Sunday, February 21, 2016

February Thaw

The ice patch.  The sign was true!

As promised by the Weather People, Iowa hi the 60F+ mark and for once we had a decent weekend.  The past 3 or 4 weekends have been crap so this one with its super warm February weather was extra special.  Saturday was only in the 50s but that was good enough.  Everyone was out on bikes.

Mary and I started at home and headed downtown for lunch.  Our original plan was to have breakfast somewhere but by the time we got rolling it was lunch time.  We ate at Fuzzy Tacos.  There were already 6 or 7 bikes there.  The wet outline of the melted snow bank on the curb of SE 3rd was visible.  Gone daddy gone.

Mary's new bike.  90s vintage hybrid custom

Destination Cumming Tap.  We took the MLK Trail to Gray's Lake and opted to weave through the pedestrian traffic of the lake's trail instead of crossing Fleur.  The mud bank along the trail that is between Fleur and the river is about a foot and a half tall.  This really needs to be removed.  To our amazement the trail was not flooded from the recent melt.

This was our first venture on the Great Western Trail this year.  December 6, 2015 was my last venture down south.  If the trail was plowed in the winter I would have been there more often.  But then again weekends have been plagued with cold, windy and icy weather.  Winter miles for me are mostly commuting back and forth to work.  I'm lucky to get 10 miles on a weekend.

The trail was almost perfect which was a most welcome since I opted to ride a road bike sporting 700x23 tires.  Only one area of corner, the original tunnel or now the middle tunnel at the entrance of the golf course.  Thick ice patch about 15 feet long and wet.  I walked over it.  The rest of the trail was fine except for muddy intersections but I was able to ride through them without issue.

I wonder how many photos of Mary and her bike I have taken here

No one was at the Lean To because we were ahead of everyone as usual.  We did get passed by the racing crowd on occasion.  I was not pushing myself very hard on the way down.  I was happy to be on a fast bike that was light years faster than my commuters and fatbike.  No need to beat myself up.  Hate to move the stent.

Smokin' bird and pig at the Tap!!

There were a few bikers at the Tap when we arrived.  Linda had the smoker loaded with wings and pork loin.  I immediately called Donnie Hildreth to ask for him to join us.  If he was unable to drive that far I was going to suggest that he then load his truck with chairs and beer and we'd meet him at the trail a quarter mile from his house.  He drove to the Tap.  Donnie is still on the mend from breaking his back and shoulder and wrist.  He may be back on his bike by June.

Steve and Kathy Fuller also showed up.  They were riding their tandem and checking out the gravel.  Always good to see them.  The conversation soon came down to our recent medical issues.  3 broke dick bikers exchanging war stories.  I was the only one who did not have the pleasure of doctor ordered stool softeners!

Look out Momma there's land rapers in the distance!

On the way back I put the carbon rod into big ring.  Time for speed.  Let Mary push herself on hers.  First stop the Lean To since it was crowded.  Laura Hildreth was out on her new bike.  But soon people continued south to the Tap.  Construction equipment on the edge of the field was a harbinger of "progress" that we did not like.  Maybe our days here are numbered as West Des Moines rapes more land.

When you lack kickstands....

Rolling north again we passed 3 people at the first bridge on the trail.  Mary asked me if I recognized them but I was not paying detailed attention.  After getting his name wrong I determined that she was trying yo say Humesey.  SLAM ON BRAKES AND TURN AROUND.  If crazy people were out then I wanted to see them.  Dave is in a league of his own.  We chatted with Humes, Sally and Nick for about 20 minutes.

Craig lost in thought

We thought the last stop would be at the Water Works bridge.  The bridge was packed with many friends.  Catt was there and left when we gave him the Humesey Report.  He was to ride with them.  But alas everyone split, some heading to Cumming, others elsewhere.  Mary was starving so it was home for us.

Mary's new bike and The Carbon Rod

About this time we saw something to remind us that not everyone was enjoying the day.  Did not know whether to laugh or call her out but a woman on a fatbike pulling a kid in a Wee-Hoo trailer rode through water and mud completely blasting the kid Nickelodeon style. "She refused to take her sunglasses." Kid needed a biohazard suit.  She did not look happy and could not open her mouth without getting mud in it.  Yep, 4+ inch offroad tires kick up a lot of muck.  Old fashion slapstick comedy or child abuse? Different bike with fenders, Sugar, your kid will thank you for it if you can bribe her again for another ride..  

One last stop.  SW 30th.  Joe Hildreth on his new bike returning from the Polar Ride.  As usual good to see him.  We discussed the up coming bicycle season and our plans.  He was running out of daylight so we let him go.  We were running out of daylight as well and our bikes had the sum total of one rear flasher.

Joe H riding home.

Mary and milked the most out of the Sun's love.  A February like this had not been around since 1995.  Walnut Creek was flooding the Bill Riley Trail,  George Flagg was closed because of water and the Raccoon River was bank full at places.  And always it is still February and winter could return with a vengence.  One weekend to really enjoy it.  Make the most of it, the return of winter and flooding will be hell.

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