Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rain Chasing, Might As Well Make It A Century

The stairway to heaven, Yale, Iowa.

Seems like it rained all week but somehow I was able to mow the lawn and ride the short distance to work everyday and even venture into downtown on Friday.  Usually we are more organized for weekend rides.  Mary gave a list of places to avoid do to construction and organized rides and walks/runs.  Joe sent a text with a photo of a new bike that needed a test run before we leave for the 523 mile ride along the Missouri River in South Dakota.  I suggested that we meet on the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Dallas Center (the Waukee trailhead parking was listed as closed for construction) and ride to Jefferson.  Take a right turn at Cooper and then a left on P30 to hook up with Jefferson.  The forecasted rain was to appear southeast of our destination.  Everyone agreed.

Joe's new ride.  His other one belongs to his daughter and has a noisy BB.

Late start at home meant no breakfast and Joe was punctual being right behind our vehicle on the Hickman Rd exit.  The sky was dark north of us but radar showed nothing.  Despite the message that the Waukee Trailhead was closed, it was open and full of vehicles so we parked there and rode from Waukee.  Just a quick 6 miles to the Casey's in Dallas Center to choke down some food and fluids before proceeding toward the dark skies up north.  Had I not put on sunscreen it would have been sunny.  I also used this ride to test out contact lenses and non-prescription sunglasses.  Vision was clear and I could read my bike's computer but damn it all to hell that all of us had trouble reading the 50/34 on the crank of Joe's new bike.  I managed.  What a drag it is getting old!

Love the old grinder next to this espresso machine.

Great drawing inside the coffee shop.  I wish I could have moved the tables and trash receptacles before I snapped this shot but that is not my realm.  3D!

Bike art outside the Perry Perk

The trail was dry and not busy.  We had a tailwind and stopped at the Perry Perk for espresso.  Need to get there before 1 pm!  We had hours to spare.  Jamaica would be our food stop.  Just One More sells a cheeseburger for $5.  Then off to Herndon, kybos still gone from the parking lot, and the right turn on the "rough" portion of the trail.  I imagine this section of trail, Yale to the Switch will be surfaced as soon as the bridge over the Raccoon River outside Jefferson is fully repaired.  Just only so much money for trail work.  Such a shame that it cannot be done at the same time that the bridge is closed.  After regrouping at Cooper it was decided to avoid my detour route and just head to the bridge for a look.  It was here that I suggested that we could have 100 miles for the day with a few extra miles of padding.
A promising sky north of Cooper and debris on my camera's lens.  The red, white and black pillar theme is even in Cooper.

End of the road.

I felt quite American.

Along the way we could see that it was raining north of us.  By the time we arrived at Winkleman Switch the trail was wet.  The descent into the river valley was also quite wet and I viewed this as an opportunity to test the Domane's tires wet surface handling although I restrained myself from going full speed.  The bridge was still closed.  Construction was apparent.  A crane was parked on a spot northwest of the bridge.  Steel girders had replaced the original wooden ones.  Being the good citizens we are, we did not climb over the barrier to investigate the project. Bridge COULD Reopen in July 2021

After ascent from the valley we now faced a headwind that lasted until we reached Redfield or 32 miles.  Good for training.  Use those drops!  We may have passed 5 pairs of cyclist heading north.  Yale would be the next stop with its water and restrooms.  A horse show was scheduled to begin in a few hours and two women with a golf cart pulled up to clean the restrooms.  Service!  We did not go to the bar or store.  Time was becoming as issue for Joe.  He promised his wife that he would be home by 7 pm.

But it was not always miserable fighting the headwind.  The purple haze of Phlox Wild Sweet William flowers along the sides of the trail provided a cheerful hue to an otherwise green and brown landscape covered with a dark gray sky.  This was mostly along the northern sections of the trail.  Once we reached Redfield these flowers were scarce.

The distraction of the flowers gave way to parting of ways.  Joe had to take a shortcut back to Waukee.  In Linden he took county highway F51 all the way to Adel before rejoining the trail.  It saved him a mile, tops, but lots of time because there was nowhere to stop.  We shook hands and said farewell and noted that another rain squall was getting close.  I thought we could outrun it.  We outrode the cloud but a strong wind from the west carried the rain to our location now 2 miles south of Linden but we had canopy to protect us.  5 minutes of rain and we were wet.  It was here where Mary's allergies hit hard.  She suffered overactive defensive reactions that plagued the rest of the ride.  Breathing is important during cycling.  A headache soon followed.  Taking a break at Ortonville I offered her some tissue but grabbed the Casey's napkins from my left jersey pocket.  Miraculously, they were dry.

The final 10 miles.  3.5 miles to the Waukee Trailhead but that would leave us 7 miles shy of the century mark.  So...ride another 3.5 miles toward Dallas Center then turn back.  We were not going to let another triple digit ride slip away when it was within reach.  For good measure we stopped at Kinship Brewing Co before returning to our vehicle.  All I am going to say about this place is that the beer is good but everyone from Waukee that owns a dog or a bicycle or both and little kids is at this place every night, afternoon, evening and weekend.  There are plenty of bike racks but they were 4/5ths full.  People standing all over the place unaware of people trying to get inside.  We managed to get seats at the bar.  Honestly, despite this great location and good beer, I would have preferred to have ridden across Hickman and had a cold one at Kenny's Garage.

Most likely the last time I get the third digit until Friday June 11, 2021, when we ride from Platte to Tyndall, South Dakota (97 official miles but I will get the missing 3).

Monday, May 17, 2021

Polk City Mile Long Bridge and an Old Friend: Sunday Riding

Limited riding time weekend because I had to work and much needed rain fell upon our fair region.  Sunday was it.  Mary's call for the route.  We headed north for a change.  First time this year.  Target For the Day: Polk City.  Our trusty steeds would be our roadies that we are taking across South Dakota next month.

As usual for what seems like 5 or 6 years, we skip the Neal Smith Trail with its rough surface and endless detours of construction.  Just head north from Birdland Park, going to be one of the few options when construction begins there soon, and ride through Saylorville and eventually arrive in Ankeny.  Get off the roads and ride the sidepath along Irvinedale Drive until we reach the High Trestle Trail.  I do admit I was tempted to stop at Ziggi's Coffee near the HTT but we'll save that for another ride.  Tailwind all the way from the very start to the Oasis where we turned toward Polk City.

The High Riser Hefe Hefeweizen and the Whimcycle Raspberry Wheat.  I had the former and Mary had the latter.  I love a good Hefe and this one did not disappoint.  I wish we could have stayed for more.

Commie Jersey Sunday

We were well behaved at Fender's Brewery.  That was hard since we only get up here a handful of times every year.  Still sated from breakfast we did not order a pizza from Papa's Pizzeria next door as we usually do.  Time was now of the essence.  According to our weather aps and watching the news, 2 pm would be the time that the rain would hit.  I really did not want our new bikes melt.  We were 21 miles from home and it was noon.  The sky north of us was cloudy but that is not where the rain was to come from.  Just as dark from the south.  Check radar again.  It may dissipate before we get home.  Then Mary had a suggestion: ride across Mile Long Bridge and go home through Johnston.  We had not crossed that bridge in years.  Why not?

We pulled off the road to finalize the decision to ride the mile across the bridge.  the white line made the choice for me.  Damn these cars, full speed ahead!

One thing to point out right now is that we got a late start.  Normally we would have been on the road by 8 am at the latest.  Today I was the Lector at church (sinful me read two readings from the Bible for the parishioners attending Mass at 8 am) and thus we probably did not get on the road until almost 10 am.  Our normally peaceful road (NW 6th Dr or R56) through Saylorville was full of vehicles departing or going to church services. Even Sonny's Pizza Bistro was busy!  We are normally so early that place is NEVER open.  Honestly, I have never seen a car there.  One of these days we will visit.  Back to Mile Long Bridge, just as everyone in Saylorville was driving everyone in Polk City was driving and thus the traffic on the bridge was a bit heavy for the faint of heart.  Nothing terrible but people were out and about.  There is a white line providing about 18" of "bike lane" which worked for us.  Mild debris to avoid.  The wind seemed to die down for us to prevent us from getting blown off the bridge and no one honked or yelled at us and we made it across without incident.  First right onto NW Beaver Dr.

The A-7 Corsair II which was flown by the Iowa National Guard.

There is a "protected" sidepath on this road a few miles into it although any car at the right speed or basic SUV/truck could hop over the concrete and hit us.  Traffic was much lighter than the previous roads and think maybe 4 vehicles passed us before we reached the sidepath.  Conversation?  There was some.  "What is the name of the bar across from Hyperion?"  Nautical theme.  The Boat House.  We did not stop.

Once displaced in Merle Hay Mall for decades this statue spent the last 20 years in someone's backyard.  Anyone who visited the mall saw this.  It seemed much larger in the mall perhaps because it was set higher than the walking shoppers.

Rear view

Nice detail on the hubcaps.

Interesting bike racks.

We were going to blow through Johnston without stopping until Mary brought up the statue of the tricyclist, titled 'Updown' from Merle Hay Mall that had recently been placed on display in this town.  This was an icon from the mall's glory days and anyone who had visited that shopping place had seen it from the 70s until about 20 years ago.  We stopped at the Kum & Go for restrooms and Gatorade and to inquiry about Updown.  Nobody knew.  A quick internet search found the article of its relocation and we were off the find it.  Read more about the statue.

Traffic Calming Measure at this trail/street intersection.  Pinchpoint narrows the lanes and slows vehicular traffic and the median strip prevents cars from changing lanes.

From there it was an easy trip home.  Despite the vanguard of the rain in the form of very fine sprinkles, we rolled through Riverview Park to look at the renovations.  Also stopped in the East Village to look for a vegetable to photograph for Ride & Seek.

Found corn! Of note is the fact that my second Gatorade is mostly full.  I did not touch my water bottle at all.

Got home dry and then we rested a bit before seeking food.  44 miles ridden and 6 hours since we ate anything.  Changed clothes and noticed that the rain finally hit.  An hour later than predicted.  We drove. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Headwind, Hills, Speed and a Century

The mural in Mingo.  Must be new.

The first full week of June will find us riding from North Dakota to Nebraska following the Missouri River and crossing all four locks along the way.  In order to enjoy ourselves we must suffer at home to get in shape.  There is also the need to test and break in my new road bike to see if it will do for a week long ride.  It was a long winter and a cold windy spring.  My commute to work is virtually nonexistent so my weekends are sufferfests.  Usually it is very windy and cold.

The training plan is simple.  Build up base miles then attack hills.  Most importantly, train with someone that is better than you and will hurt you.  Living in Central Iowa provides plenty of opportunity for base miles with its assortment of paved trails.  Warren County provides the hills.

Our three bikes.  Left to right: Joe's Specialized, Mary's Liv Avail and my Trek Domane.

Looping the Raccoon River Valley Trail

Mary and I in Jamaica, Iowa.

On April 11 we met Joe Hildreth, founding member of Mary's Heroes, at the Raccoon River Valley Trailhead in Waukee and knocked out 70 miles.  We headed to Redfield first to avoid as much of the headwind as possible and to enjoy the tailwind from Perry to Waukee.  After the climb out of Redfield the wind hit us dead on.  Nothing to do but make forward progress. Eventually the turn for Jamaica appeared and we had a better wind.  We stopped in that town at Just One More for a $5 burger and a beer or two before continuing to Perry and the much needed full tailwind home.  19 miles of bliss from Perry to Waukee that day.  Good to serious saddle time.

The Hills are Alive in Warren County

Scored a GeoCouch on this ride.  My 104th.  I did pass one up 14 miles earlier in Carlisle this day.  The truly funny thing is that I scored one here before a few years back.  Forgot all about it until Randy, the GeoCouch King, mentioned it when he added this one to the map.

The next weekend we headed south into Warren County.  It was a 55 miler basically starting at Mullets and going through Avon Lake, Carlisle, Indianola and then taking county roads to Norwalk and eventually intercepting the Great Western Trail at Microsoft campus for a trail ride to home.  Got a few hills in which is necessary.  I would like to say that the GWT had the worst surface that we rode on.  Very noticeable from the moment we got off the road.

Ragbrai Road Show on the Sauk Rail Trail and 80 miles with the Chichaqua Valley Nature Trail

Spotted along the Sauk Rail Trail.  Stacy Bellcock said they do this every year.

The past and the future in one photo along the Sauk Rail Trail.

Maple River's dive bar.  AKA The Critter Bar with its assortment of taxidermy.  We found Craig holding court inside as everyone else headed to Breda.  Sauk Rail Trail

Craig and Kim almost made it to Breda.  Smiles not miles! We left them here talking to the property owner/farmer who was in his 80s and still working. 

Mary and I in cold weather gear on the Sauk Rail Trail.  I think I picked up a tick here.

A week later we were on a party ride on the Sauk Rail Trail.  The Ragbrai Road Show.  To ensure that we got miles in we started in Lake View and rocketed to Carroll with a 20 mph tailwind.  Mary commented that she could go on and on for a few more hours with this wind.  The devil to pay when we turned around but it was a nice ride from Lake View to Carroll.  Craig and Kim hosted a pre-event breakfast at the Airbnb they acquired.  After hitting the bar and brewery Mary and I decided to continue south and ride around Swan Lake, the only section of this beautiful trail we had never visited.  We caught up with the others in Maple River.  Good training riding into the wind.  Find a good position and pedal through it.  This is why I like drop bars.  Lower your profile.  Drop bars save lives!  Eventually we made it Breda and encountered our friends who also started in Lake View but would not be heading further south.  57 miles.  Instead of spending the night we drove back to Des Moines for another early ride.  The need for back to back high mileage days was greater than the need to get drunk.

Could have been the wind...Altoona, Iowa.  It was upright when we returned.

Someone got Flocked in Baxter!

The next day we rode with Joe to Baxter and back in some of the most vicious wind that could be tolerated on a bicycle.  It was from the south.  The Chichaqua Valley Nature Trail offers a modicum of protection form north and south winds but getting there or leaving there from Des Moines can be tough.  Bondurant to Altoona was the worst heading home.  I believe all three of us were blown off the road at least once.  We laughed, of course.  Crossing the bridge over I-80 was another laugh.  The side of the bridge was maybe 2.5 feet tall.  One sudden gust of wind from the left could have pushed us off the bridge.  Of course that is where the wind was coming from.  None of fell to our deaths on the interstate.  80 miles.

Places of note on this trail that we visited or tried to visit...

    Bondurant: Somewhere In The Middle coffee shop.  Excellent brew and espresso.  

    Baxter: Kountry Korner gas station.  Great pizza and subs plus Gatorade or whatever liquid you             require to rehydrate with.

    Mingo: The Greencastle Tavern.  Closed on the Sunday we rolled through

    Altoona: Old Town Tap.  Lots of room in back and a dog named Harley that hiked a leg on the darts         machine.  I wonder if there is a bar in Japan with a dog named Suzuki or Honda?

Return of the fast triple

Thus far the LeMond's only ride of the year.  The P-51 Mustang is painted to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. 

Same ride.  USAF F-16 on loan from the USAF Museum in the livery of the 132nd that flew these from Des Moines.  Unfortunately, the wing was replaced by USAF drone training center.

The next day I took my old carbon roadie out for a 25 miler.  2007  LeMond Versailles with a mix of Ultegra and 105 triple groupo, Campagnola Sirocco wheels with Vittoria 700x25 tires.  Just wanted to do a comparison between the bikes.  This would be that bike's first ride in 2021.  I always felt that the LeMond is a faster bike and better climber.  It is lighter bike especially in back where it does not have the Domane's HEAVY monster cassette.  I often call the Versailles my Century Machine because it is a comfortable bike and a good choice for 100+ rides.  

So the latest trend in the past 13 years was the elimination of triples on road bikes.  "They shift poorly."  "Just put a monster cassette on back and you'll have enough gear to make it up mountains."  True, the front derailleur on a triple shift crappily.  But I always thought that was the price to pay for saving my lungs, legs and knees.  Even the shift from middle to big ring and back down was never smooth.  Two flicks of the wrist.  But this never bothered me because I could climb the steepest of the steep with that 30T granny gear. 

The first part of the 25ver I noticed that the LeMond lacked the ISO Speed suspension system.  It was like riding on rails.  Felt faster but then the feedback of the road and trails were transmitted clearly to my body, most noticeably to my feet.  Straight from the tires and wheels through the pedals to my feet.  Guess it is true about the Domane being better on rough surfaces.

Secondly I began to understand the advantage of doubles with monster cassettes.  When climbing hills like any rational human being when speed starts to bleed away a flick of the right wrist to move the chain to a bigger cog in back to maintain RPM.  The Versailles has 10 in back.  Lots of shifting.  But there are times that I have ran out of gears in back and this calls for a downshift for the front and then the necessary upshifts in back to return to the appropriate cadence.  As a result there is a loss of speed and loss of rhythm.  Thinking about it, if I am going to need to use the 30T I should swallow my pride and downshift to it EARLIER before running out of cogs in back.  With the Domane's set up just work the back and only adjust the front derailleur to prevent the chain from rubbing against it.  The weight penalty is negated.  Less work and smoother climb. Now if there was a cassette with the same size cogs with half the weight...

The Century Test

Old map of the area our century ride took place.

Here are the routes for the 80 and 100 miler.  Reminds me of the dead dragon on Atari's Adventure game.

Humans are superstitious about numbers and assign significance to them. 7 is lucky.  13 unlucky.  10 is perfect.  12 is called a dozen.  26.2 is an amazing feat of legs and feet.  420 makes stoners giggle.  666 is a warning.  100 miles is mind boggling for those who never had a bicycle saddle planted up their arse several or more hours.  But for some of us, 100 miles is a great test of our abilities.

On a beautiful Sunday morning in May we put it all on the line.  Filled our bottles and left and jackets and long pants at home.  No gloves or ear warmers either.  Kinda felt like we were naked since for all our previous rides required warmth layers, tights and long sleeves or jackets.  In 2019 we learned how to ride at 50*F despite dressing for 80*F.  Those layers become useless cargo in an hour.  Rule of 3--3 hours without heat...

Mary and I met Joe at the park in Cumming at 8 am.  Mary and left our house at 7 am.  The three of continued to Martensdale, the end of the GWT.  Refueled at the Jiffy Xpress gas station (the Gatorade cooler is along the wall by the door).  Then the 4 miles or so to St Mary's.  The first mile of R45 is flat.  Mother Nature was kind enough to supply us with a 20 mph headwind to keep us cool.  No momentum to start the first of 3 climbs.  Work that cassette until the summit is reach.  Big ring for a moment and move the chain out in back for the taste of a downhill.  Start climbing again and drop into the 34T chainring and start moving the rear of the chain inward.  Repeat and Regroup.  PRO TIP: there are kybos at the ballpark west of the church in St Marys.

New Virginia, Iowa

8 miles to New Virginia.  This section contains some of the best hills in Iowa, namely Pfeiffer Hill.  Back in 1991 on my first Ragbrai I spent what felt like 20 minutes climbing this bastard on a Trek 7000 MTB with slicks chatting with Heather Wince.  The next year Mary I got the extreme pleasure diving bombing said hill on our Gary Fisher Gemini tandem at 50+ mph!  We repeated that once more and IIRC (Cynthia IIRC = If I Remember Correctly) 50.3 mph is our speed record.  CrazY?  No, that bike is SMOOTH as a fine Cadillac or fine European luxury sedan at those speeds.  Just let the speed bleed a bit before crossing the bridge.  As for climbing it we noted that the hill has lacked some of its luster.  There was a time that Mary and I were on the Cannondale tandem pulling a Burley trailer and I asked her if we had past that hill yet.  We had.  Today  Mary reached the top with one cog to spare and I shameless got there with no gears to spare but I was not hurting, just slow.  I would have been in granny on the LeMond or wishing that my 1994 Trek 2200 was lighter and had more gears.  That goal reached I knew that the Domane could get me up any hill even at 5 mph.  A few miles later we regrouped in New Virginia.

Lots of nice homes here but not much in the way of the needs of cyclists these days.  The gas station is still closed and for sale.  The store closed a decade or so ago.  The tavern has been closed for years. There is a cafĂ© but it is only open Wednesday through Friday from 11am to 6pm.  There is a Kum & Go 3 miles west of town but that road turns to gravel afterwards.  However, there is nice park with a large shelter.  We rested and discussed our next move. 

Option 1: turn around here and go back and enjoy the tailwind and hit a speed record on Pfeiffer Hill but only get 72 miles for the day, less for Joe since he started in Cumming.

Option 2: continue south, cut over on Highway 69 for a mile or so and then turn on R35 (Truro  Paved Road) and head north to Truro, Winterset and Cumming.  Tailwind included. Joe's idea


We chose the latter, speed record to be attempted at a later date.  The desire for the Century outweighed that downhill on real estate we already purchased.  Looking at Google Maps it made sense.  traffic would pick up on Highway 69 but we would not be on that road for long.  What I failed to see was that this would be a 23 mile ride before we reached Truro and its convenience store for victuals.  36 miles into this I had most of one bottle, and empty bottle and 2 energy bars.  It was getting hot and I failed to wear a sweatband on my head or apply sunscreen.  Our hottest ride of the season with sweat getting into my eyes and an annoying bead of sweat going left to right and right to left and left to right on my helmet but in view of my eyes like that red light of the Cylons just out of reach of my fingers.  INTO THE BREACH ONCE MORE!!!

Marker at the Highway 69 intersection.

A comment about county road R45.  It is a nice road to bike on.  For its age it is in stellar shape.  One can determine it is an old road by the rusted iron chunks that have oxidized away.  No major holes or cracks the entire way.  Traffic was light and the only vehicle that did not give us much room was a tricycle motorcycle ridden by a fat dude and his fat arsed bitch on back.  We saw a quintessential American scene, a group of horses running with their colts along the pasture next to the road.  Does not get more American or Mongolian than that IMHO.

As far south as we got.

Highway 69 was a bit busier than any road we'd had been on or would see.  Of  note was a red Chevy S10 with all sorts of plastic body modifications driven by a woman.  We saw her twice.  Good looking truck and it reminded me of The Eagle's Take It Easy.  But we had the wind fighting us.  Eventually we reached the turn at Osceola and got off the highway and after a few miles we crossed I-35 and found ourselves on 151 Truro Paved Road.  Joe said put it in big ring and that was the last that we saw him until Truro was reached.

We eventually got a tailwind.  The road was now named Wild Rose Rd.  Looks like a gravel road on the satellite view on Google Maps but it was asphalt.  A sign said PAVEMENT ENDS and more said ROUGH SURFACE but it was a better bicycling surface than the Great Western Trail.  Remember that sweat bead going back and forth on my helmet?  On the this downhill it went SPLAT on my right lens of my sunglasses!  What I thought was Truro was at a bottom of the hill and glancing at my computer I saw it reading 39.5 mph!  Damn, I miss breaking 40 mph but then I realized that the Domane was feeling and handling great at this speed.  Once the hill ended a scroll through the bike's computer revealed that I reached 40.3 mph.  I was happy but that happiness ended when I climbed up the other side and realized that the town was not there.  Damnit Joe, where the fook is this town?  This is one of his routes, his turf.  Eventually...Funny thing we saw was a house that looked like many remodeling projects were started and there was a concrete pad with a sun faded kids Oscar Meyer Weinermobile on it.

Interstate 35 High School.  My view from where I sat outside the Shop  & Save.

Out of water, a desire to wash my face, hard time chewing a Slim Jim beef stick and some blueberry highly processed muffins and chugging down a Gatorade and wondering what to do with the extra bottle of water I purchased not knowing that Mary had also bought a bottle, we sat outside the Shop & Go looking at all the locals who kept their SUVs and trucks running (for the a/c I imagine) and did not wear masks (speaking of which we did not consider putting ours on as we walked like zombies, vaxxed and ready we are) and the famous I-35 High School while recuperating. I did the math, it was a 23 mile stretch.  It was also decision time.  Skip Winterset and the hills to Cumming when we reach St Charles, return to St Marys and use the tailwind for the rest of the trip.  We should have 100 miles by the time we reach home.  All agreed.  Winterset would add even more miles and was not a necessary stop.

Life is better with a tailwind!  The road to St Charles was fun and fast and offered another 40 mph+ downhill (sadly I hit 39.5mph here).  We skipped the Casey's although I was searching for a bandana at the Shop & Go.  The four miles from St Marys to Martensdale felt like it took 5 minutes!  That jet stream's push up and down those hills was awesome!  Back at the Jiffy Xpress, same woman working the the counter, made us a Godfather's pizza with we enjoyed at the trailhead with a 6 pack of Bud Light.

Interesting conversation with another cyclist

If only...

An older man on a Trek aluminum road bike stopped at the shelter to rest and talk.  I would print his name but I wish to protect and respect his privacy (not that he asked and not that the 10s of people reading this would make a fuss but if you want to know ask me in person) He was with the Iowa DNR when the Great Western Trail was built.  Apparently, the IDRN had the rights to the railbed  all the way to St Joseph, Missouri! How many times have I spoke to friends about how cool it would be if the GWT went to Kansas City?  How many of the KC mile markers on how many trails have we seen in the past.  And now we learn that this was almost a reality.  According to him, Madison County was the reason that this never came to be.  Property rights, maintenance concerns, bridges ect...shortsighted twunts in the 1980s.  If it happened today the pro-trail side would fight it out and buy them out.  But back in the day we lacked the power and cashola.  As a result of this battle, legislation was introduced and passed that prevents the State of Iowa from buying land for trails.  Insert image of Charlton Heston on his knees at the collapsed Statue of Liberty from Planet of the Apes.  I am so upset that I wish I never learned this!  Think about how great this would have been not just for cyclists Iowans but also for those in Missouri.  I truly think this would have spurred that State to do more for trails other than the Katy Trail.

Completing the Century

Victuals in Martensdale.

After refueling, basically the only meal we ate on this ride, we rode another 8 miles to Donnie's house.  Not only a founding member of Mary's Heroes but Joe's brother.  Two beer stop.  Donnie cancelled RASDak because of a long winter off bike, back issues and possible a near death experience on gravel which killed his desire to commute to work via bicycle.  Their brother Sam was there as well and he says he plans to get back on his bike after and incident of Ragbrai, on route BTW, nearly destroyed his ankle and left him walking with a limp and denied him of his favorite activity, backpacking.

After our good byes it was time to ride the remaining 15 16 17 miles home.  This would be the only time I truly shine on such rides.  When we reach Water Works park no matter how long I have been on the bike the hidden Speed Reserve which I can never tap when I truly need opens up and I ride fast and probably like an arseluetcher through the crowded trail leading to Mullets.  But, damnit, I deserve this!  Selfish I know but it is home turf and I got the rhythm and power.  My bike and this speed at this point of the ride is my Emotional Support Animal.  I did not kill anyone or run anyone of the trail despite two inline skaters skating side by side as I passed a roadie.  Sorry, not sorry.

End This Post

I had to go an extra block to get this.

The lack of a triple does not hinder road bikes IF one is in shape.  The Domane is truly and endurance machine despite the weight penalty.  100 miles, 100+ smiles.  It is sunblock season.  Sweatbands too!  We are ready to ride across South Dakota.