Sunday, September 30, 2018

If You Like Pina Coladas



Well fall is here, not the warm days, colorful leaves and cool nights kind of fall we all seem to dream about when we thing fall weather, instead it is the wet, cold and miserable fall that is more of what we actually get here in Nebraska and it's not making for the greatest riding so far. With drizzle and overcast skies in the forecast, the numbers for the SMNDFBR were fairly low but we did still manage a pretty good group leaving the shop, 6 of us in total.



We even managed to get a new rider this week, Dennis came out for his first ever ride with us. Hopefully the bad weather doesn't turn him off from coming back, they aren't all this miserable.





The route this week was limestone and then gravel out to Eagle and then back on the limestone into town. The problem was that the drizzle increased the farther out of town we got until it was a good old fashion rain by the time we had gotten to 162nd, with the stiff head wind and colder temps; warmth was a difficult thing to maintain there for awhile and staying dry just wasn't possible.


We lost our first rider at 84th before we really got out of town and by 162nd Dennis decided that he had had enough as well and turned north at 162nd to hook up with the MoPac a half mile up the road and take that back into Lincoln and places dry and warm. That left just the four of us to push onward toward Eagle and hope that the rains would subside soon.

Photo Sep 29, 11 39 56 AM

Photo Sep 29, 11 40 13 AM

This isn't the first ride that we've been caught in the rain but it ranks right up there with one of, if not the coldest ride where we've been caught in the rain. By the time we hit Eagle it was still coming down at a decent rate so we hit up Casey's number two in Eagle for a little pie and a place to warm up. Yes, there are two Casey's in Eagle, one right on the corner or Hwy 34 and Hwy 43 and a second spot just a block east on Hwy 34. The second location has Casey's famous pizza while the first place does not... don't ask me why but it is what it is, so it was on this rainy day that we ventured over to Casey's number two.


By the time we left Casey's the rain had stopped and things were looking up, not by much but every little bit helped. Amazingly once we got moving again I felt some what warm and actually started to dry out without any additional moisture adding to my soaked clothes. By the time we hit the hut I was mostly dry if not quite as warm as I would have liked.

Photo Sep 29, 12 25 57 PM

Joy Power at the hut, fits in well with the other decor.


We weren't the only weary traveler using the hut for a little break that day, being cold blooded this guy was probably having a worse day than we were.


The Hut is also an excellent spot to indulge in a barley pop, this offering from Blue Blood is really good with just enough spice and pineapple flavors to make it tasty without being over powering. Limited series run though so if you want to try it out you should do so soon.


One of the drawbacks of taking the limestone when it is wet out is that it splatters a lot more than gravel roads do, follow too close to the person in front of you and you end up looking like this. Which is also why there weren't too many pictures from  this ride, water, mud and cameras aren't the best of friends and should be kept separated as much as possible so the camera stayed in the waterproof bag most of the time.

Photo Sep 29, 1 20 13 PM

A quick 10.5 miles from the Hut and we were back at the shop and the end of another fantastic Saturday ride. It's always interesting to look at the numbers at the end of a ride and compare it to previous rides and if you're so inclined, set goals based off those numbers. However if you're not a numbers person necessarily it is sometimes difficult to relate ride numbers to the real world, Garmin has a pretty unique IQ app that will take those numbers and show you how many beverages you would earn per ride. This one was written by folks who enjoy beer obviously but you could figure out how many calories are in your favorite food or beverage and then relate that back to this app fairly easily, the visual of watching the glass fill up as you're pedaling is more relate-able IMO than just watching numbers on a screen but maybe that's just me. As with most things, your mileage may vary.

No ride next week as I'll be in Jamesport Missouri for a weekend of friends and bikes in Amish country but keep your eyes peeled for info about the next SMNDFBR.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

It Ain't Easy, It Ain't Supposed To Be


Headed down to Lincoln a little earlier than usual this week for two reasons, an early Husker game meant that traffic would already be building by 8 am and to meet some of the crew for breakfast at The Hub Cafe before the ride.

Photo Sep 15, 8 19 27 AM

I got there just a tad after 8 am and the crowd wasn't bad at all at that time, I was able to walk right up to the counter and place my order almost immediately but as it turned out that was really good timing on my part because by the time I got my number for the table, the line had formed to the door in just those few minutes and only got longer as we ate.


The food was good, as it always is, but we still had a ride to get to so after a quick breakfast it was off to Cycle Works to meet the rest of the group.


Had a great turn out for the ride, 16 of us in total left from the shop. I am sure the sunshine and warmer temps promised on Saturday helped to bolster the number of riders we got.


We even had an official Pink Gorilla in our ranks, not sure exactly what that means but it's gotta be better than an unofficial one.





The plan for Saturday was to head East, in the opposite directions of the stadium, on the MoPac out of town and then catch the gravel at Walton.


Limestone on the MoPac is dry and rolling fast but watch out for several really deep spots near Walton. Saw a few places where run off from the recent rains had caused ruts in the trail and the county/city decided that the best way to "fix" the problem was to throw kitty litter like limestone piles on top of the ruts which sort of makes it hard to gage how deep or wide they really are. Some of these spots are inches deep and full of very soft limestone over the top of a rut, catch a skinnier wheel in one the wrong way at speed and you're likely going down or at least having a pucker moment as you wrangle our bicycle back under control.


Youngsters and their electronic devices.





If things went as planned, we were going to head out on Van Dorn to S 238th St and then take that into Palmyra. I say as planned because there are two sections of MMR on Van Dorn that might not work out, causing us to need to reroute a mile south to B Road or 2 miles south to Old Cheney and take one of those out to S 238th. The two sections of Van Dorn are a ton of fun to ride but they are both closed to thru traffic and are posted No Trespassing, the county will do this when the land is in the process of being turned over to the land owners on either side of the road as a way to keep traffic off of the road so that the county no longer needs to maintain that section of road. I do believe that the county reserves the right to reopen the road if traffic patterns eventually warrant the need for the road again. In the interim, these are private lands and are not open for public use. We stopped and got permission from both land owners to ride on these sections of Van Dorn; both of them thought we were crazy to want to ride them as the roads hadn't been maintained in a few years but they gave us permission none the less. These are actually our favorite kind of roads and explained as much but they still seemed to question our mental faculties, their only request was that we not litter, which isn't a problem as we always pack out whatever we may pack in. This is not a blanket permission however, if YOU want to ride Van Dorn, YOU will need to get permission for yourself from the land owners DO NOT RIDE without permission. The land owners live just on the west end of each section and they are both nice people, ask them and they will most likely allow you to ride the road as well... don't ask and you are trespassing and you could get arrested and screw it up for the rest of us. So ASK and if they say no, find a different route, if we can form a good relationship with the land owners then eventually we might be able to ride without asking but that is a decision left up to the owners of the land to decide, the better guests we are the more likely the chance that this will happen. So don't be a dick.





At the beginning the MMRs were in great shape, perfect almost actually and it seemed like a great place for a ditch beer to help rehydrate.



Then the muds came, the guy warned us about the bridge being a little rickety and maybe being a little wet do to the rains but he failed to mention anything about mud, lots and lots of mud. We could have turned back but decided to give it a try, it turned out to be a really soft section and the mud didn't exactly have the nicest aroma to it either. Maybe they were right to question our mental faculties after all.



Just when we thought it was all over and we had cleaned off the bikes enough to get rolling agin, we crested the hill and saw round two looming in the distance. Walk, carry, scrape and repeat one more time or hopefully only one more time.




Thankfully there were only two bogs and the second one was not nearly as bad as the first, being in the open it had received a lot more sunshine than the first section, we managed to get through the second and on to Palmyra without the cleanup effort the first one required.


Photo Sep 15, 12 39 45 PM

Thankfully the Palmyra Pub wasn't too busy considering it was a Husker game day, which was good because at 16 strong we sort of took up a bit of table space. The nice lady who runs the place did give me her business card so that we can call ahead next time and let them know we are coming, I imagine in small town Nebraska 16 people at the same time on a Saturday afternoon is a bit of big deal. The BLT is pretty darn tasty if you're ever out that way looking for some grub and it's not too heavy which is a good choice if you still have 25+ miles to ride to get back home.


As a bonus, there is a convertible house right next door to the Pub if you're in the market, could probably get a good deal on it.




You could tell that August's milder temps made us a bit soft, the heat and sun of Saturday was wearing on us and the pace was notably slower leaving Palmyra than it was heading to Palmyra. It's been a crazy summer, June was hotter than August and so far September is shaping up to follow that trend of being warmer than August... weird.




Fortunately the last MMR on the route, Bennet Road, was dry and in good shape, I was hoping all three of them would have been like Bennet Road was.


A stop at the Roca Tavern was definitely in order, everyone seemed to be struggling a bit and the A/C at the Tavern was working overtime, it was down right chilly in there.


Leaving out of Roca there were a lot more smiles after the stop, some of that could have been because the hills were also done but they were smiles and I'll take it. It was just a short trek down the Homestead/Jamaica trails and we would be back in Lincoln with nothing more than a 2% grade change either up or down, smooth sailing one could say. As is usually the case, folks started peeling off as we got nearer to Lincoln, actually the peeling off started happening before Roca, the folks living on the east side of Lincoln peeled off as we were on that side of town on Bennet Road.




A few of us decided to head over to South Pointe for a little Cold Stone ice cream and to say hi to Isabelle, well worth the extra few miles.



After the ice cream, it really was time to call it good and thus another great SMNDFBR rode off into the sunset. Thanks to all who came out, even had two new riders today, Ellie and Dan. Both of them rode really well, I hope our muddy MMRs don't put them off from coming back, it is not the norm I promise you.