Tuesday, July 16, 2019

It's Like a Sauna in Here






If you haven't seen it yet you almost certainly have been not paying attention or living under a rock. The shop has a cutout where you can get your picture taken wearing the maillot jaune from the Tour de France but more than a cute photo op it's also to promote Trek's current promotion, what promotion you ask? Well here are the deets:

Visit a participating Trek location between July 5 and July 27, save your receipt, and watch the Tour de France, La Course, and Giro Rosa. If a Trek-Segafredo rider podiums the day after your purchase, you have until store close on July 31 to bring back your receipt and collect your prize.

You'll get:

$100 in-store credit for a stage win
$50 in-store credit for second place

$25 in-store credit for third place

Pictures of you wearing the yellow jersey however are totally free so everyone is a winner really. 


So back to the SMNDFBR and our regularly scheduled programming. Gary is down for the count currently due to an ill timed step on a very pointy nail but he did bring donuts for the ride, which were much appreciated and very tasty.




Saturday was pretty sweltering so it was nice to have a pretty decent sized group come out for the ride, truth be told sweltering looks like it's going to be in the forecast for at least the foreseeable future. If you're an outdoors person in Nebraska though, you just kind of learn to roll with the hots and the colds, the winds and the rains because if you wait for "nice weather" you'll only get out about 4 days a year because that is about our quota for good weather days in the Cornhusker State.




The plan for Saturday was to head out west and north of Lincoln to the tiny village of Kramer Nebraska and a stop at the Kramer Bar & Grill. We've been there once before but not since March of last year so we were due.



One of the things I loved about the Kramer ride in March was a sweet section of MMR that we passed through to get there, so of course it was on the route again for Saturday.



Unfortunately it looks like the minimum maintenance has turned into no maintenance and the road is being allowed to turn back into prairie land so we will have to find an alternate route when we head out there next time.


The huddled masses enjoying the AC while waiting for food, I think we tripled their occupancy but the food was good and it was quick, not much more you can ask for.


Leaving out of Kramer it seemed like it was going to be smooth sailing, complete with fresh blacktop.



Unfortunately Doug hit something and caused a bit of a blowout, no amount of Orange Seal was going to fix that one. We did try a tube and a boot and it worked for a little bit but eventually it suffered the same fate.


We found a nice shady spot for Todd to adjust his saddle and hatched a plan for most of us to head to Doug's house that wasn't too far and get a vehicle to come back and get him.




We flew to the house and then waited for Doug to be rescued so he could pick up another bike and we could finish out the ride. And some people ask why you need more than one bike, well for this reason for one.



A few miles down the Homestead, a stop at the CVO bench and another SMNDFBR was in the books. No ride this Saturday because of the Bohemian Sto Mil but fear not we will be back soon.

Friday, July 12, 2019

A Little George Strait 1982


I don't make it down to Lincoln for Pub Pedalers quite as often as I'd like to, moving to and working on the north side of Omaha hasn't helped in that regard much either. But when the said it was going to be on gravel and in an easily accessed starting point from the Interstate it seemed like a no brainer and one I could make without being too fashionably late.


Getting there a bit later than most of the Lincolnites I was treated to this unusual parking method for bicycles, I guess when businesses don't provide any spaces for parking you have to get a bit creative.





Gravel was in great shape and the night was absolutely perfect for taking the back road. I know we've done a gravel version of Pub Pedalers before but didn't realize it's been almost a year since that happened or at least the one I was able to make if there was more than one in that time frame. August of last year was the last one I can remember. Corn has really shot up over the last month too, I was in a conversation not too long ago about the sad state of corn and whether the corn would be ready in time for detasseling. Thanks to better corn through chemistry, it looks like things will go on as planned after all.


Usually the gravel is a calmer place with more courteous drivers but Thursday was the exception, this guy here whizzed past us driving with one wheel in the ditch so he could pass us on the left for some reason and then swerved over to the right to pass the next group faster than was necessary.


Top honors however went to this guy who passed Todd and Isabel a little too close and then stopped Joe and Katie to explain who has the right to be on a gravel road according to Mr. Twatwaffle. I guess I just don't get if it is complete ignorance of the laws in Nebraska or just a complete disregard for the laws in Nebraska but either way it amazes me how many people think their opinion matters more and are thus obligated to freely give it out unsolicited while being so far in the wrong that it's almost laughable.


Of course this meant that law enforcement was called to report the incident, to her credit she seemed genuinely concerned about what had happened and didn't just brush it off. Since plates were obtained, not shared here, I'm sure Mr. Twatwaffle got a visit a bit later on... not that it probably did any good.


It happened right over there officer... by Raffet's house (inside joke)... two out of three seem to agree on east.


Sitting on a bridge is thirsty work, good think Gary had the barley pops in a trailer.


Excitement hopefully done for the evening, I parted ways with the group for a few more miles of gravel while they headed back for food.


Headed out on Bluff Rd in hopes that maybe it would be opened again but it was still closed, been that way now for over a year. Flooding last year and again this year has really taken a toll on aging infrastructure, not sure what the fate of this little bridge is but I sure hope they eventually find the time and money to replace it. Skirted around the barrier and continued on, road closed is mostly a suggesting to a gravel rider; actually some of the best roads I've ridden have been on the other side of one of these signs. Unsafe for cars is not always the same as impassible, often in fact it's not.


Most people who have never been to Nebraska or have only ever driven through often wonder why anyone would want to live here. It's a fair question, especially if all you've ever seen of Nebraska is what is on TV or what you can see from the interstate but Nebraska has a unique beauty all it's own, you just have to know where to find it. Sitting on the top of this gravel hill, listening to the insects chirping and not much else while looking back at the sunset it wasn't hard to see the beauty that is Nebraska. While I was born in Montana I have lived in a bunch of very large cities, Denver, Greater LA area, Memphis and Seattle to name a few, and they have their draw for a lot of people but to me that is the problem also; a lot of people. Plenty of open space and serenity for the soul out on a long and lonesome gravel road...

My apologies to Bob Seger for ruining his song but the inspiration bug bit me so I broke that peace and quiet with my poor crooning skills. Despite a few asshats it really was a great night to be out on two wheels.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Fajitas 50



Saturday it was back to business as usual for the Saturday Morning Ride, Sarah has been kind enough to lead a few of them while I've had things going on but it was good to be back for sure. Always a fun ride with a good group of folks. Saturday's plan was to head out to the Quonset Bar and Grill in Elmwood where Fajitas got his nickname a little over a year ago, he has been coming back for the ride ever since. Well, except for this ride... in his honor.



Despite the rain overnight, most of the gravel roads out to Elmwood were in really good shape and judging by the quick pace, rolling fast as well.


Not sure if it's related to the flooding, the uptick in humidity or the more normal hot temps this year but the amount of butterflies out on the gravel is pretty remarkable. If you look closely at the picture above, all of those black "specks" are actually butterflies coming up off the road as we get near them. Dozens of them fluttering around us as we ride in some spots, it's almost surreal and as Sarah put it; it has the effect of making you feel like a Disney Princess at times. Zippity Do Dah indeed!




The closer we got to Elmwood, the less cloud cover there was and it started to get pretty steamy. Not ghastly hot like it was last weekend but hot enough to make you sweat off a few pounds, regrouping in the shade was the plan of the day.


Had a lovely conversation with this mamma cow and her calves for a few minutes before the group caught up at one of the stops. She would moo from her side of the bushes, I'd moo back, then she would reply and so on for a good 3 minutes. I think we were actually breaking ground on cow/human relations before the rest of the group got there and she decided to moooo-ve along.


The Quonset was a nice air conditioned oasis on a hot day, beer was cold and the food was good as always. It's too bad Fajitas couldn't make it out on Saturday.


Well shoot, there he is! In the back corner in almost the same spot he was last June, not sure how he snuck in without anyone seeing him.




Even though the Husker Hundo was probably well since passed on Adams, we changed up plans anyway and took to the shade and relative flatness of the MoPac on the way back to Lincoln. This of course meant a stop at The Hut and no stop at The Hut would be complete without a hut beer.


Saturday also saw a new face in William, even though this was his first Saturday ride with us he came already having experience in gravel and even a DK 200 under his belt. Hopefully we will see more of William in the future.

Not much for pictures on the way back, from the hut to the official end of the ride was pretty much a dead sprint or at least that's how it felt to me. I suppose if you're going to cut out the hills, the speed tends to tick up just a bit. Thanks to everyone who made it out, look for another SMNDFBR next Saturday and then a two week hiatus for the Bohemian Sto Mill and CSG.