Probably the best part about being associated with a bike shop is the people, within the confines of four walls that make up Cycle Works you'll find an eclectic bunch of awesomely creative folks and some of the raddest people you'll likely ever meet. As I was unloading the Pugsley for the Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride, I noticed the new sign on the shop door that leads to the mechanics area. Superheros is an apt term for the men and women who work their magic behind this door, if you've ever watched one of them fix an issue on your bike that had you beyond stumped and frustrated in mere seconds you know that they must posses super human abilities. All they need are catchy names and costumes, Wrench Girl, Sprocket Man... well, maybe we can put a pin in that for now and circle back to it some other time.
On the menu for the SMNDFBR was 60 miles of gravel down to Hallam and Cortland in an attempt to better prepare for Gravel Worlds which is now less than two weeks away. As is always the case, had a fantastic group show up for the ride, Brent even came with his, new to him, Salsa Fargo he picked up last week. Pretty rad bike and I've always had a soft spot for that color way.
Being a centrally located shop, it's no small feat or amount of pavement that needs to be ridden to get to the good stuff but with views like these who can complain. Lincoln really is a beautiful city, even if some of the art sculptures lately makes you scratch your head... is it just me or does the sculpture in front of the Pinnacle Bank Arena look like a giant light bulb changing tool that you'd by at the Home Depot? Of course the arena itself looks like a giant bed pan to me when you're coming into town on I-180 so maybe it fits the weird steel objects theme they have going down there.
Had a pretty scalding pace to start out the ride so it wasn't too long before we found gravel and started our undertaking in earnest.
Blistering paces lead to regroups and rest breaks.
Which lead to unzipped jerseys and lots of fluid intake.
Which leads to impromptu corn stalk inspections, you can never be too careful when it comes to corn, the stalks on the outside rows might look sturdy and healthy but you really need to get a few rows in and apply a little moisture to them to know what's really going on with a field of corn. Which also might be the single best reason to always wash your corn at home before eating it off of the cob...
It could have just been the hyper-sonic pace, or early onset of dehydration but the ride seemed somewhat food themed, what goes better with an boiling pot or corn then a nice juicy steak... what do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef, bada ba bum... I'll be here all week.
A few more miles and a few more regroups and we found ourselves on the outskirts of Hallam.
It's crazy to think that it's already been 12 years since the town was almost wiped off the map by a monster tornado but folks around here have done an admirable job of rebuilding. It's got to be the newest town around that was established in 1892, not a whole lot of original is left.
It's been ages since I've been to Hallam so we decided to check to see if there was anywhere in Hallam where we could get food, water, Gatorade, etc.
As it turned out, the Hallam Steakhouse was one of the few structures that survived the tornado, I'd remember seeing it from previous trips through Hallam but I'd never stopped. Turns out the food is really good. As 'Merica gets more corporate and cookie cutter it's getting harder and harder to find these mom and pop types of restaurants with great food, personal service and great value for your money outside of small towns. Fortunately for those willing to get out of town a half hour or so there are still plenty of them left in Nebraska, if you get a chance stop in and try one because chances are they will be better than the franchise you usually stop in at.
Filled to the brim with great food it was time to hit the road before the sleepies set in and all we wanted to do was lay down and take a nap in a booth.
Seems like they must have put a little goofy sauce on the food yesterday, love this group of people but it's hard not to like someone who doesn't take themselves or life too seriously.
Just south of Hallam we found a couple of really great minimum maintenance roads, when they are dry these roads are better than gravel and way quieter when you're pushing fat bike tires.
Quick spin back on the Homestead trail and another SMNDFBR was in the books and we didn't get wet this time, so that in and of itself is a victory. Next week we had planned to do another longer gravel ride but I think everyone was in agreement that we are going to change that up to a much shorter chilled out ride and let the legs rest a bit before GW. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we will be in the Park next Saturday.
Other exciting things at the shop, the 2017 Fat Bikes are starting to roll in already. If the Farley's demand is anything like last year and you're thinking that this year is the year you're going to go fat, now is the time to get down and reserve yours. They aren't yet on the Trek site but the color ways this year are pretty awesome, the orange 9.6 is to die for IMO.
Or, if you're already a devote follower of the fat life and want to really up your game, the Farley EX 8 is a fully capable shred machine. I can't stand around and look at it for too long, weird physiologic changes start to take place as I'm looking at it and before you know it a whole flock of wood peckers start to gather around me. Who knows about those wood peckers though and why they do what they do. Just consider yourself warned though if you happen to find the same thing happening as you're standing there staring at it.