Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

August lacks holidays.  The good holidays that give people the day of from work yet pay them for it.  So many possible bike rides and adventures.  I have been looking at the calendar, "My God, it's full of 3 day weekends!"  Well one, anyway.  Labor Day should be the first Monday of every month, the second if it falls on New Year's Day.


My road bike was steed of choice.  Spend way too much time on a heavy bagged single speed.  My 520 is still in the basement waiting for tires and tubes.  Now it is time for speed and distance.

Friday night I ride to Sam H's house.  He lives on Coventry Rd south of County Line Rd.  South of the Zoo it is in Warren County.  No trails between us.  Night time on a Friday night with traffic.  Safety vest and flashers.  No need for fancy lights. There will be an abundance of street lights and headlights.

The ride there was uneventful.  No one hit me or yelled something or threw garbage in my direction.  just a climb out of Little Italy to Park Ave.  A few slight hills to Army Post.  Major intersection but controlled by lights.  I took SE6th to Lacona then SE8th to Watrous then back to SE6/5th.  Crossed Army Post Rd with relative ease only to be disturbed by a phone call.  Keith E wanted to know if I needed a ride to Sam's.  Maybe for the ride back and "I got to go I am crossing Army Post at night on a bike while talking on a cell phone.  this does not look good to car drivers."

There is a nice downhill followed by a steep climb to the stop sign and turn.  Big ring for speed then jam up and work through the gears.  the rest of the trip is wide open with light traffic and a few rollers on the final stretch.  6.2 miles.  keg of homebrew, pork loin and chicken on the grill.  Cigars as well.

Keith gave me a ride home.  We had to stop and look at his daughters bike.  It will be going to Ames.  Test ride reveals that the seat is extremely uncomfortable and the bike will not shift.  Not my problem now.

Saturday it rained most of the day.  I did not mind this.  I was hungover anyway, devoid of energy.  I did make a run for caffeine after the rain ended that evening.  4 miles added to the Via.

Sunday was the big day.  Tuesday I put forth the proposition to Joe H about riding to the High Trestle bridge in the evening to be there at night in its luminous blue light glory.  He agreed and we discussed this throughout the week. 

Craig Lein also invited me on a ride to the same destination but a different route.  he was testing a route up to BRR that required gravel.  I had to lector at Church at 10 and would set his launch time back considerably.

Joe picked Mary and I at 459 pm Sunday evening.  he was one minute early.  After saying he could not do this because of his job, he called at 2pm.  Mary and I were napping after lunch.  We went to Church, came home and made lunch then I went to bed.  We could not move.  But the sound of my phone going off woke us up.  The ride was on and he'd be there at 5pm.  Road bikes only due to the space limitations of his Honda CRV.  His brother Donnie would meet us at the swimming pool in Ankeny.  Both are brothers with Sam--breed like rabbits, spread like cancer, eat like locust.

I take 3 sets of lights.  Two flashers and my high beam TurboCat.  I charged the battery a few days in advance.  Turning the night time into the day for this ride.  Mary took a pair of flashers, Joe and Donnie had similar set ups.

Joe and Donnie carried one tube each as did I.  Joe brought a very nice and handy mini-pump complete with pressure gauge.  I had two CO2 cartridges.  Within a half mile of the parking lot I flatted out.  Punctured rear tire.  I sat on the trail, nowhere to pull over, and changed the tube.  Puncture was spotted and cleaned.  Saved to old tube for patching (I took it with me instead of littering).  Joe's mini-pump was THE BOMB!  110 psi in what seemed like 2 minutes max!  Save the CO2.  The tire held although I was paranoid about another flat.

6 miles into the ride the Oasis appears.  We just rode the section of the trail I have never used.    The Oasis is at the intersection that leads to Polk City.  We saved 20 miles just from driving to Ankeny.  Lori Edwards is there and we have a beer.  She and her crew have been out since Friday and are working there way back home.  She was surprised that we stayed for only one beer.  Lori also reported seeing my sister in Madrid. 

Slater we stopped at the pool shelter.  Joe went to Casey's for a 12 pack.  Donnie was running low.  I was feeling like shit.  Joe and Mary were having the competition on who could ride the fastest.  There was a headwind too.  We had "dinner" at Slater.  Bite sized Cliff Bars from UAR, Powerbars and a triple espresso GU packet washed down with a Busch Light.  Yummy!

I felt much better when the riding resumed.  Madrid would be our next stop.  We chose to forgo the Flat Tire Lounge opted for the downtown Labor Day WeekEnd Celebration.  There was a beer garden with a band.  This had been going on since Friday.  a three day drunk in Madrid.  It was Sunday night and I was told not to get beer tickets.

Someone recognized Joe from his Tall Dog jersey and gave us a metric shitload of drink tickets!  Later that night a woman tapped me on the shoulder and gave me her tickets.  Scott S and Julie H reached the beer garden when we did.  No one gave them tickets.  Walter and Tasha arrived via tandem  They were camping at Swede Point.  easy ride back.  We stilled had another 24 miles to go and THEN a drive to DSM.

Fortunately, we only stayed for three before heading to our objective: The Bridge.  I brought along my video camera and held it while recording my ride across the bridge.  This is posted on YouTube.  We tried this before.  Success during a daylight ride on tandem.  Failure at night on Ragbrai as I could not turn the camera on  Too dark to figure out that the power button needs to be manually operated.  I barely made it to the end of the lights before the batteries died.  Maybe on my birthday ride.

On the way in two large pickups full of bicycles parked in the nearby lot.  There were people and families walking to the bridge.  This trail is busy at night.  we were not the last to visit or leave.  There were campfires on the sandbars below.  I cannot emphasize what a big attraction this pedestrian/bicycle bridge is.

Stopped at The Flat Tire Lounge on the way back before riding back with Scott and Julie.  It was a fast ride.  We were cold.  Mary and I failed to bring jackets or warm weather gear.  But we survived.  No more flats.  No beer stops.  We got home at 245 am.

Brad O called Sunday afternoon to ask me to ride with him to Martinsdale.  Plans were already set in motion but I said how about Monday morning.  9 am seemed like a good time.  I woke up at 845 am.  Needed water.  Needed to upload the video and photos from last night.  Brad calls.  It'll be an hour.  Need breakfast too.  We met at Mullets at 10.  Road bikes again.

He was pissed off that Mullets was closed at 10 am.  "It is Monday," I reminded him.  "Oh."  We crossed the river and took Scott St to the Gay Lea Wilson trail head.  Today we went to Altoona and got lost on a residential trail.

It was another gorgeous day.  I wore my Jenna's Ride long sleeve shirt.  A few bikes here and there.  Runners and walkers too.  You make a trail, people will use it. 

Two stops.  The first was at the bench by the marker of the 1877 train crash that killed 7 people and hurt 40.  The wall holding the culvert washed away during a a very wet month.  Welcome to Iowa.  It used to be a wetland.

The second stop was on the return.  We stopped at SE6th and MLK and decided to grab a beer at Capital Pub and Hot Dog Co.  Still no bike racks but we enjoyed Chicago dogs and fries under the 312 umbrella on the patio.  A great way to end a wonder 25 mile ride.  And for once, I was not drenched in sweat.  Gotta love cools temps.

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