Sunday, May 29, 2016

1000 Mile May

Taken from McKinley Rd 

Despite all the rain, cold weather, crappy weekends and my poor health I managed to clock in over 1000 miles for the month of May, 2016.  This is my first 1K month since October 2015.  Big debt of gratitude goes to having the first week of the month off and the 240 miles ridden Monday through Friday that week.  Another key to this was riding the extra 3 miles every morning to work despite the rain.  It adds up.  And my lovely wife Mary who stoked the tandem with me or rode along for various adventures.  I cannot forget Donnie and Joe Hildreth for a great 62 miler to St Mary's last week.  But it comes down to the final ride, the last full measure, crossing that line.  Today we made an adventure out of it.

Mary and I on the Trestle first week of  May.

Late start.  I needed a mere 24 miles.  Just waking up and hopping on a bike would have made it easy.  But I was scheduled to distribute Holy Communion at Church at 830 am and it being the feast day of The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ it would look bad if I no showed.  Afterwards we sat around home and ate pancakes and played on computers.  Motivation was wilting away as the temperature increased to the 80s.  The 1000 mile point would be crossed on Tuesday going to and fro work if all else fails.  Around noon we decided to roll and changed into biking clothes.  I remembered to apply sun block for once.

The Hildreth brothers and me on our ride to St Mary's.  I really hate my jersey now.

Outside the door the decision was made on the destination.  By this time of year we have ridden in every direction and just a mileage goal was not helping.  Bondurant was considered but it seems like we were just there.  Were we up for a 40 so "late" in the day?  Maybe north to Johnston and the ice cream shop?  Rode that way Friday night.  Cumming, a 23 mile round trip which would suffice since we rode 1 mile to Church and back.  Mary said no since she thought the trail would be too crowded.  But she could not make a decision either.  In the end we picked Cumming.  Mary counted all the bikes we encountered from Mullets to Orlando's.  79 going the opposite direction.

But when we were crossing Park Ave about 30 bikers got on the trail.  Damn, she was right.  Fortunately I had to stop and deal with a phone issue.  Let them go.  New plan:  turn around and ride to Pleasant Hill and have margaritas at that Mexican joint in Copper Creek.  Maybe have Crabb meet us there.  But we pushed on to McKinley.

New Plan 2  take McKinley up to the the first paved road north and ride home.  It's been neaqrly 4 years that I've ridden that road.  Used to take it all the time home from work when i worked at the PFG call center.  Sadly, the road has really rotted.  I don't know why they bother mowing the shoulders.  but we we topped it Mary suggested he continue west toward Walnut Woods.  It has been even longer since we rode there.

Some hills but that was good.  We rode through the park itself and exited and continued on.  Take the back roads to Orilla or Cumming.  County roads are solace when trails are crowded.  better to be passed by an occasional car than deal with 300 bikes.  Besides this close to the Ragbrai and we really need to be on roads instead of trails for better training.

My phone went off near Army Post Rd so we stopped.  It was Quin our second son wanting to borrow a tent.  We pulled over to the closed road and talked.  About that time the large group of bikes that we saw earlier were coming from the south to this intersection.  Ends up they were the Dream Team or something akin training.  I asked if they were heading south, no.  We headed south up the hill to Moffit Lake Rd and took a left at the first paved road.

That road had like 4 names and soon turned to gravel but lead us to the road that bisects Cumming.  Good gravel which was a miracle because we both were riding 700x23s.  I had to laugh because within a minute of entering the gravel a car passed me.  The west wind prevented me and more importantly from being covered by dust and grit.  Mary and I are hard enough on bicycles without intentionally destroying them by riding on filthy surfaces such as this.  guess we were hip, riding on gravel.  We got what we wanted, a road to ourselves like we had yesterday albeit crappy surface.

Once in Cumming we did not even stop.  Had to get home, child in need of a tent for camping that night.  And a sleeping bag.  The pancakes were long gone anyway, need to eat.  Now we had a tailwind to keep our speed up.  Enjoyable.  Weave through the bikes.  The closer we got to Des Moines the thicker the bikes.  Should have taken county roads back.  Then there right near the end was Nikki and Aaron with their two kids pulled off the trail dealing with an issue surely related to riding with young children on hot days (well the hottest day this season).  I almost texted Aaron to say it will get better about 10 years from now when they will only phone you when you ride asking for a tent or when's dinner.

The rest of the way was fast and crowded.  I should have slowed down but the energy was with me and I wanted to get home.  Had my miles.  And suddenly our oldest child appears and we stopped and regrouped.  head home and determine when tent pick up would be then off to Court Avenue Brew Pub for post ride/pre-dinner beer and wings.  Life is good!  Celebrate the success!

Lessons:  Early starts.  Stay off trails during peak hours.  Explore old roads and new ways.  Empty county highways.  It's almost June and hill training is in order.

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