Sunday, March 17, 2019

Time To Bust Out The Road Bikes

 Finally used my mirror. Forgot I picked one with a Guinness bottle cap.  Seemed appropriate for the ride abd was an excellent conversation starter downtown.

Seems like Winter has been going on for a full year.  Honestly, it has only been tough for the past two months.  So when all the sniw and ice melted in the past two weeks it was time to stop riding the winter mules it was time to through a leg over a faster steed. 

But where to ride?  Normally we would start with local trails.  But all of these trails it seem are underwater from the thaw.  In fact, most of Iowa is flooding out from the. Return of warm weather, rain and nelting of the snow.
The view from the top of the Des Moines River Trail looking north. Soccer fields on the right.

With this in mind we, Mary and I, chose to ride to Carlisle.  A mere 11 miles from home on paved county roads.  Although we would have prefered to have started on the Des Moines River Trail we had to take Hartford Ave instead because the trail is currently underneath the Des Moines River.  Once we reached the spot where the trail crosses Hartford we were able to use the trail. Fortunately, no soccer or baseball games were hapoening so traffic was light.  The rest of the route was fine.
This sign was honest.

We thought it was fine until we arrived in Avon Lake and read the sign. "ROAD TO CARLISLE IS CLOSED." Of course we continued on to see for ourselves.  And just past the last turn by the old ballfield we saw the water.  One mile to go but we lacked a boat for the quarter mile stretch of water covering the road.

There was a man in a Jeep staring at the flooded road. Said he grew up here and used to play baseball here.  He also said he would have ridden too but, opening the door, his left foot was in a medical boot.  But all have seen this happen before.  The North River and Des Moines River merged.  Oh well, we'll have 20+ miles when we reach our home.
The end of the road. One mile shy of our destination.

Whadda we do now?  It is the Saturday of St Patrick's Day.  Downtown will be a sea of green.  Many of our friends were going to the parade and even participating in the parade.  Members of our bicycling team, Mary's Heroes, had already called to get us to join them.  While normally I would not hesitate to join them I know that once I did the beer would flow down my neck like a river.  I've waited too long for a nice day to ride to waste it drinking beer. We can do that anytime.

20 miles and the road bike hunger sated. Time to find our friends.  Ride home and put green clothes on.  I wore my Mullets long sleeve shurt with. Peter Hook & The Light shirt over it with "The Light" in green.  Final layer was a John Deere jacjet and hat. Green I was!  Found Joe and Donnie outside Court Avenue Brew Pub which was awesome since our mugs are there. One mug of O'Hearn's Irish Stout before reloading with their ESB.  The latter being one of the finest beers from Des Moines.

We discussed our plans for the year and the great times we had in the past.  Eventually we left the crowd and had bike beers on the Red Bridge before splitting up and heading home.  We witnessed a photoshoot of wedding party on the bridge.  I hope we did not photobomb them.

Three of our bicycles on the Red Bridge. Donnie in the photo, too.

It was a beautiful day to be outside on bikes and with friends.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Winter's Retreat

Sunday March 10, 2019

Been an interesting winter.  First it never arrived.  60s in January.  Then it hit hard.  Snow after snow and the bottom of the thermometer dropping off.  And when it was supposed to start to leave it got even colder.  That finally changed this weekend.  It warmed up to above freezing and it rained.  So it was time to switch bikes.

Friday night Mary and I rode to Confluence Brewery on bicycles WITHOUT studded tires!  That has been first since January.  Saturday it rained all day so we stayed inside and I put together her new commuter.  Today, Sunday we took it for a spin.

First, I rode to Church on the winter bike.  There may have been ice from the refreeze from the rain and subsequent melting.  There was a little.  Last night's 30 mph wind helped to evaporate the water.  27F when I left for Church.  But I did not need a coat.  Just used my tweed jacket as a warmth layer plus hat and gloves.  No boots!  Another first.

Our test ride took place around noon.  Shake down on her bike and I busted out the Verenti for something different.  The streets were a bit wet in spots but mostly dry.  Windy but sunny.  We heard birds.  Stopped at Court Avenue Brew Pub for their latest offerings, Fuzzy Tacos for nachos and DSM Brew for espresso.  It was like a normal weekend. 

Next weekend is St Patrick's Day.  Usually I expect to see green grass and trees budding but I have no expectations.  There's still a lot of snow on the ground but given the forecast of rain this coming week it may go away.  Hopefully, it will also warm up.