Saturday, April 18, 2015

Just a Small Town Ride


Strangers cycling,
Sipping on some Boulevard
Their wheels spinning in the night
Streetlights, people, living just to find cold beer
Riding somewhere in the night

**To the tune of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"**

Thursday was the second installment of the Tour de Brew LNK ride, hosted by Cycle Works & Moran's Liquor Works featuring beer from Boulevard Brewing Company with all proceeds benefiting the great folks at the Lincoln Bike Kitchen. We missed the first event last month because we were preparing to leave for Minnesota to do some Fat Biking on the river bottoms, missing the first ride seems to be a pattern for us as we seem to have missed the first ride of each year it seems. Might be something we will need to change next year, these rides are such a great time it's a shame to miss them. 

New this year is a chance to win this Surly Pugsley single speed Fat Bike in  the awesome Grape Soda colorway, all it takes is buying the winning $20 raffle ticket but you better hurry because they are limiting the number of tickets to only 240. Once the tickets are all sold the bike will be raffled off, so one lucky person is going to get a really sweet $1,900 bike for only $20 and it could be you, personally I like the 1 in 240 odds.

Also new for this ride were cookies from Kitchen Sink Cookie Company and they were delicious. 


kitchen sink
We tried the Mexican Hot Chocolate (top) which is cinnamon, cayenne, chocolate and toasty mallow and the Tokyo-Whitman-Tokyo which is ginger, chocolate, miso and black sesame, if you love cookies, sweats or both, I highly recommend stopping by the Kitchen Sink Cookie Company and picking up a few. 



As is usually the case for these events, there was a really good turn out of cyclists and beer drinkers a like. 

The Lincoln Bike Kitchen was out in full force for the ride, we joined up with their group and headed off to the Railyard to search for more beer and good food. 




Pretty big group of us riding down to the Railyard, the pictures really don't do Ed's orange shirt justice that sucker was blinding bright and really messed with the exposure on the camera, lots of tweaking was necessary to get the other parts of the pictures not to look so dark. On the bright side (pun intended) Ed shouldn't have to worry about a motorist not seeing him... from the moon. 

Longwells  was having some food and drink specials so we decided to head down there to eat, we lucked out and were seated in the enclosed room at the front of the restaurant and had a fairly decent view for dinner. 

We even became "the view" for a few passersby, Gary's Fat Bike garnered a few onlookers while we were dinning. 

Just happened upon Jaime and her husband, Mark, coming out of Mellow Mushroom as we were locking up our bikes and talked them into coming in for some dessert and adult beverages. We can't forget Mary, our waitress for the evening, she was pretty awesome and handled our large group really well. 

Even managed a selfie of sorts for this ride, I don't make it into too many of the blogs... and that's probably not a bad thing. 

The Rule G burger (pulled pork, cheddar cheese, slaw and barbecue drizzle on top of a hamburger patty) was pretty messy but it was also pretty phenomenal, as was the Founders KBS, which is Founders breakfast stout aged in whiskey barrels. You got both the burger and the beer for just $15, it was a ton of food as I couldn't even manage to finish the fries but I'm guessing the heavy stout didn't help with the matter either. 

Empyrean tap rooms, game room?



Also new this year is that all of the rides end at the Empyrean Brewing Co. taproom, pretty cool space next to the brewery and Lazlo's restaurant. Even with such an abundant space we managed to fill it up quite well, I believe the total number of riders was close to 200 with around $1700 being raised for the Bike Kitchen. If these rides continue to grow I suspect even this space will one day become too small to contain all of us. 

Bring on the beer, I opted for the Carpe Brewem Belgian Dark; really loving the whole Carpe Brewem line up that they are brewing up, the mango variety being my personal favorite. 

A few of the other offerings from Empyrean. 

Mr. Kirk Bahm guarding the prizes and a few cases of the always tasty Burning Skye Scottish Ale. 

I bike Lincoln, do you?

Tickets were very patriotic for this nights ride, would they yield a payout or be a bust for me again tonight?

It wasn't too long after we got there that it was everyone's favorite time of the ride... bring on the prizes!

As the saying goes, even the sun shines on a dog's ass some days and today I was that, um... dog's ass... so to speak and won on two different tickets! I walked away with a hat, 2 stickers (one Moran's and one Cycle Works), a water bottle, bicycle tube patch kit and a discount coupon to Cycle Works. 



Once the prizes were all doled out, the crowd rapidly dissipated as well, bringing an end to another successful Tour de Brew LNK ride. 

Can't wait until May 14th when the next ride kicks off with beers from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Until then here is a chart to help refine your beer snobbishness and I say that in the nicest way possible and as one beer snob to another. Cheers. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fat Bike Friday


My current job is the first job that I have ever had that has given me Good Friday off and I have to admit that with most everyone else working I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do that day. I knew I didn't want to waste it by just sitting around and being lazy or sleeping away half of the day away before rolling out of bed at the crack of noon, only to end up laying on the couch in my boxers with a bag of Cheetos and a 2 liter of Mt. Dew lying there with orange fingers, acid reflux and broken dreams about what today could have been as I powered through episode after episode of Dexter on Netflix.

Shuddering at the mental image of ending up being THAT guy, Tyler and I planned a ride down to Lincoln for some pizza at Yia Yia's and a return trip via bicycle. Anyone who cycles and lives in either Omaha or Lincoln, or at least everyone I know, has thought about or actually done a ride between the two cities, it just makes sense with them being as close as they are to each other.

The weather naturally looked nicer a week out from Friday than it did the day before or the day of but since it was already planned we decided to ride despite the forecast of stiff winds and cooler temps than originally expected. We set out from Omaha at 7:30 in the morning to a chill in air and hopes of good times. I don't know why people let me plan the route for rides, I have an unintentional propensity to find at least one minimum maintenance road and Friday's ride was no exception.

Having discovered the limitations of the tire clearance and lack of mud shedding abilities on the Farley I am not ashamed to admit that I walked a bit of this stretch of the ride. Spending 45 minutes cleaning clay off the bike sounded like less fun than the Cheetos fest I had given up for this ride. Tyler's Mukluk made the MMR without too much trouble but it has significantly more tire clearance but it still required a little cleanup at the other end... how good was the mud, really good according to Tyler, at least I am hoping that was mud...  

The only real planning that was needed was figuring out a way to get from Omaha to the MoPac trail at Wabash/Elmwood since there is still a fairly decent section that is not finished between the two cities but once we were there it was a simple plan, follow the trail all the way into Lincoln.

So follow it we did, for miles and miles and miles, anyone who has been on the MoPac can attest that there isn't much to look at, especially in early spring so it was just churning the pedals.

The occasional change in scenery was more than welcomed, even if it was a downed tree completely covering the trail. In the land of tedium even the most minute change can be relatively exciting.

Even though there might not be much to see on the MoPac, until you start to get closer to Lincoln, the fact that it is and old railroad track ensures that there isn't much in the way of climbing, unfortunately that also means that there isn't much in the way of descending either. Just flat, in the seat, hands in the same position, mile after mile of constant pedaling, I almost would have welcomed a few rollers just for a reason to get out of the saddle and I know my "sit bones" would have appreciated it.

About 5 hours later and we had made it to Yia Yia's, where I promptly ordered an Ivan the Terrible from Big Sky Brewing and a small water. Okay, maybe it wasn't that small but I did make quick work of it, which of course meant a visit to the facilities to recycle said water.
Photo Jan 17, 2 18 19 PM

Some restroom Rembrandt had been busy with his trusty ink stick and self adhesive paper because they had turned this masterpiece from January's trip here...

...into this much more disturbing piece. Although keeping the same glasses and mustache (sans soul patch) was a nice touch. Why is it that no matter what, if you give a guy a sharpie, a bathroom wall and enough time they will always draw at least one penis?

Having pondered long enough about the possible phallic worshiping desires of bathroom artists, I decided it was time to wash up and leave the art critic to those more qualified to judge the proper penis to bosom proportions one should use when depicting such a person on a bathroom wall. As a bonus it wasn't long after I returned to our table that the pizza was up, their pizza is always good but I think after 50ish miles it tasted just a smidgen better. 

Even Tyler had managed to regain his appetite after his earlier fork-o-mud by the time we go to Yia Yia's, although in this picture it kind of looks like he could be the poster boy for the old "Gag Me With A Spoon" phrase from the 1980s.

After downing pizza and beer and then visiting all the great folks at Cycle Works for some much needed PSI in the tires (11 PSI is not ideal for long limestone/gravel rides, even on a fat bike) it was time for the slog back home. Stopped at the Elmwood Co-Op to replenish the food and drink supplies we had used up on the ride down as it's the last stop on the MoPac when you're heading east.

Lived off of Haribo gummy bears, beef jerky, Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds and Black Forest gummy cherries almost the entire day. It's amazing what a few hours on a bike will do to help you notice things you normally wouldn't notice, for example, I never noticed that gummy cherries look an awful lot like the rubber bull testicles people like to hang from their rear bumpers. Luckily they taste nothing like them, don't get me wrong, I like my rocky mountain oysters but they just don't sound that appetizing while riding a century.

As I was deep in thought, contemplating the similarities and differences between real bull testicles and cherry gummies I ran over this dude. It might not be in the sharpest of focus but I think you can still appreciate the pointiness, length and tube piercing qualities of the thorn.

Surprisingly changing out the tube and pumping it back up with just a hand pump I had in the pack wasn't as time consuming or laborious as I had expected and a short while later we were rolling again. As the day went on the weather became less windy and the roads we had struggled through earlier in the day due to mud were dry and ridable, the bike gods were having mercy on us.



By the time we made it back to the Lied bridge the sun was getting low on the horizon, soon we would be riding in the dark but we were also close to the end.

Being on the home stretch was good, my butt was sore and tired of riding... and I think Tyler was getting a bit delusional.


The last bit of light put on quite a show before going every so softly into the night. Cloaked in darkness we made our way through Springfield and back into Omaha, all told I had 113 miles and 10 hours of moving time on the Garmin... Tyler only managed 112, figures the dude would come up with a way to sandbag it, not sure whose was more accurate but I'm going with mine even if it is only one more mile, I earned everyone of them that day.
It was a day of a few firsts for me, longest ride on the Farley since getting it in December, first century, longest ride every actually and first time riding the Omaha-Lincoln-Omaha route. I'll probably do the route again in some form, maybe a one way with a car bail out, maybe out and back again on a nicer day or some combination of the two but the next time I ride it I will make sure I don't have another ride scheduled for the very next morning. The SMNDFBR kicked my butt and cooked my already done legs.