October 20th 2015 I bought my beloved Pugsley, my second Fat Bike at the time and it's been a wonderful relationship so far. As it happened, the 3 year anniversary of Pugsley finding it's forever home was this past Saturday, so to help celebrate I brought some tasty donuts to the shop for all to enjoy. While they might not be 2000 Strava miles, they were darn tasty all the same.
Saturday was nearly a perfect fall day, which attributed to another great turn out for the ride. I say nearly perfect because there was some stiff winds coming out of the NNW that looked to increase as the day went on, 20+ mph winds would great us for the return trip from Firth.
The plan was to head out on the Jamaican/Homestead Trail to Roca and then cut over to gravel into Firth and then head back in similar fashion. Because it's only a week and a half until Halloween, S 38th Street was busier than I would have liked but once we were past the farm the speeding traffic disappeared and things were back to the peaceful gravel roads we've learned to love.
With the winds at our back on the way out, we made pretty quick work of the route out so at our first regroup we decided it was a great place to soak up the sun and enjoy a refreshing ditch beer. As I found out about the ditch beer, honestly, they aren't for everyone.
A few more miles up the road and we ran into the first ever official SMNDFBR SAG stop. Dave's gotta stay off the bike for the next few weeks but wanted to meet up with us out on the route and he brought drinks and snacks for the group. Not sure we will have more official SAG stops but it sure was nice of him to meet us out there like that, a person could get used to this pamperedness.
Not part of the planned SAG stop was the discovery of a wooden dinning room chair in the back of Dave's truck that managed to make it's way into the middle of the road. Those not familiar with Salsa's Chase the Chaise series, Salsa has been hitting various gravel events this summer hauling around a Chaise Lounge that participants can sit on and have their picture taken. So yeah, we totally stole the idea from that and yes it's getting to be a bit overplayed as it seems that chairs, couches and even toilets have been popping up at all kinds of gravel events this year after the first Chaise pictures were released but since it wasn't preplanned and everyone seemed to get a hoot out of it, I indulged the group by taking their pictures. Trendsetters we are not I suppose but it was still a good time.
The guy driving by in the middle of it probably thought we were all nuts and I suppose he probably isn't totally wrong in that line of thinking.
Since we still had a few miles to go and the tomfoolery wasn't getting us any close to Firth, it was time to push on and finish the last leg into town for some pizza pie.
Water towers are always a welcomed sign on a gravel ride, generally they indicate a good sized town up ahead with some sort of services.
While we have been to Firth before, I had never been to Papa D's before and found it's quaintness quite charming. In addition to a restaurant it was also the town's grocery store, although you'd probably have to go somewhere else to fill your entire list I suspect.
They even had a selection of top shelf wines... or at least wines on the top shelf. Food was good, so that's all that mattered to me since I'm not much of a wine connoisseur.
The way back was not nearly as pleasant or fast as we were bucking a stiff headwind the entire way, folks were drafting like a regular Cal Naughton Jr. that day if they could find a wheel to hop onto.
Once back on the limestone, the going was a bit easier as the trees blocked the wind a little for us. We even ran into the Bivy A Month group heading out to Bluestem Lake, high fives were doled out with enthusiasm.
Back in town we decided to hit up White Elm before going our separate ways, officially ending the SMNDFBR for another week.
A few of us opted to head over to Method, they happened to have a digital scale out so I took the opportunity to throw Pugs on and see what the ticker read. Now I'd always known she was a bit portly, didn't need a scale to tell me that, all you need to do is lift it up to get that bit of information. However I didn't really know how bulky she really was, tipping that scales at 49+ lbs didn't really surprise me all that much to be honest and that isn't even her fighting weight since I didn't have the fork bottles or food on the bike like I would for a Gravel Worlds, Sto Mil or similar gravel race. I'm betting she pulls an even 50 with all that added on if not a tad over, not the lightest of bikes for sure but she ain't heavy, she's my Pugs.
Probably no official SMNDFBR next this Saturday since it is also our Halloween ride starting at 4:45 pm from the shop. Come out and join us for that though, always a good time with great people. For more information on the ride click HERE.