As is often the case in Nebraska, the forecast can and will change 10 times in a four day span. Earlier in the week it looked like the weather was going to be near perfect for the Kolache Ride but as the day got nearer the forecast got worse, then it got better, then it got worse... and then it got better before finally looking like we would probably see some rain but how much was an uncertainty. As we went to bed on Friday it looked like there would be minimal overnight precipitation and it should have been done a few hours before our 7 am roll out. They of course were wrong and it was still raining as I was driving to Cycle Works, so much for the rain clearing out or an accurate forecast.
A few of us met at the shop and rode down to the trail head at Good Life Fitness where the bulk of the riders were milling about waiting for us. Given the weather overnight and the fact that there was still decent chance of more rain during the ride, I was super stoked to see this many people waiting for us when we got to Good Life Fitness.
As a larger group we rolled out of GLF and onto the gravel.
With the rain ending about 45 minutes before the ride, the gravel was soft and the going was slower than we had hoped it would be, in addition to the soft gravel we were also blessed with a fairly decent 15-20 mph headwind. We would definitely be earning those kolaches on Saturday.
Since the original forecast called for dry conditions, there were a few dirt roads on the route and we weren't quite sure what we would find when we go to them. We took a bit of a pause before heading down it but it actually was in pretty decent and we didn't really sink in like we thought we would by looking at it.
Unfortunately even though you don't sink in all the time, mud has a way of "snowballing" on the tire sometimes; which leads to a salted nut roll affect when you get back onto the gravel. Saturday there were salted nut rolls all around and flying gravel for the next few miles and the mud/gravel mix was shed from the tires.
We did of course make sure to stay hydrated, it's important to do so even when it's overcast and you might not seem like you need to drink fluids.
As we got close to Wilber, the sun did finally make an appearance and it was nice to ride the last few miles into town with the added warmth and sun light. It's kind of amazing how a little sun can brighten up your day, no pun intended.
Once in town, folks scattered like kids in a candy store; we tried to round most of them up to see if they wanted to go to the Casey's with us but some of them just disappeared into the sea of people never to be seen again. Those of us that didn't disappear decided to hit up the local Casey's before taking in the Czechfest to get something cold to drink and maybe a little food. I know what you're thinking, you're in Wilber and the Czechfest is going on, why are you going to Casey's? Well, as much as I like sausages, kraut and the like; sometimes it's not the best kind of food to consume when you have to ride 40 miles back to town with few restrooms in sight. We did get Kolaches however, it would be silly to ride all the way out to Wilber during Czechfest and not get a few Kolaches.
I honestly don't think I've ever been to Wilber when it wasn't Czechfest, (well I may have been to Wilber a few times in the mid 90s when I delivered for Schaefer's T.V. and Appliance but that seems like a lifetime ago) not sure why it's not on our rotation of close-ish towns we ride to but it isn't. I assume it's not always this busy and crowded on a Saturday but it could be, it always is when I'm there. One of these days we will need to ride out on a more typical Saturday and see what's shakin in Wilber.
Ran into an old running buddy of Joe's while there, this guy's hat sums up my riding style perfectly.
Also ran into this creepy little boy with horrible manners, would not stop staring no matter what I did or said. Someone's parents need to work on acceptable social behavior.
It took us about an hour longer to get out to Wilber than we had planned because of the rain, soft gravel and wind so when the crowds started to line the streets in preparation for the parade; we knew it was time to boogie or get trapped in town until it was over.
With the aid of the sun and wind, the gravel had dried out nicely while we were in Wilber so it was rolling much quicker plus we had a tailwind now. Would have been better if the legs weren't beat from the slog out but it was still quicker than the ride in. We were also a smaller group on the way back, we sort of splintered as folks left early or did their own thing once in Wilber but that is usually what happens on these types of rides that take several hours, folks come ride what they can and the head home when they need to.
Like most people, the SMNDFBR sort of gets on the Jenny Craig diet during the summer months and everyone shows up with a bit thinner tire. I was glad that I had decided to go with the Fargo on Saturday, not quite as skinny as some of the others in the group but that added rubber also helped float on the softer gravel a bit more. Plus tires were the way to go on Saturday, just hit that perfect in between spot I thought and the geometry meant a more comfortable riding position to boot.
The ride home was much more pleasant and speedy but also fairly uneventful, which was good, I think we had enough adventure on the way out.
Noticed all these signs on one of the regroup stops, doesn't seem like a very friendly place but the shady spot on the side of the road was nice, even if we were being watched by Big Brother.
Maybe they were trying to keep these guys out, pretty beetles but man can they nom on some vegetation if left alone; if only they could read they might heed the warning signs.
We did take the Jamaica North trail back into Lincoln from Saltillo Road, which was good because it gave me an opportunity to stop by the new CVO memorial bench, which I hadn't made it to yet. Might have to come back sometime when I have a little more time to sit and relax, good location in a nice shady spot.
Those of us remaining decided that a cold dish of Culver's custard sounded like just about the best thing on the plant at that moment, so of course we couldn't pass it up when we rode by. That of course ended another SMNDFBR, thanks to all who came out on our quest for Kolaches. No ride next week as I will be out of town on the first real vacation in almost two years. Also no ride the following week due to Gravel Worlds, even if you're not riding in it you should come check out the Expo on Friday the August 17th in the shop parking lot.