Tuesday, July 30, 2019

2019 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational - The Thunder Rolls


Friday night we pulled up chocks in Nebraska and made our way over to Grinnell for the 14th annual GTDRI and then on Saturday morning we successfully recreated every awkward family photo of my youth. Always that one sibling not entirely committed to joining the family and having permanent evidence.


After a few last minute route updates and instructions to remember not to blink during photos, it was time to get rolling.




Temps were fairly mild with clouds and a gentle breeze, if things stuck like they were at the start it would be an ideal day for 92 miles on the gravel. Pretty decent sized group also, 14 of us in total I believe.





On the menu for the ride were the dirt roads around Poweshiek county and we hit them early and often. Some of my favorite roads on a bike have been those not maintained much by the state or county so I was pretty excited to see what Iowa had to offer. Some of the roads seemed similar to when we were over for the COG and Prairie Burn but I'm not sure if we ever did ride on any of the exact same roads.





Sun kept playing peek-a-boo through the clouds for most of the morning but the roads were rolling fast, dry and a tad dusty in spots.




The roads around Grinnell were mostly steady rollers with the occasional hill tipping over the 10% grade mark but the views were pretty spectacular from the tops of the hills at times.


Some views weren't as spectacular, Tim ended up breaking a quick link on his chain and catching his derailleur in his spokes. Thankfully Tim had an extra quick link and we were able to bend things back enough that they would shift enough to get him moving again without needing to set him up single speed.


As we performing road side emergency surgery on the bike however, we started to hear the distant rumbling of thunder and started seeing tell tale signs of possible rain heading our way.




There weren't any towns on the route until about mile 70 so GT had made arrangements to have two water stops along the way to Brooklyn. The first was at mile 30 and supplied by Jon Duke, organizer of the Prairie Burn and Grinnell local. Pastries, water and even a splash of Coke could be had for riders at the stop, those mini strudels really hit the spot.





After the break it was more of the same, miles of gorgeous MMR (Level B) roads. There were so many great MMRs in this part of Iowa that they even had intersections where two of them would meetup! I've seen a lot of odd things riding gravel but I can't recall ever riding where one MMR would intersect with another MMR out in the middle of nowhere. Fun times and so far no rain, so both of those things were good.


Also had a shirtless tire repair class on the side of the road, this ride really sort of had it all.





With storms all around us our luck finally ran out and we got caught in two sprinkle rains and one pretty decent soaking rain. We even stopped under a tree for a bit to get out of the liquid sunshine, it was kind of and odd rain because you'd be getting rained on and then half mile down the road it would be bone dry, even the roads weren't showing any signs of rain and then suddenly you'd be in it again.

Photo Jul 27, 12 48 56 PM

We carried on until mile 60 and the second water stop hosted by none other than Michaela, there were chips, sodas, gatorade and red/white/blue peanut M&M's (dubbed freedom nuts) to be had. I was soaked to the bone and Doug was feeling the lack of cycling this year so we both called it a day and watched the group roll out before packing it up and driving back to Grinnell.

Photo Jul 27, 3 27 01 PM

Photo Jul 27, 3 33 08 PM

Photo Jul 27, 3 34 47 PM

Back in Grinnell we showered up and then decided to hit the town and ended up at an old soda fountain place called Candyland Station, really good floats and ice cream sodas. Unfortunately it was also the last day ever for the place, a few hours after we stopped in they were shuttering the doors for good. Glad we got to see what it was all about before it went out of business. The GTDRI was a great time, not even the rains could damper our enjoyment. This is my second time doing the ride but probably won't be the last one, it's not too far away, a good time and I get to see roads and views I wouldn't normally see. Plus a little mini vacation is always worth it.

Next Saturday is the third annual Kolache Ride to Wilber, also a great time and a ride I am looking forward to participating in, check back next week for the ride report.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

It's Like a Sauna in Here






If you haven't seen it yet you almost certainly have been not paying attention or living under a rock. The shop has a cutout where you can get your picture taken wearing the maillot jaune from the Tour de France but more than a cute photo op it's also to promote Trek's current promotion, what promotion you ask? Well here are the deets:

Visit a participating Trek location between July 5 and July 27, save your receipt, and watch the Tour de France, La Course, and Giro Rosa. If a Trek-Segafredo rider podiums the day after your purchase, you have until store close on July 31 to bring back your receipt and collect your prize.

You'll get:

$100 in-store credit for a stage win
$50 in-store credit for second place

$25 in-store credit for third place

Pictures of you wearing the yellow jersey however are totally free so everyone is a winner really. 


So back to the SMNDFBR and our regularly scheduled programming. Gary is down for the count currently due to an ill timed step on a very pointy nail but he did bring donuts for the ride, which were much appreciated and very tasty.




Saturday was pretty sweltering so it was nice to have a pretty decent sized group come out for the ride, truth be told sweltering looks like it's going to be in the forecast for at least the foreseeable future. If you're an outdoors person in Nebraska though, you just kind of learn to roll with the hots and the colds, the winds and the rains because if you wait for "nice weather" you'll only get out about 4 days a year because that is about our quota for good weather days in the Cornhusker State.




The plan for Saturday was to head out west and north of Lincoln to the tiny village of Kramer Nebraska and a stop at the Kramer Bar & Grill. We've been there once before but not since March of last year so we were due.



One of the things I loved about the Kramer ride in March was a sweet section of MMR that we passed through to get there, so of course it was on the route again for Saturday.



Unfortunately it looks like the minimum maintenance has turned into no maintenance and the road is being allowed to turn back into prairie land so we will have to find an alternate route when we head out there next time.


The huddled masses enjoying the AC while waiting for food, I think we tripled their occupancy but the food was good and it was quick, not much more you can ask for.


Leaving out of Kramer it seemed like it was going to be smooth sailing, complete with fresh blacktop.



Unfortunately Doug hit something and caused a bit of a blowout, no amount of Orange Seal was going to fix that one. We did try a tube and a boot and it worked for a little bit but eventually it suffered the same fate.


We found a nice shady spot for Todd to adjust his saddle and hatched a plan for most of us to head to Doug's house that wasn't too far and get a vehicle to come back and get him.




We flew to the house and then waited for Doug to be rescued so he could pick up another bike and we could finish out the ride. And some people ask why you need more than one bike, well for this reason for one.



A few miles down the Homestead, a stop at the CVO bench and another SMNDFBR was in the books. No ride this Saturday because of the Bohemian Sto Mil but fear not we will be back soon.