hit those B Roads over by Washburn. Maybe I'd feel better then and ride more gravel. I had time. I left the house by 8:30am. 

I had a special cargo in that dry bag attached to the OMM Axle Pack.

I decided to bring along a canister of coffee for a stop later on. I slid that into a dry bag and that attached to the cargo carrier which was attached to the Old Man Mountain Axle Pack. I figured on finding a bridge or somewhere suitable for a sit-down coffee break that morning.

The roads around here are already a mess with the bridges being repaired and replaced downtown. I was going to use the riverside bicycle trail, but I got shunted off onto an alley parallel to the Cedar River. Then I ended up on a street that led me to the Riverview Recreation Area which used to be a wild area called Mitchell Sand Pits. 

I was just fine with a ride around Harold Getty Lake and then heading back home. Plus there were lots of lakeside benches strewn along the shoreline that might make for a good coffee sipping spot. Or even better, that shelter house with picnic tables. So, I headed down the dike and onto the double-track path around the lake. 

Before there were Yeti's, there was the Thermos.

I knew that the shelter with picnic tables was located at the point where I would be leaving the lake. That was quite a ways around from where I was starting at. I was in no hurry to stop before then, but this certain bench near a fishing jetty called out to me somehow.  I stopped and sat down on a wobbly bench with my ancient but functional one-pint Thermos. It was relatively calm so the water was like glass. The sky was blue and there were a few clouds. The breeze was light. I found myself in a nice, peaceful state......

Does it really get any better than this?

I sat for, oh.....I don't know, a long time it was, for sure. It was great with very little to distract me and I meditated on a few things while I sipped my coffee in the Sunshine. Finally, I drained the last of it and was about to leave when suddenly to my right I saw movement on the lake.

Two ducks and a large, white swan (?) glide across Harold Getty Lake.

This large white bird was gliding across the surface of the water. At first I thought it was alone but then I noticed the two ducks in front of it. They made for a strange procession across the lake until the ducks disappeared and the white bird turned and headed back to the middle of the lake. 

I watched in silence and took a couple images. Then I decided it was time to head back to the house. On my way past the shelter, I realized why the bench by the jetty had attracted me. There were two pairs of men chatting away there and another cyclist. I would have found no peace had I went straight to the shelter for coffee. 

Right about this time I noticed something going on with my rear tire. A whomp-whomp-whomp! with every rear wheel revolution. Hmm...... I stopped to investigate it.....

My WTB Resolute developed a tread separation.

I noticed a bump in the tread and a distortion of the casing. Oh! This was bad! My tire casing and tread were separating and air was getting in between the casing and the tread, causing a bulge. This tire was about to blow up and when that happens? You're pretty much done. 

I had this very thing happen when I was down at the DK200 one year during a course pre-ride with my friend Tony and a few others. Between us all, I was able to boot the tire, put in a tube, and we taped the tire to the rim with black electrical tape! It worked long enough to get me home. This time I had no boot or tape, so if the Resolute failed, I would be walking. 

I managed to get about half way home at a snails pace, not wanting to risk a rear blow-out at any significant speed. Then I felt like the bulge was getting worse, so I dismounted, let out some air, and walked the remainder of the way home. 

Just think if I had decided I needed to go all the way out into the country and then have this happen? Things kind of have a way of working out for the best sometimes....


Steve Stilwell said...

Looks like you have one of those Resolutes where the right and left sides of the mold are miss matched. I have one of those as well.

Derek said...

I thought that tread pattern looked a little off, but it didn't really register until I read your comment.

MG said...

That white bird looks like a trumpeter swan. We had several pairs of them nesting near my home when I was a kid. They’re amazing, beautiful, peaceful birds.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Thanks! I thought maybe that was what it was as well since I heard a loud honking noise coming from the direction the bird came from before I saw it. It wasn't a Canadian Goose, which we have thousands of here in this area.

I was a bit hesitant to say it was a trumpeter swan because they generally are seen with their mate, but this one was alone, so I did not know for certain and with me being so far away, a positive ID wasn't possible.

Thanks Brother!