Monday I snuck over to "that other bike shop" in Lincoln to join in on their Memorial Day century ride. Not that I have anything against Joyride, or any of Lincoln's other great bike shops for that matter, Dave's good people but it's like the Coke/Pepsi or Ford/Chevy rivalry I suppose; more imagined than factual except in the sense you both sell similar items in the same market. At the end of the day though, we are all people who have a passion for two wheels, we have more in common than we have differences and we are all just a squirrel trying to get a nut... so move your butt to the dance floor? Any who, a few of the usual SMNDFBR crew decided to pop over and ride skinny tire bicycles for several hours with the folks from Joyride.
Had a decent showing of people riding anywhere from 20-100 miles depending on where you decided to turn back and head home, the route lent itself nicely to being able to be cut short if necessary as there were several options and opportunities to change course easily.
Jamie, Janelle, Ed and I had made arrangements to ride together and attempt the entire 100 miles, this would be Janelle's first century and surprisingly also the first time that I would ride a bicycle over 100 miles that didn't have 4" tires on it.
The crowds at the start quickly dispersed as people rode their own pace, some flew out of the gates and the rest at varying paces; the three of us soon settled into a pace that we felt was comfortable for the day ahead.
Compared to the last few weekends and even the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, Monday was absolutely gorgeous to start out. Clear skies, warm temps and very little wind, lots of beautiful sights to take in.
Of course there is always a smattering of the unusual or eclectic things to see on rides like these, anyone have a really big pat of butter?
Crete was the first town we rolled through, it wasn't all that far from Lincoln so we decided not to stop but keep on keeping on. American flags were the natural theme in most of the small towns we would pass through given it was Memorial Day, it's kind of a shame that this isn't done everyday.
Some how we momentarily lost Janelle, she took the highway around town and we took the arterial streets through Crete but we linked back up on the other side so all was good. Ed was full of extra energy and was up a head of us in the distance at this point in the ride.
A quick 10 miles down the road and we were in Wilber Nebraska, home of the Czech Days and some really tasty kolaches.
Also in Wilber, we found Ed and his spiffy new "old school" Salsa jersey and American Flag socks.
Naturally the day we decide to do the first century of the season, it's also the warmest day of the year so far. Temps were starting to climb already and would eventually get into the 90s, that pool looked mighty, mighty inviting after 40 miles.
Regrettably, there was no time for swimming unless of course you count sitting in a pool of your own sweat as swimming. I was glistening by this time.
Not sure if it was the 55 mile fat bike ride from the day before, the fact that all the liquids in my body were oozing out of my pores or that the sun was baking my brain under that helmet but things got a little weird with the camera angles for a bit.
If Mighty Mouse rode a bicycle it'd look a lot like this, she doesn't cast the largest shadow you'll see nor is she the swiftest person you'll ever ride with but while maybe diminutive in stature, Jamie's desire and motor are second to none. I'd be willing to bet that her parents ripped the page out of the dictionary that contained the meaning of the word quit when she was growing up.
40+ miles into your first ever 100 mile ride can be pretty intimidating, it's about this time that you start to feel a little hot, a little tired and you have no frame of reference on how much worse it's going to get or if it will get worse, it's a whole world of unknown. Janelle just kept pushing those pedals in small circles like a trooper.
Cool small cemetery outside of De Witt and more flags, cemeteries were popular places on Monday.
Not a whole lot in De Witt to stop for so we just kept on chugging through.
Just outside De Witt we ran into 8 miles of fresh chip seal. If you've never had the pleasure of chip seal it's a process where they take a thin layer of liquid asphalt and then dump a metric shit ton of gravel on top of it until it either gets ground into the asphalt or it's blown away by traffic. Not the ideal surface to ride a skinny tire bike on.
Coming out of De Witt we almost tripled our group when we stopped to help this guy across the street.
As a reinforced crew we chugged along the 8 miles of chip sealed road.
Past another patriotic cemetery and into Clatonia.
Jamie and I pulled up a piece of curb across the road from the church and had a little ad lib picnic while we waited for the rest of our original group. The rest of our previous larger group decided to continue on and so we became four riders again just like that.
It wasn't too long before the rest of the group arrived but that shady spot on the cool cement felt just a little too good and we lingered a little while longer. They guy who owned the house on the corner was super nice and allowed us to borrow his spigot to top off our bottles. About the time we started smelling the burgers he was grilling in the backyard, we knew it was time to shove off before the smell became too much to bear.
Shortly out of Clatonia was this pretty cool wind mill, seems like these original and once functional wind mills are becoming harder and harder to find.
In other news Clint Black is coming to the Cattleman's Ball... Summer's Comin, Just Like the Rain and we were just Killin Time looking at Nothing But The Taillights of the cars passing by and pedaling along.
Also came across Leather Face's house just outside of Adams Nebraska, would be a great place for a Halloween party.
If you're ever in the need of a fire hydrant, head east on hwy 41 towards Adams and look for the tractor mailbox and make him an offer. He has a few to spare.
Adams Nebraska was a little bit off the designated route but we were hoping that there would be something worth while there to make the extra distance worth it.
Turns out we weren't the only ones curious about what Adams had to offer, we were not disappointed either. That pizza and cold drinks really hit the spot.
It's pretty amazing what some real food and cold drinks will do for morale, spirits were much higher after a little break.
As good as it felt to eat pizza, drink cold drinks and hang out on the porch of the grocery store; we still had 30 plus miles to go. So reluctantly we decided after a bit that it was time to push on and finish out the ride.
More miles of open road, a short bit of rain and a much appreciated tailwind for a short time saw us to Firth.
Can't say as I've ever been into Firth but it seemed like a pretty nice small town, didn't stop as it wasn't that far from Adams... cool tow shop though.
Pretty decent hill climb out and a cool old mile marker and we were out of Firth on the way to Cortland and the final stop before Lincoln.
We weren't really planning on stopping in Cortland but after fighting a pretty good cross wind, we decided a short stop was in order.
Heading north on hwy 77 with that wind at our backs and we were on cruise control back to Lincoln, making quick work of the last 18 or so miles. Even for someone who is a bit of a beer snob, that Miller High Life that was handed to me by Dave at the end of 104 miles tasted pretty darn amazing. Janelle finished out her first century, Janelle, Ed and Jamie were awesome companions and all in all it was a pretty amazing time. Couldn't have asked for a better crew for this ride.
Lessons learned on this ride, don't do a 55 mile fat bike gravel ride the day before a road century... if you do however, do it in that order because riding a fat bike half the distance is way more tiring than riding a cross bike on 35 mm tires. I'm not sure I would have been able to do it the other way around, now I think I'm going to let the legs have some much needed rest. After riding predominately fat bikes for the last two years, the cross bike feels super light and easy to spin even up some of the hills that were more challenging previously. Not that hills are every "easy" but they seemed less painful than years past even with half dead legs.