Above is a sign for a road that a few of you will recognize. Old Portland road runs north from G14 in Madison County (Iowa’s 2nd Most Dangerous Place To Bike) to the town of Adel and one of my favorite places to stop for a beer, The Rondezvouz. But back to the road…
I usually pick up OPR on 105th/Adams Street (the road on which I reside) and head north. It is a fun little 10 mile run to Adel filled with snapping dogs, plenty of farm truck activity and the occasional children fishing in the river (I almost gave two teens a heart attack yesterday as I rounded the corner onto the bridge from which they were casting. They weren’t expecting the Beard!). There are a few tricky hills and a good stretch of washout from the recent rains.
Did I mention Chew Toy Alley?
Rewind to a half mile north of the OPR/105th intersection where I was sucking a little wind due to the sun and hill combination. A quick pause for some water, then a leisurely pace for a bit to regroup. Oh Shit! About 6 pedal strokes into my recovery mile, dogs barking and running in on my position from all sides. Normally I don’t sweat the dog action too much, but these pups seemed serious. Serious enough to send me reaching for some gears and ‘sprinting off,’ barely missing the teeth of the pack leader. I felt the wind and fur of these little potential tire-chewers brush past my non-drive side leg. It was pure luck they were coming from the front and not the rear, my luck may have turned sour had they not missed and tried the quick turn around.
Fast forward back to the bridge…
Bridge, then cross I-80, then on to the last 20 hills before a couple frosty Fat Tires at the Rondo. Great ride. The plan was to head back south, pick up G14 and shoot over to the Cumming Tap, but I decided instead to head towards DSM and the Great Closed Greenbelt Trail. About 2 miles outside of Strip Mall Alley, aka Waukee, I ran into (or nearly ran into) what seemed to be a denizen of my home turf, Aero Bar Alley. This lil guy was stopped smack dab in the middle of the trail inspecting his carbon viber Tri-bike complete with Aero Bars quite quizzically and seemingly impervious to any words shouted through beards. After a few warnings, the Carbon Viber looked up and just in time for a scornful “get off the trail, buddy” from yours truly. I continued on for a few more miles, blowing by hybrid-palping 30-somethings and their children. As I entered the very heart of Strip Mall Alley, I passed a couple on road bikes only to notice a wee little shadow inches from my much larger shadow. It was the Viber, back on his bike, and thirsty for revenge. Or maybe he just wanted a good 20+ pull from a rolling plywood sheet. Viber pulled up, and I embarrasingly attempted conversation knowing I had just been an ass and ole Viber was about to wrap those words up in lycra and ram them down my throat with the aid of his Aero Bar Tongue Depressor.
“Oh, you havin trouble back there?”
“Yeah, my brake was rubbing”
*Insert out of breath boring story about my brakes*
Insert the Viber’s non-plussed look.
“Ok, well have a good ride, CARRY ON!”
And carry on he did. I was rolling my 250lb self and 30lb gravel bike shod with Cross Tires down the trail at about 24mph. The Viber took his 15lb Tri Bike and 140lb self, hunched down, and dropped my ass faster than a hipster fad. Oh, but the Viber didn’t impress, nor did he get far. I paced him from about a half mile back until a right-turning SUV about put the kybosh on the day’s ride. I wonder if they were in cahoots? Hmmm…
Abridged end of ride: Bridge closed at 128th. Big Surprise. Rode south to Ashworth then on the Charlie’s Filling Station and then home. I managed to miss my dinner target (Philly’s Finest) thanks to my drag race with the Carbon Viber and was beyond hungry. FINALLY I got to eat.
Ride Toll: Rear Hub pretty much cashed, a smidge of dignity lost (not as much as my last encounter on that trail where an old guy dropped me, I couldn’t catch up, then realized my wheel had pulled a little and was griinding on the brake pad. Don’t worry, old guy on the Masi, we will meet again!)
Not a bad ride.
Coming up next week: PHIGG 2! Are you ready?