Sunday, July 23, 2017

Michelle Pfeiffer, That White Gold

"It’s too hot, called a police and a fireman; it’s too hot, make a dragon wanna retire man."

That Bruno Mars hit the nail on the head when describing Saturday's weather, although technically that's a paraphrase and not a direct quote but the general gist is still there.   



To say that it was hot on Saturday would be an understatement, it was very hot and very humid on Saturday, even at 9 in the morning. That, however, did not stop the hearty souls who regularly ride the SMNDFBRs from coming out in good numbers, 13 was our total on this day. 


While it was hot and some might consider us crazy for riding in the heat, at least we kept the tires on the bikes and didn't run around wearing them. 


See, even the roadies know where the tires go. 



The plan was to head out to Valparaiso for a little hill climbing, a saving grace from the full force of the heat was that there was a decent cloud cover hiding the sun. I wouldn't say it was keeping things cool but it did at least keep us from baking in the sun on top of everything else. 


Because it was hot, the need to stop and regroup was somewhat more frequent than it would have been on a day that wasn't quite as hot, at one point my Garmin reported a temperature of 102.7 out there on Saturday with the added heat coming back off the ground. The unfortunate side effect of this was that it was taking longer than anticipated so Kipp and Brent turned back shortly after this regroup to get back to Lincoln quicker than we were going to make it. 


In addition to regroups there was this... whatever this is? My grandfather always used to get me with the pull my finger gag; I'm not sure what pull my leg results in and I'm not sure I want to know. 





Despite the heat and the humidity everyone was plugging along at a pretty good pace, the downside of not having any sun is that things like gloves and socks didn't dry out quick enough and both stayed fairly moist. I got home and took off the socks and my poor feet looked like early onset of trench foot they were so pruned, by the time the sun did make an appearance the moisture was already too set in to completely evaporate. 




Two things happened before we got to Valparaiso, the hills got steeper and the clouds burned off, leaving us in the full heat of the sun. This was taking it's toll on Gary and he pulled the plug at Valpo and called for a ride. In this kind of heat it's always good to know your limits and to not risk it by not making that call.  



Once we knew Gary was squared away with a ride, we said our goodbyes, promised to write and call as often as we could and then set off down the Oak Creek Trail out of Valpo.


Which was a nice, albeit, brief reprieve from these monsters that lurk around Valparaiso and parts north.





That also brought us to the MMRs of the route and this crop duster that was doing it's aeronautical acrobatics to help keep the creepy crawlies off the corn. For once the word crop dusting could be used in it's most accurate form on this ride, we've been crop dusted before but by a much lower flying plane with what sounded like a bad engine.


Things got hotter from there and caused Sarah to decide that it would probably be best for her if she got a ride from Raymond. As I said knowing when to pull the plug is a good thing and the fact that two really strong riders made that call on Saturday just shows how the heat and humidity can get to the best of us.




Not wanting to just point Sarah in the right direction and hope for the best, Roy, Karla, Todd and I decided to break off from the group and make sure that she got to The Ding ok. As a reward for our good deed there was cold beer and colder water waiting for us.


Acceptable bar hopping transportation in Raymond.


Once Sarah was safely rescued the rest of us beat feet towards Lincoln, not much more for pictures as we were out of the hills and NW 27th is flat like pancake so we were making good time back to town. So ends another Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride, no ride next week due to the Cornhusker State Games gravel races that many of us are participating in but never fear the ride will be back. Thanks to every one who came out, as always it was a pleasure to ride with all of you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Same Time, Different Place - SMNDFBR Does Omaha



Photo Jul 15, 9 40 54 AM

This week we took the SMNDFBR on the road, not all that far as it was just up to our neighbors to the east but a road trip none the less. Around the normal start time we gathered at the Alamo Drafthouse off of Giles to join in on the monthly Pint-a-gon ride which is a beer tour of sorts of the local taprooms on the southwest edge of Omaha. Who exactly it's put on by I'm not sure as their Facebook page doesn't really say but someone is organizing them.




Even though the event page said that the event was from 10 am to 3 pm, it turned out not to be the case as 10 am was the "registration" time... even though there wasn't anyone doing registration that I ever saw, nobody really taking the reins or leading this at all that I could discern. Luckily the Liquid Sunshine Taproom was on the ball and opened early for the ride so there was some place to go and sit while we waited, generally they don't open until 11 am and it was only 9:45 am. Those more familiar with the ride must have been in the know by coming to previous events because the crowds did eventually show as it got closer to 11 am.



There wasn't a posted route but more a list of breweries in the order that we were supposed to go in and no official ride leader, so we decided to leave a little bit before 11 am and ride on to Lucky Bucket. Thankfully I am a somewhat familiar with Omaha and where each of the taprooms are located, if you weren't at all familiar you could Google them but finding the best route would be a crap shoot left up to a mapping system primarily designed for cars.



Photo Jul 15, 11 11 34 AM

The plan was a pretty good one because it wasn't long after we got there and ordered our drinks that folks started showing up and the line was out the door for beverages. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend the Certified Evil Blood Mary that they serve here. There isn't much for garnish but what it lacks in show it makes up for in taste, one of my favorites.





Sticking with our plan to try to stay ahead of the crowd, we left shortly after the line got super long... it wasn't like you were going to get a second drink quickly.



The next two breweries were just a few doors down from each other in the same strip mall, I was actually pretty excited to visit them as I drive by them weekly but hadn't ever stopped in until Saturday.





I was really digging Kros Strain and am sure I'll be back to this one, the beer was good and the ambiance was pretty rad as well, you could tell that someone had put some thought into the taproom when the decorated it. I think it's a must stop if you're deciding where to go for a beer on the southwest side of Omaha, it was that good.


I need one of these jerseys in my life, now to go and hunt it down on the interwebs.


Our next stop was Pint 9, as I said it was just a few doors down as you can see from this picture Kros Strain is at the left and Pint 9 is just to the right of the light pole. Didn't even need to repark the bikes to get there.





As much as I liked Kros Strain, I just wasn't feeling Pint 9. The decor was meh, meets the industrial look and it just didn't have the feel of a place that you would want to hang out it as much as Kros Strain. Another hit for me was that they had 12 taps but only had 5 beers, the best being their Peppercorn Wit which was a seasonal and not a regular, the others I found to be rather pedestrian as far as craft beer goes. In a booming craft beer scene in Nebraska, you really have to bring something that's going to get the butts back in the seats a second, third and subsequent times; I just wasn't buying into what they had going on here. Don't let my opinion sway you however, what one doesn't like, another finds fantastic... it just wasn't for me.



Because the two taprooms were so close together, we probably spent a little bit too much time at them and were a little behind the leaving early curve. The climb up 108th to Nebraska Brewing Companies taproom didn't help either, that sucker is steep and long.



NBC is probably one of my favorite taprooms in Omaha and one I used to come to weekly when I lived just down the road at 96th and Harrison, it was good to be back. There was a bit of a line already here but the staff behind the bar were on the ball and had it moving quickly. I had their new Gimme S'More brew and it did not disappoint, smelled just like s'mores and had just enough s'more taste to it to be recognizable without being over the top sweet. We probably spent a bit more time here than we did at the other places with the exception of Kros Strain but it was getting hotter and we were enjoying the A/C and good beer.







We rolled into and out of Infusion Brewing's new taproom fairly quickly, we were way behind at staying ahead of the crowds at this point and Infusion was already really busy by the time we got there, on top of that we were all getting hungry so we pushed on back toward Alamo.

Photo Jul 15, 10 06 04 AM

I have never quite figured out if they are supposed to be a bar/restaurant with a movie theater or a movie theater with a bar/restaurant but they have a pretty outstanding selection of craft beers for being a theater regardless if that's their primary or secondary business.

Photo Jul 15, 2 54 09 PM

Our plan to skip Infusion was a good one as we beat most of the crowd back which enabled us to snag a table large enough for the whole crew. On top of a good selection of craft beer they also have some really good food as well, which was good because we were all starving at this point.


Photo Jul 15, 2 54 50 PM

If beer isn't your thing they also have really tasty adult shakes, Joe was enjoying his a bit too much perhaps.


Too worn out to lift your own hands, they have that covered too as someone will come around and feed you if need be... ok, maybe I made that last one up but at least Stephanie got that treatment.


Once fully gorged on food it was time to take a picture with the Darth Vader chair and put a fork in another Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride. Thanks to all who braved the drive from Lincoln to Omaha and made it out, one of the things I wanted when I started this ride was one that could remain flexible and not get bogged down with the same routes, the same riding surfaces or even the same ride format. To all of those who put up with my shenanigans week after week I am truly grateful, you guys help to make this a really fun, one of a kind ride and I am glad to call all of you friends.

Will we do another Pint-a-gon ride in the future? Who knows at this point, there was some feedback that these aren't the types of rides that everyone likes so I'll take that into consideration, discuss it with a few people and decide from there. I thought the ride was a blast, with a little more organization, someone to plan it a tad better and lead the group; I think someone could take the ball and really run with it turning it into a bigger ride than it already is; perhaps even snagging more of the Lincoln craft beer folks as well and enticing them to come up and ride. That's just my two cents though, whomever puts these on can of course run it however they chose and they obviously have quite a following already so what do I know.

Next Sunday is the gravel rides for the Cornhusker State Games so we will likely either do a shorter gravel ride or if weather permits,  more than likely we may just duck into Wilderness Park for a little dirt therapy and some easy miles.

As it turns out calendars are beyond my comprehension, the MTB races for the CSG are on Saturday the 22nd and the Gravel events on Saturday the 29th... so in light of this new discovery Saturday will most likely be a normal SMNDFBR and there will not be a ride on the 29th as I'll be racing in the gravel events for the CSG. Unless of course things change, as the often do, I'm helping with setup for the MTB races on Friday but if they need extra people on Saturday thing might change but only time will tell.