Sunday, February 18, 2018

Another Tequila Sunrise


It's a good thing I'm somewhat of a morning person since there are a good number of cycling events, especially in the gravel scene, that start well before the sun comes up.



The Saturday morning ride isn't one of those rides, well the official Saturday Morning No Drop Fat Bike Ride isn't anyway, however the gravel race season is about to get underway for some of us so lately we've had a smaller group meet and leave Cycle Works at around 6 am for a decent 30 mile ride before returning for the regularly scheduled programming. Since I come down from Lincoln that means that I need to get up at or slightly before 4 am. The me of my youth would probably look at me in disgust and disbelief if he knew I was getting up on a Saturday a 4 am on purpose, it's been years since I've slept much past 6 am on a Saturday.




Roy, Raffet, Joe and I once again found ourselves already grinding away at the miles before most of the city was even getting out of bed.



One of the positives of being up before the sun is that you get to witness one of the really great things in life, that being the sunset and Saturday's did not disappoint.


And so it was in the golden glow of dawns early light, we found ourselves nearing Raymond Nebraska and the turn around spot.


Back in the early days of Lincoln's gravel scene, the days before I saw what the craze was all about, I swear that there used to be a regular or somewhat regular Ding ride on the weekends. Haven't heard of one for a while now and it must have been a lunch ride because the Ding doesn't open until 11 am but it would be a good shortish ride out and back for a quick little spin.


Since the wind was more out of the southwest and nowhere near as gusty as it would become later in the day, we made really good time out to Raymond and were soon heading back toward Lincoln a tad ahead of schedule.

Photo Feb 17, 9 00 08 AM

Since we were running a bit ahead on time we decided to stop by The Hub Cafe for a little breakfast, which was good with me since my only food so far had been a banana and a Larabar at 4 in the morning. Plus just look at that skillet, who turns down something that looks and tastes that good.


30 miles and one breakfast down found us back at Cycle Works with 15 minutes to spare before the departure of the official SMNDFBR.



The plan for the official ride was to head out towards Eagle and shoot for 50 miles of gravel.



A few miles of paved trail through town and a little finagling through the Allstate parking lot we found ourselves back on the gravel and headed out of town.


I know I've ridden Pioneers before but for the life of me I don't recall this tree farm, pretty cool little rows of trees.



With 40 miles already in the legs at this point and the winds starting to really pick up, out of the north now which was the direction we would be heading, I found myself riding and looking around more than just trying to churn out the miles mindlessly with the head down and nose to the grindstone so to speak. As a result I got a few more picture stops in than normal, which meant a little bit of catch up with the rest of the group also since they didn't share my stopping philosophy.


We even managed to pick up a fellow traveler around 190th and Old Cheney road, I know I've talked to him before and seen him around but for the life of me I cannot recall his name right now. Strong rider, really strong rider and he soon left us behind to journey on his own but it was nice to share some time with him while pedaling along.



We've been chased by dogs, had them run along with us for a bit, had horses follow along inside their enclosures and even had a cow or two do the same on occasion but Saturday was the first time I can recall having a goat decide to jog along with us. He seemed determined to keep following so we had to stop and shoe him back to where he belonged, friendly enough of a fellow but not sure what I'd do with a goat if he followed us all the way back to Lincoln.



Eagle wasn't really on the original route but was always an option for a stop as it was just a slight nudge over from the route, since it seemed like the consensus was that everyone was ready for a refuel stop, to Eagle we went.


While in Eagle I decided to poll the group and present them with a few options. The wind had picked up and was stronger than foretasted and now out of the north, which was the direction we would still need to head if we stuck with the route as planned. Additionally we already had 22 miles in, so we could either stay the route or roughly go back the way we came and only forgo a few of the 50 planned miles but not have to buck the wind as much. I think the wind was getting to everyone as I didn't hear any objections to heading back south and west going mostly with the wind.





Back on A St and heading back to Lincoln we still had miles of cross winds to deal with but we seemed to be making a little bit better time than we were on the way out. Even had an audience at one of our regroups, there are actually two kids but one is wearing camouflage. I think they were really interested in the fat tires on some of the bikes.



In all our struggles against the winds we almost forgot to stop for the traditional bridge beer, nobody actually brought a bridge beer but we did have bridge whiskey. Caught the group partaking in the beverage exchange and noticed that nobody was actually facing the camera...


So I caught their attention and they all turned around... and the birds came out, perhaps sometimes you really should be careful what you ask for. Not sure what it is about a camera that some folks must do something with there hands, peace sign, middle fingers or just waves, it seems more common than not for folks to do something with their hands when they know the camera is on them.



At Walton we decided to stick to A St and ride the last few miles of pavement into Lincoln rather than detour south a few miles to come back into town the way we went out.


Back in town marked the end of the ride as riders started their traditional peeling off and heading home as we passed the turn they needed to take to get home. Thanks to everyone who came out and joined us, I'm hoping there are more 50+ degree days in our near future and less colder ones but I suppose only time will tell.

Photo Feb 17, 4 53 36 PM

On a side note I did pick up a couple of green items this week, the first one is a Moran's Liquor Works jersey. There are businesses that are cycling friendly and then there are a few businesses that go above and beyond to support cycling and the community as a whole, Moran's is one of those businesses so I felt the least I could do was to show my appreciation for their efforts by proudly wearing one of their custom jerseys. If you want one for yourself you can order it here it only takes about two weeks and you to could be wearing your very own.

Photo Feb 15, 8 07 32 PM

The second item is one I had made through a custom cap company, while the detail in the Randy figures was way more washed out than I had hoped,  you can still just make out his distinctive profile, it will still need a bit of a rework/simplification going forward or a switch to a company whose equipment is a bit more sensitive with details... if anymore are even made. I decided to put the cap on the Fargo since that will likely be the gravel race bike for most of the gravel events this year and it'll be inspiring to be able to look down and see Randy riding along with me, even if it means he'll be riding much slower than he used to as my passenger.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Stuck in Colder Weather

At a tranquil park, just outside of Lincoln
The night is black as the coffee he was drinkin'
And in the cryophile’s goggles he sees the morning light is shinin'
He thinks of warmer fingers and the gloves he left behind
He said, I want to feel you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be warmer, can I feel you then?

Photo Feb 10, 8 23 50 AM

Photo Feb 10, 8 48 28 AM

That portly prognosticating marmot said we'd have six more weeks of winter and to show us all that he wasn't kidding he got Mother Nature to drop a little snow on us in the last few days. More snow in the last 10 days than we've seen all winter if you ask me. While perfect for Fat Biking, I'm not a big fan of late season snow, by the time it gets to this point in winter I'm just ready for the warm up but since you can't change the weather you just have to make the most of it. 




With a little over an inch of fresh powder overnight Friday and probably close to 3-4" already on the ground the plan, of course, was to head out to Wilderness Park. 



Roads were in decent shape and even the trails seemed like they had all been plowed so at least the slipping and sliding on the way to the park would be minimal. 





Our luck ran out at 17th street when we passed the person removing the snow from the N Street Cycle Track, fortunately the big tires on the Fat Bikes plowed through the snow with only slightly more effort. Thankfully the latest round of the white stuff didn't contain too much moisture and was more fluffy powder. 





The rest of the journey to Wilderness was fairly uneventful and traction was probably a bit worse in the park than it was on the way to the park. Lots of impromptu snow angels were made on Saturday once we dropped into the single track. 












Photo Feb 10, 11 30 18 AM

Wilderness was in pretty good shape, slick in a few spots but over all better than I thought it would be. Temps were a bit chilly though, 8 was the high but with the wind it felt much colder and the camera gave up after the ride out to the turn around spot so nothing for pictures after the halfway point other than those taken with the phone. Even the phone pictures were kept to a minimum, if I don't keep the phone in a Ziploc in the jersey pocket under the jacket it tends to die on really cold days after a while also. Cold and electronics just don't go together all that well. 

Photo Feb 10, 12 44 13 PM

We opted for the Jamaica North on the way back to save some time as it took a little longer than anticipated to get through the park and some folks were on a time table. On the way back the usual fragmentation occurred at it does near the end of the ride as folks broke off and headed home. A few of us opted to head to Sips and Suds again this week for a lunch stop. 

Photo Feb 10, 1 21 06 PM

There might have also been a brief stop at Moran's for an adult beverage or two, possibly. 

Here is a video from Dave taken on his GoPro for you viewing pleasure. Temps look to warm up over the next week, or at least that is what they are saying now, if that holds true then we will be back on gravel next Saturday.