Monday, June 17, 2024

Victory Ride Report: A Lot To Be Thankful For

Image by Rob Evans
 The Victory Ride is over and this post will be part one of two that covers what happened Saturday. First, I wanted to thank everyone that came out for this ride. It meant a lot to me to have the group show up that did and I appreciated all the kind words about the event and the course that I heard or read later. 

Now, as we went into this ride I had no idea why Warren, who came up with the idea for the event, wanted it to be called what it was called. I promised that I would find out, and here is what Warren told me. He also shared what he wanted the ride to accomplish with this event.

Warren said that he feels that anytime he can get out for a ride that it represents a "victory" for him and he felt that the celebration of riding should be seen as such for us all. Of course, Warren isn't wrong here and I agree that we all should consider every ride - long or short - a victory and a blessing. 

Warren also wanted this event to not be a burden on me, or stress me out in any way. He had wanted to make it simple as could be and was willing to just come up and ride with me on one of my regular routes, if that was what I wanted. But considering that, I felt like there may be some folks that, if word got out that one person or two, (Warren was originally coming up with his nephew) got to ride with me, then some might wonder why the event wasn't opened up to them. So, to avoid any possible hurt feelings, I announced the ride on this blog. 

Finally, Warren wished that this ride would be a kind of "thank you" to me for all the things I have done for others in putting on rides throughout the years. He asked me a couple of times during the ride if my "cup was filled up" with the thanks and gratitude expressed from the riders and from just seeing who showed up. And I have to say, yes. Yes I was feeling that cup filled up. 

Getting ready to roll out.

N.Y. Roll stopped by my house at a little before 8:00am and we loaded up my Honeman Flyer onto his rack and settled in for the short trip to Urbana, Iowa to where the City Hall is at to meet up with whomever was showing up. I knew of a few folks that said they were coming from previous communications. 

Heading out on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail Southward.
First gravel

I was contacted by Rob Evans of Fairbury, Nebraska first. He and Jackie, plus another friend, Dave, would be coming over. Later on Rob mentioned an Omaha area transplant to Waterloo named Justin would be joining us as well. Of course, Warren from Lawrence, Kansas was coming up. Then N.Y. Roll and I from here, plus my old riding friend, Tony, who said he was to join us as well. Later on, a blog reader here named Nathanael, from Vinton, would be joining us for a part of the route. So, that was nine. Were there any 'surprise riders'? 

Well, not really. Kat, a mainly road and mtb riding local, had inquired about the ride via N.Y. Roll, and she did show up. The final rider was Robert, who used to join me on the 3GR group rides back in the day, had done Trans Iowa, and was one of my volunteers for that event. So, we started with a nice group of eleven riders. 

Ridgeline road views are always great in Iowa.

The scenery was great despite the pockmarked pavement here.

This was kind of a sandwich day between a Friday that was utterly perfect weather-wise and a Sunday which was soupy with humidity, rainy, and HOT. Previous forecasts for Saturday had periodic thundershowers, high winds, and temperate weather outside of that. What we got was overcast skies, decent temperatures, okay humidity, and a couple of times we were spit on with rain drops, but it never really rained. The morning wasn't even windy, but the afternoon? Different story. I'll get to that in Part 2. 

Oh yeah! It's Barns For Jason!

Our route took us over the Cedar River a few times.

I'm not really certain what this field is filled with. Box-like structures for...?

Now, I have to say that there were a couple of route-related things that bugged me a bit during the ride. One: Pavement.... I know that in the area we were riding in that pavement is hard to avoid. Fortunately we had some things to look at on a lot of the paved sections, but a few were really busy with traffic and that wasn't fun. (The run into Vinton stands out for me here.) 

The other thing was that N.Y. Roll had a different route loaded into his GPS than I, and a few others had. He was the 'ride leader' for the first half of this ride, then after lunch it was more every man for himself. Ha! At any rate, at one point early on, he went Left where our GPS units said to go straight. I know that for the majority of the first half of the route I had no idea where I was at times. That was 'fun', but I'm not sure what 'type' of fun it was! I might be wrong and it could have been just my computer that was glitched because the route file I got out of the Wahoo looked perfectly normal afterward. You know me and computers! We get along so well together. Ha!

Ooo! Rollercoaster!

You got it! Barns For Jason again.

There was a heinous, steep climb up to a rural cemetery we stopped at for a bit. The tree frogs in this section were LOUD! Then we headed onward to a killer 'roller coaster' section that ended up leading to another crazy steep climb. I have to say that there are some real gems of gravel hidden along the Cedar River between Center Point and Vinton. 

A long downhill section started up ahead here.

A woodshed covered in license plates.

I was super thankful that the route went in the direction we were going because there was a downhill section leading to the Cedar River that had to be way over a mile in length. It had twisty-turny roads and it was pretty steep in parts of this section. Not only that, but we were meeting cars and trucks which were kicking up dust and making it hard to see at times. I was glad my brakes worked as they were severely tested several times during this ride. 

This road ran hard along the Cedar River for a bit.

This row of vintage tractors was sitting alongside the road at the top of a long climb.

Up.....down....up again. The road turned this way and that. This was nothing like riding around Waterloo and Cedar Falls, that is for sure! We finally were getting close to Vinton and our run in to town where we had planned to stop at a Casey's convenience store. 

So far, this ride had been pretty spectacular. We stopped often, but we were making good time and got to Vinton in a little over two hours. Not bad for over 25 miles, (due to the route discrepancy, we rode extra miles than had been originally planned). 

This massive cement railway bridge is on a gravel road coming from the South to Vinton.

It seemed like we rode five miles through Vinton alone!

The convenience store hangout was fun and it provided a chance for the eleven riders to get to know each other a little better. I think we stayed there close to an hour, but we got going eventually and were back on the road by Noon. 

And that's just the first half of the ride! Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.


Rydn9ers said...

Again, fantastic ride. The route and the company were both top notch, not sure of your routing issues my Wahoo seemed to be routing correctly.

NY Roll said...

Well I went an found a new link to use when verifying a route. This may explain the traiffc we saw.,42.24041,10?show=iowaAppRoadwork

Justin H. said...

Thank you for putting together the ride. It was a great time had by all! Hopefully a ride like this can become a yearly thing! Beautiful scenery and awesome people!

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - Thanks for coming out to this ride! Yeah, I wasn't seeing the route for a bit then once we got closer to Vinton....HEY! There it was again. The map was always 'on' and showing me I was going.....somewhere! But after Vinton it was flawless.

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - There are only two seasons in Iowa - Winter and Construction Season! :>) Don't mind me. Everyone else thought the route was great. I'm just a curmudgeon for gravel, I guess. :>)

Guitar Ted said...

@Justin H - Well, this could end up being something. It was fun and easy for me to get on board with. Stay tuned.....

MG said...

I’m super stoked for you guys… I wish I’d have been able to get there, but I’m stoked for the group you had!

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Thanks Brother! We missed you there. Warren especially was looking forward to seeing you again.

This is one of the reasons I want to put this on again - so you can make the trip. Conversely, I have been asked to come out there to Nebraska to see you and others as well.

Gotta make it happen somehow....