Sunday, April 21, 2019

Training For 2019

Obligatory bicycle at the Casey's in Carlisle.  On our way to the Summerset Trail and Indianola.  A great 44 mile round trip from our home.  Also this route is a gateway for centuries.

Nothing unusual in my schedule rides for this year.  First week of June we are taking road bikes and crossing South Dakota.  This will be our fourth adventure in that State.  July will see us riding loaded touring bicycles around Iowa.  But the  late winter weather with its snow, flooding and destruction of trails and bridges has put a cramp in our style.  But more importantly, my new commute has put a hurt on me.

My commute went from a 30 mile round trip to a 5 miler.  I had to haul ass for the long one.  The trip home allowed me to ride hard and longer if I wanted to.  Now I have two leisurely  2.5 mile trips each day.  No real need to ride fast.  For this ride I wear the clothes I work in instead of bicycling clothes.  Even my shoes.  Get up, get dressed and take off.  Park the bike and start my job.  Nice.  Saves a lot of time.  Even during winter I wore my work clothes.  Only once or twice did I add a layer to my legs, usually a pair of sweat pants that I's pull over and off my work slacks.  The way it should be.  Mileage died.  For the past four years as tracked on the Icy Bike Winter Commuter page's spread sheet on FB I averaged 3150 miles of commuting only from October through March.  Last year a mere 500 miles for the same time period.  Yeah, commuting miles are junk miles.  But.....

I'm experiencing leg pain on long rides.  Never have I experience painful legs after a 40 mile ride.   One early ride a week or two ago they'd be screaming at me!  No pain no gain.  I lost a lot of ride time and now I'm rebuilding.  I really should not feel bad.  One of my teammates said he did a 45 miler and "it felt like 45 miles."

Every weekend I pick a destination and increase my mileage.  The goal is two back to back 60 to 80 miles day.  Dakota will see us do 503 miles in a week, 52 69 63 91 69 88 and 71 mile days.  Some climbing, well a lot of climbing especially when we traverse the Missouri River Valley.  Need to be ready.  Suffer here to enjoy riding over there.  Ride Across South Dakota

Miles first to build up the core.  Then hills.  Just need weekends with good weather and motivation to crank out 20 to 30 milers after work.  I get off early so that should not be an issue.  Weather...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fool's Ride 2019

Orange is the official color for the Fool's Ride even for skeletons.

I cannot think of a better social ride to celebrate the return of Spring than The Fool's Ride along the scenic Cedar Valley Nature Trail.  The first Saturday of every April is the date to mark on your calendars and bring your bicycle and your friends to La Porte City, Iowa.  The route is from La Porte City to Brandon, Iowa, on the trail or county road depending on trail conditions and what sort of bicycle and tires you will be riding.  The CVNT has a crushed limestone surface and may not be appropiate for road bikes with skinny tires.  There are a large variety of bicycles from fatbikes and tandems, crossbikes and hybrids, MTBs and touring baggers and department store cheapies.  Whatever your ride, there is a way.  Roughly 12 miles each way.  Yesterday I was a fool for the fourth time since 2008.

Basically, the ride starts at the bar and turns around at the bar in Brandon, Phat Albert's.  PA has food and beverages and music provided by a great blues guitarist Bryce Janey and his support.  After riding back to La Porte City the starting/ending establishment has another band and food available.  Never a cover.  The ride is promoted by Team Cornpone and Team Jet Fuel.

Dave was not home.  He was one one of the Fools.

Mary and Dave.

Mary and me.
Our bicycles.

This year Mary and I picked up Dave in Cedar Falls to join us.  Dave rode with me during our first FR back in 2008 and later in 2014.  He has always been a most gracious host allowing us to sleep at his place in Cedar Falls.  This year was no different.

Some changes to note.  The ride now starts at the Getaway Bar which is located across the park and near the rail tracks.  Always in our experience the ride began and ended at the bar on the main drag.  BUT that pub has finally closed after changing owners and names over the years.  Seemed strange and sad.  One local said that LPC is a 3 bar town but only has two now.  I had to drive Mary and Dave to the now defunct watering hole so they would understand that I was going to park the Honda at the park near the Getaway Barr & Grill.

The was a large crowd at the Getaway.  Lots of local bicycle teams.  I was impressed with the number of people from La Porte City that were there but then again one of the State's major trails cuts through their town thus encouraging its citizens to ride their bicycles.  Riders were starting their ride at their own leisure.  We socialized for a bit before beginning our journey.

Team Boner.  There was a large container of some red and fruity adult beverage in the trailer.  No one complained that he took up 3/4s of the trail during his stop.

Never got the story on this.

The Goatmobile!

Harold Gates, cyclist and veteran.
During the first half of the ride there are several spots where people who live next to the trail socialize with the participants of the ride.  They gather around dirt paths and farm crossings to mingle.  This year one of them brought a goat.  Better yet, we encountered Harold Gates, a man in his 8th decade who was riding against the flow on a Trek hybrid.  It was great to listen to him talk about the days of old.  Great to know that he can enjoy the trail as well.

There's a party going on over here, Fool's Ride!

Tandems seemed to be popular this year.  This was the oldest.  There may have been 4 or 5 tandems.  We briefly considered bringing one of ours.  Done this ride on hybrids, fat bikes, single speeds, touring bikes and gravel bikes.  A tandem should be next.  

More celebrations at the quarry.

What is possibly the half way point is an old rock quarry turned into a park.  It is a long thin stretch of grassy land between the trail and the fence that keeps people out of the the quarry lake/pond.  There is a shelter, bike racks and benches.  Lots of riders stop here for a break,  I often thought about camping here if need and opportunity present.   This time we ran into some members of the Diehards.  As pleasant as this was, out in the sun on a warm day, 70*F, hunger put us back on our two wheeled steeds and we completed our trip to Brandon.

Fried chicken breasts were the entree.  Legs and wings and baked beans were also available as well as chips at Phat Albert's.  In years past burgers, brats and hot dogs were the options.  I ain't never met a chicken I did not like.  Fresh chicken breast!  Dave and I went back for a second round.  We were able to grab the "mafia booth," a three sided booth with a table to the right of the band.    We shared this with some nurses from Waterloo, one who had been awake for over 24 hours due to her shift.

Bryce on guitar and Jeff on the keys.
Bryce Janey was strumming the blues on his guitar with Jeff Craft accompanying and singing with his Roland keyboard.  Very good.  People were dancing and everyone was enjoying this gorgeous day.  But like all good things, it had to end.  Time for us to leave the party and ride back to La Porte City.

The ride back was just as fun.  A few things to note.  First, like on the way to Brandon, the frogs were out in force.  I even saw a turtle!  Yes, I get excited to see a turtle that only a week or so ago was still hibernating.  Also, snow was still around in the shadows off the trail.  More exciting was the abandoned bus we found in the woods off the trail.  It had to have been there for decades yet I have never noticed it before.  We had to stop and explore.

We heard frogs and saw turtles in the water and also encountered snow.

Funny how the rusty spots formed in the shape of shotgun pellets.

That will buff out.  Dave's brother has a lot of tools!

Moon roof and escape hatch on the floor!

Was a nice looking bus before being destroyed.  Chrome grill.

But not all was good.  At a later stop I noticed that my bike lock was missing.   I must have left it at Phat Albert's.  I insisted that we would drive back to Brandon to retrieve it.  Stupidity, sloppiness.

Once back in LPC we put the bicycles back into the CR-V.  Such a great vehicle.  We were able to get three bikes inside and close the hatch and still have a rear seat for a person to sit in back. After securing or steeds we walked to the Getaway and met my son Quin and his girlfriend Kayla who came over to visit us.  We had cheeseburgers although I do not think we needed more food.  The Limestoners were playing outside on the patio.  This blues band consists of some of the best blues muscians of Iowa.  Hall of Famer Bob Dorr and Jeff Petersen.  And Bob was on drums!  Before one song he noted that this track had been played at Steb's in 1986.  I hollered.  I was probably there.  What a great way to end the ride.  But something even better happened.

The Limestoners

Gotta love a Gibson Flying V.

The Fool's Ride and its September counterpart Sloof Ride have dress codes.  For the former orange is the official color of clothing for the ride.  Camouflage is the theme for the latter ride.  So I wore an orange shirt I purchased at Two Friends Bar back in 2008 where the ride began and ended on my first ride.  Someone tapped my shoulder and said that she was glad to see this shirt since she used to own that bad back in 2008 and that her caricature was printed on back of the shirt.  I was hoping that it would get some recognition but I never expected that.  I should have had her photo taken with my back to the camera to show here 2008 image.

Time to go.  We drove back to Brandon in the dark.  I have never driven there before.  Dark road and nothing familiar.  Classic "I know how to get there on bike but not car: syndrome.  Mary fired up Google Maps to ensure no mistakes were made.  But once in Brandon we spotted the turn to Phat Albert's a little too late.  I was tempted to make a U-turn but with Dave and Mary going "over there" and with an oncoming car, despite having more than enough time and a wide street,  I decided to take Dave's advice and make a right on the first road.  Of course it did not look like a road and the Sheriff's house with official SUV parked out front was on this dark descent into the abyss.   Just a dark black hole and if it was flooded we'd require a deep sea rescue kit.  We managed to climb out the other side and find the bar.  I reached into the trailer that I placed the lock on while awaiting Dave to move his bike many hours ago but only found my can of beer.  What sort of prank did the Universe play on me?  No lock just an empty West-O can that was stomped on.  Turn phones into torches and search the perimeter.  Perhaps I dropped it.  No joy.  The lock was not there.  New theory: I did not zip up the pannier and the lock fell out when I hit the ruts a few miles up on the trail.  The time had passed to search the trail.  True, the pannier pocket was unzipped when I returned to La Porte City but it was time to leave and head to Dave's and get some sleep.

Home sweet home!  Here it is!  Glad I decided against stopping at a LBS on the way home although I made a plan to borrow one of Mary's locks for work and stop at Fred's on the way home from work on Monday.  Sorry, Brad.

The scene of no crime.  Dave is messing around with his bike after I unlocked all three.  I placed the lock in that trailer thinking that there was a possibility that I would forget about it.  At some point I placed the lock in one of four green panniers in the photo.  It happened to be on one that was on Mary's bicycle.  Checking the bags in La Porte City as we loaded the bikes into the Honda failed to reveal the lock.  We were tired and I probably focused on my panniers exclusively.  Lesson learned.

There is a happy ending.  When Mary and I got home to Des Moines on Sunday, and we unloaded the vehicle I felt one of the pockets on her panniers and discovered that my lock had been there the entire time!  Before you laugh realize that the bags we took were all from my touring bike.  That bike stayed home but we used its panniers.  All four are a matched set.  Thus I must have placed the lock in hers by accident thinking it was mine since those bags are mine and our bikes were right next to each other.  A Fool's Ride miracle!!

Dave was not so lucky.  When we got back to his place we searched the CR-V for his coffee mug.  No joy.  It most likely fell off his bike along the trail.  He accepted his loss graciously and noted that he has four others just like the one he lost.

As always, we plan to return next April.  Hopefully this writing will encourage more friends to join us.  Also we are putting the Sloof Ride on our list.  In September it starts in Brandon and goes to La Porte City and back.  The ride is backwards, check out the spelling.  Wear your camo!