Monday, August 26, 2019

Hot Cakes and Heatstrokes




It has been a few weeks since we've had a Saturday morning ride so I wanted to make sure we got together and rode a little bit if nothing else. Summer seems to be a busy time for a gravel person, seems like every year more and more new races pop up but I suppose that's a good problem to have. Since we were just coming off of Gravel Worlds last week and the GPBC Heatstroke gravel was looming on Sunday, it was decided that a nice, short, casual breakfast ride was just the ticket. We took the long way around so as to get in a few miles on our way to Cultiva.



Remembering my days from the food service industry, I sometimes wonder is our little group does to the employees, what a bus full of State Basketball players did to me when I was working at Arby's in Kent Washington while in High School? While not nearly a bus load, we do bring the numbers when we stop somewhere but they took it in stride and the food was delicious as always.


Even ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while, he's sometimes a hard man to find. I remember when he first started ghosting folks, people always used to ask me "Hey, where's Waldo"? I never did have a really good answer for them other than you just have to look carefully, he's always there if you know where to look. I did wonder though it he had gotten himself into some trouble and was in witness protection but who would he be hiding from?


It's not like there are gravel Ninjas hiding around every corner.


After saying "Sup" to Waldo and finishing breakfast, we decided to head over to Zipline and hook up with a brewery tour ride we had heard about from a mutual friend.



Our little Lincoln is all growed up, looks a lot different than it used to when the Harris Overpass was my daily cycling route back in '09.


Definitely not Waldo.



We rolled up to Zipline with about 10 or so minutes to spare and saw a few more familiar faces waiting there as well. I wonder if they would let me borrow the Camperator for a weekend trip?





Photo Aug 24, 12 07 42 PM

We did a little backtracking and ended up at Boiler Brewing for our first stop. It's admittedly been a while since I've been to Boiler and didn't realize they had put in a cozy little "it rubs the lotion on it's skin" type pit outside for your lotioning and drinking pleasure.



Luckily the confines of the Boiler pit were much more accommodating than those provided by Buffalo Bill. Well, unless you were a smoker or vapor, then you might have thought the pit to not be all that friendly after all. I kinda dig it while I don't necessarily mind if folks smoke, not every outdoor area has to be an ash tray either so it's nice to see one that wasn't made out to be one.





We rolled out with the rest of the crew but opted to head over to Granite City instead of the planned stop on the tour. A few in our group craved some food to go with the barley pops, which the next stop only provided one of the two options. This ended our participation in the tour, they had 6 more stops, but I was OK with that since I was going to be out on the bike the following day I kind of needed to get home at a decent hour on Saturday.


Chucking down the MoPac, the remainder of the Granite City folks headed down town but I cut off at the shop and headed home.




Up in the morning before the rising sun on Sunday, it was quick drive to Ashland to meet up with the rest of the group and the GPBC Heastroke.


New this year was a gravel option so you know that was the one we opted for.


I'm not sure the front half got the memo on a fun ride, they shot out of there like a scalded cat zipping along much faster than I planned to go so it ended up being Todd, me and OmaTodd bringing up the rear.




Being in the rear with the gear was just fine with me, I'd brought a long a nice ditch beer for the occasion and fewer folks meant more for us. I know it might be a tad early for Pumpkin Stouts already and that Pumpkin has been a bit over done lately butttttttt... if you're a fan of a great Pumpkin Stout, the Gordo from Clown Shoes is a fantastic one that is also aged in Whiskey barrels so it's not over the top pumpkin spiced. The view didn't exactly detract from you beering pleasure and the weather could not have been any better.


While we were sitting out there enjoying a frosty one we got passed by a few decent sized groups, hadn't see anyone else doing the gravel when we left so it was good to see some bodies. All in all over the course of the day I would guess there might have been upwards of 30 cyclist on the gravel route, not bad for a first year route.



Joe and Katie caught up to us and we rode along with them for a little bit on our way to Greenwood and the first official SAG stop of the ride.



We refueled quick like and set off again on our way to Memphis and the second stop along the way. We also met back up with Doug and Pat who dropped back from the faster group and decided to hang with the turtle crew instead.


Those views!




There were two good MMRs on course so I was super excited to see that the rain we were supposed to have overnight on Saturday never did amount to anything, those two roads might have been a little less fun if they were muddy.





There were some great views and fantastic roads on the way to Memphis and being a relatively flat course it didn't take too long to get there.








Don's Bar in Memphis had all the quirks and quaintness of any little town bar but being close to a state recreation area, complete with a lake, the prices were big city all the way.


Didn't matter if you liked your MANgo, MANgerine Mike's or a good ole PBR, they were all $4 a piece as opposed to the usual $2-2.50 range you'll find in most of small town America. But they hit the spot and went down smooth and cold nonetheless.


Before lighting out from Memphis I decided to eat the pickle I'd been carrying around with me since Gravel Worlds, was even nice enough to give Doug a little taste. What the heck is Todd taking a picture of?


Oh, that.





Coming from a single track background vs. road, some of the best roads I've ridden since moving over to primarily gravel have been found just on the other side of a Road Closed sign and the second MMR on the route was one of those roads. We decided to pull over and polish off the final ditch beer while enjoying the awesomeness of this road.


Just watch out for the beaver, those suckers have got to be YUGE! I'd have loved to have watched whoever cut this monster down, looks to be comically difficult if you take the wrong step.



A few more miles down the road and we were back in the confines of Ashland and the end of a great Heatstroke.


We of course stopped for our obligatory photo.


Our not so obligatory photo.


And one that might have been pushing on the door of weirdness pretty darn hard but that's what happens sometimes when you invite the gravel folks, things can get weird in a hurry. Great weekend on the bike, both days were a lot of fun. Can't wait until next year.





Before I got though I wanted to show you the new to the shop this week Giant Momentum, gone is the quasi fat bike version of last year, replaced instead by the super rad 3 speed, belt driven beast. Coming in at under $600 you almost couldn't go wrong if you're looking for a very low maintenance commuter, grocery getter, bar bike or around town bike that you could probably even coax into light gravel or single track duty without too much effort and for a steal at that.