Sunday, March 6, 2016

SMNDFBR - Wide Open Spaces and Bar Stool Kinda Places


Who doesn't know what I'm talking about
Who's never left home, who's never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl's dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces

Whenever you're feeling down or trapped in your own day to day struggle, like life is just getting too stressful or complicated; jump on a bicycle and find the nearest gravel road that seems to go nowhere and just ride. Gravel roads can take you places but what they are really good at is taking you away from places just as quick, everyone needs a little less closed in spaces and a lot more wide open spaces in their lives. A chance to get out, disconnect and go offline even if it's just for a few hours, your mental faculties will thank you for it. 


Saturday was another gift from Mother Nature, only a slight breeze and temps eventually getting into the 60 degree range. Add to that a great group of people and it was a perfect day for the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride. 



We tend to take these rides pretty serious, cycling in general really, as you can see here. 


Swanson was supposed to be here for this rendition of the ride but unfortunately circumstances changed and he was unable to make it. That could account for some of the new faces, and one might argue some of the who's who of Lincoln cycling, that we had for the ride but it was nice to have them regardless and hopefully we will see them again. 


We weaved our way through Lincoln and lost a few riders as we passed Wilderness Park, the call of dry single track was just too much of an allure for them to pass up on and I can't say as I blame them, when dry Wilderness is a heck of a good time. 





The majority of us decided to stick with the route that was planned and pushed on toward the gravel that awaited us. 


I'm not really sure why but when planning routes for the ride I seem to gravitate towards heading north or east out of town so this was a route I had never ridden before but it did mirror the Gravel Worlds route a little bit just not as far west as we were then. Yankee Hill lake was looking particularly spectacular on Saturday morning, might have to start looking south and west when planning future routes, some great views and great roads out this way. 



In addition to the wonderful new scenery, we also met a few new beautiful horse and donkey friends... with one miniature thrown in for good measure because what's a barn yard party without a miniature horse. I never think about taking something along on these rides for occasions when we run into our equine friends but maybe I should throw and apple or something in the pack. Even if I don't find horses I can always eat it myself, although I'm not sure what the stranger feeding my horse policy is around here... I think it might be a hangin offense in Texas. Kind of makes my neck itchy just thinking about it. 



After a slight break and regroup with the horses it was time for us to find some food of our own so we stopped at Traditions Pub in Sprague, which also happened to be a first for me as well. They had ice cold water, beer and some really good food; good chance a lot of the southern routes might have to include this in them during the planning phase, worth coming back to. 

Photo Mar 06, 11 20 20 AM

The remaining crew, minus Kristin who took the photo, grabbing a cold one and some food. Just beat the usual crowd in as well, we weren't there very long before they got pretty busy. Always a good sign when the locals haunt an establishment, small town businesses don't have much room for error so when you find one still in business, chances are it's a good one. 


The ride home was pretty uneventful and a bit less scenic as we took a good portion of pavement to get back as it was getting late and everyone had places to be and things to do. Time sure can get away from you quickly when you're out riding and not really watching the clock but rather enjoying the scenery and the company. 


While not really an "event", I did demo the WTB Silverado saddle for the ride, the one that came on the Farley is good for shorter gravel rides, say up to about 60 miles, and for single track but as I learned on both Gravel Worlds and the Omaha Jackrabbit, the seat and my sit parts don't get along quite as well when the numbers start nearing or exceeding 100 miles. The Silverado was much more comfortable and almost seemed to disappear underneath me which is what a good saddle should do. When you're out riding endless hours of gravel the mind tends to focus on any little irritation, saddle irritation being high on the metal list of things that the brain wants to focus on needlessly. I might have to try a few more before I make the final determination but so far this one was a big improvement. If you're looking for a new saddle for your bike, Cycle Works does have the full range of WTB saddles available for demos so you can try it before you buy it. 


Speaking of trying things out, I'll try to post up an initial review here shortly on the Camelbak Skyline 10LR lumbar pack that I have been using for the last few rides. It won't be an in-depth review at this point but just a quick once over of my initial impressions and thoughts so far on the pack and a run down of some of the features I like and some I'm not quite sure about yet. After being a die hard Osprey fan for the last several years there were a few updates on the newer Camelbak packs that I found favorable but we will talk about that in the review. 

No ride next week because of the Run for the Bridges but we should be back in two weeks. Looks like it's going to be another warm and beautiful week once we get past the rain tomorrow (although that might have changed as well), get out and enjoy it. 

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