Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Boy Named Leslie


Had a great turn out for the Saturday ride this week, the fact that Nathan was back in town helped bump the numbers up. At the start there were 20 of us on this warm January Saturday.




The plan was to ride out to Malcolm taking the normal route backwards, unfortunately nobody told that to Rick's tire and he flatted before we even made it 3/10ths of a mile. So our first regroup was held within a stones throw of the shop.


Rick, Nathan and Joel went back to the shop to get Rick fixed up and the plan was to meet out at the Reinkordt farm and then all ride into Malcolm.


We made it another 10th of a mile before David got the second flat of the day, it wasn't a great day to be a tube.



The second flat allowed the group from the first flat to catch up with us before we even made N Street and as a whole we proceeded onward toward Malcolm.

Little know fact, besides having some of the best BBQ in Nebraska; Malcolm is also the birthplace of Leslie Nunamaker or Les as he liked to be called... I'm taking that last bit at face value since I didn't know Les personally. Who the heck is Les Nunamaker you might ask, well Les is a two time World Series Champion; once in 1912 (beating the then New York Giants, now SF Giants) with the Red Sox and then again in 1920 with the Indians. Les died in 1938 in Hastings NE and is buried just outside of Aurora Nebraska in the Aurora Cemetery... which was formed with the help of General Delevan Bates, a medal of honor recipient from the Siege of Petersburg during the Civil War. The troops that fought for the Union Army in the siege were led by none other than Hiram Ulysses Grant, better known as General Ulysses S. Grant and our 18th president. Grant is also the 7th generation descendant of Thomas Miner and Elizabeth Booth... what is the significance of that? Well I happen to be the 12th generation descendant of the very same Thomas Miner and Elizabeth Booth, which makes Ulysses S. Grant nothing to me really nor I to him but it does make us loosely related and brings the whole story full circle. I know this has nothing at all to do with Fat Bikes or the ride but sometimes it amazes me how much history can be found right around you if you just have a desire to learn a little something and how this seemingly large world isn't all that big after all.



So, back to the actual ride... gravel was in pretty good shape, not as good as last week but still mostly dry and solid.




Just a tad past Conestoga Lake was our third regroup, the first one more than a mile away from the shop and the traditional ditch beer stop.




Once the refreshing Hamm's was properly disposed of it was on to Malcolm, the cows looked a little accusatory as we rode past but they couldn't possibly know we were stopping for brisket, could they?



Due to cow protests, and basketball tournament; I did not partake in BBQ while in Malcolm as the line was longer than I wanted to wait in. Most of the crew opted to wait it out and had their fill of BBQ while I and a few others decided to just grab some items for the Malcolm General Store before returning to meet the BBQ portion of the group. A birdy told me that Lippy's might be in their new location as soon as early February, if this is true another ride out that way will be in order once they are in their new digs.




Fueled by smoked meats, it was onward back towards Lincoln and our next mechanical issue, Larry had a brake pad that kept rubbing and slowing him down. Gary, our ride mechanic, quickly fixed the issue and we were once again off; thankfully it was a beautiful day with the sun shine and warm temps.




A few miles later and we were back in the friendly confines of the Capitol City, which brought to an end the Official SMNDFBR.




A few of us continued the unofficial ride down to White Elm to partake in their Barreled Aged Champurrado release, I thought it was fantastic and that also seemed to be the consensus of the group. If you're a Stout fan, get some before it's all gone; you won't regret it.


Good beer, great company and 60 minutes later, the unofficial SMNDFBR came to an end as we all headed back to the shop or to parts we call home.

No ride next week as it's the Frosty Bike Ride but there is still time to get registered for that ride and a chance to win a bicycle. Click the link for more information and to get signed up, hope to see you there.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

All In All It's Just Another Ride Up The Wall



Winter decided to give us a slight reprieve the latter part of the week with several days of above freezing temps, which set us up for a ideally day for a longer Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride. With the nicer weather we had pretty good turn out, 14 of us if my count was correct. It is funny how different temperatures and/or the existence of or lack of snow will bring out two different groups of riders.


As I said, 14 of us left the shop but it seemed that Saturday was a busy day for folks and several people had varying schedules to adhere to that would preclude them from riding the entire route but they rather than skipping altogether they decided to ride what they could before turning back for home and for that we were appreciative. Knowing that people had to leave early I was prepared to see folks turn off but didn't really expect the first one to be before we even got out of town; Gary had a mechanical issue with his front chain ring and decided to turn back at W. Claire rather than potentially have a more serious problem out on the gravel where it he might have to wait quite awhile for a rescue ride or a very long walk home.







Despite the melting snow and slop around town, the gravel was in great shape. Just the slightest bit of snow here and there in the shade and no mud at all to speak of; couldn't have asked for better conditions for a mid January ride.




Since the plan was to hit up the Denton Wall, it also meant we could easily include the West A St. tunnel in the mix. A perfect stop for a tunnel beer, not quite as high class as a bridge beer but leaps and bounds above the lowly ditch beer for those of you keeping track at home.


During our hydration respite, three like minded riders happened upon us. Not knowing if they might be familiar faces Dave went out to greet them. Slight recognition was all that I could muster and names escaped me but free high fives were given out zealously as they rode by none the less.


While not as long or as steep as the monster on county road 30 we rode in the Sto Mil last year, the wall is not without it's challenges and no slouch in it's own rights. Almost as soon as you turn onto S.W. 140th from W. A Street, you can see the wall looming in the distance, almost 4 miles away; sitting there waiting, mocking you. For your efforts you also get four leg and lung burning miles of steep gravel rollers, each one seemingly larger than the last one, each one sapping much needed strength and stamina from you as you inch closer to the wall. What it might lack in overall length and a few degrees of steepness it more than makes up for with it's legions of co conspirators all trying to break your will and resolve to go on; it's also not uncommon to run into a pretty stiff headwind to add just a little more misery to the mix.





When you first meet the wall you might wonder how, in this flat state, such a large mound of dirt could exist but all the pondering in the world isn't going to help you get up it's 13+% grade so all you have left is to curse, pedal, breath and hope you don't stop pedaling or breathing before you reach the top; the cursing generally only increases the closer to the top you get. Jim didn't make it to the top without the walk of shame, he isn't the first and he won't be the last. He threw a chain part way up and that settled that. Starting at the bottom is bad enough but trying to get going again in the middle is a feat most people try not to undertake.




Shortly after the wall most of the group broke off and headed back to Lincoln due to those prior commitments. With 25 miles left to go they doubted my time table, that we would be back in an hour an a half and so off they rode. They missed out though because shortly after we parted ways the sun popped out of the clouds and the day became gloriously warm and sunny. We piled the bikes on the right side of the no trespassing sign and just soaked up the sun for a few minutes, although none of us quite put the effort into it as Raffet did.





The doubters shouldn't have doubted because even with a 15-20 minute break to sunbath, we were still butts in seats at Buffalo Wings and Rings at 1:40. Ha!


For some reason the patio seating was not opened on this fine January day but if it were to be, the view was pretty darn good.



With lunch finished it was just a short ride up N Street back to the shop and the end of another SMNDFBR.