First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I apologize for the lack of posts recently. My trip back to Iowa I wasn't able to get my digital camera to work with my parents computer and well... if you're like me you only 'read' when there are pictures.
So where to begin. On Friday, Bottke and I got together for a bit of a ride because he was going to have to work on Saturday for the Slap in the Face gravel ride. We made our way for a pretty good ride. Around 14.5 miles.
Bottke got the Xtracycle up and running without any of bags. A fine set-up until one encounters ice.
We met up from Evil Empire and headed west, which took us through UNI campus, of course getting strange looks from a few pedestrians which is pretty typical when the temperature is 11 degrees out when you leave.
The majority of the ride was on pavement but we did hit up some gravel for about 3 miles, if you're looking at the map, it's around miles 9-12. The gravel was in great shape, certain sections where there was tree covering there was more ice but ride able.
Bottke did have a little bit of a mechanical issue during the ride. On the Xtracycle he is running it 1x8 right now but has a triple chain ring on the front with the intention of running it 3x8 very soon. Needless to say, when on a longer ride certain gearing causes the chain to jump. The picture to the left was actually taken during one of our stops on the gravel when the chain hoped.
What I did just realize though, is if you look closely you can see trees on the right side of the road. This is place where the ride got interesting. When we came to those trees the sunlight wasn't able to get through the road so there was a good amount of glassy ice built up.
Brian went down pretty quickly, not any fault to him. With the longer wheel base and nothing in the back for weight controling the bike is pretty much out of the question. The funny thing about Brian falling was I was leading in that section and looked over my shoulder and as I said 'Are you...' I was down too. Fortunately, we were both ok although Brian got a cramp but was able to stretch it out, like a champ, pretty quickly.
It was a great ride though. Talking things over with Brian about TransIowa, shop talk and then just picking each others brains about whatever odd topic it might be has always made for good time with a great friend.
That leads us to Saturday. The Slap in the Face gravel ride. It was very uncertain if it was even going to happen given that it looked like it was going to rain. Mark went out earlier in the week to check out the gravel on the proposed route and wasn't sure if it was going to be fully rideable.
After lots of back and forth, Saturday morning happened. And it was great. There was a good turn out of people [which never hurts for a good ride]. Bidwell, Super Saul, J. Fry, Carlos the Jackal, Blue, David Pals co-leader of TI.V made it up, and Craig from Europa all made it out.
Mark wasn't able to make due to his wife getting sick. Family first and totally understandable. Selfishly, I did hope he could have made it.
Needless to say, there has already been a few post already about the ride from a few of the guys. I actually stole the pictures from a few of them because I have yet to fully master the art of picture taking while still maintaining fully control the bike. And with all the ice, I was already doomed.
Around 24.5 miles of goodness. There is just something to be said about rides in the winter. I have yet to find the words to fully express how much fun and how much joy I get out of doing them. I did learn a few things on the ride though:
_ Never say you're going to fall. Although didn't have bad falls, I lead the pack... 3 falls. 2 that I saw coming and in all honesty were more my fault than the condition, given that I didn't keep momentum. The final fall came with no one around and was totally unexpected. It through me to ground fast and hard. Leaving one of my bar end plugs some where on a gravel road.
_ Want an ab work out? Ride on ice with drop bars. HOLY COW! My abs still hurt from controling the bike through the ice and then the falls probably didn't help.
_ There is cold and there is Iowa cold. I'm sorry but 2 years away from Iowa winters and there is no way to prepare for them. Windchill and humity make for a nasty beast. Especially when you're going against it. VIVA LA FROZEN BEARD!
All in all, the trip to Iowa was great. There is a cycling scene and passion in the midwest and especially in Iowa that is so often overlooked but has been and is a great influence on the greater cycling community. I can't say that I'm an Iowan any more, but I'm sure glad that I have a great friends there and have been blessed to have grown up there.
MANIFESTO T-SHIRT UPDATE: Fortunately from some, unfortunately for others. But the first generation Manifesto t-shirts have all been claimed. Have no fear. I will be doing one more run of the Manifesto T's on Kerkove Nation Black with white writing. Once again, with every No Drive shirt, there are limited runs on these. Contact me with questions or orders.