Excuse Me, Motorists…Just Trying To Share The Road Here

I have some news for all of you doom and gloom motorists who claim that “spandex clad bicyclists roam around like a blight on the Earth,” and the a-holes who proclaim in a public forum that if cyclists are holding them up on the road that they will “probably run them down.”  This also goes out to those of you out there who leave comments on local news sites echoing the same sentiments.  If you think that we, the cyclists, are a pox upon your roads…there may be a new “enemy” for you…

CCX Bladers on George Flagg Parkway!!!!!

I ride this road almost every day of the year that it is above water (and twice this year while it was under…much to the dismay of a now-deceased bottom bracket), and I have never encountered such shenanigans.  Three bladers with poles taking up the entire lane doing about 9 mph.  Swish, swish, back and forth, sticks clicking against pavement, moving almost as much laterally as forward these people decided to take their show on the road, a public road, creating a bit of a safety hazard for them.  I hope they made it to wherever they had destined without accident (and hopefully without being too haranged by angry motorists), and I apologize for the snicker I let out while passing by.  Maybe I should thank the three of you for potentially taking some of the heat off us cyclists?

Another hundred yards down the road I saw a discarded jump-rope.  I wonder what was going on there, an overnight jump rope marathon?  (sorry no pic, I was on the way to an appointment).

Anyway, that is about all for now.  I will hopefully have some good ride recaps coming up, the last few weeks I have done nothing but commute.  It gets pretty old.

Sam

Birthdays, Bikes, Tunnel Vision

Good evening, I hope those of you that participated in the Tunnel Ride Wednesday night had a great time and were as safe as possible.  I unfortunately did not make it down to the tunnels as I was serving sandwiches (and getting my party on) at the Cumming Tap.  Thank you to all of you who braved the one million degree heat and impending storm doom (and got to see some amazing lightning), hunkered down in your aero bars and made it all the way down to see Bob and get some good ole BBQ Braised Pork sandwiches.  An extra token of thanks to the brave souls who decided on the BBQ Tofu sandwich and to my buddy Joe for finally showing up, as he was the main reason for making the tofu.

I had the chance to meet and talk with quite a few new-to-me faces.  Everyone seemed to be having a blast despite the heat.  Again, thanks for making the night a great time.  So great, in fact, that yours truly didn’t even make it to the tunnel, which is about 1.5 miles from my house.

One more thing, a Super Huge Thanks to all of you for keeping the trail clean.  The only sign of the party was literally a sign…a “Happy Birthday” banner hanging above the tunnel entrance.

Sam

How Is Your (Car’s) Summer Going?

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It’s summer time and everyone has been talking about outdoors activities like swimming, hiking, fishing, camping, and the important one…Cycling. Le Tour has began, the Ragbrai is coming up quickly, the trails have been ripe with aero bars, and glove-tan abounds. We now have our Ingersoll Avenue Bike Lanes, which I have seen countless people utilize. We saw the debut of Artcrank, the cycling art show, in Our City out-debut other openings in places like Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis. All nationally recognized bike-friendly cities…and we out-cranked them. New Belgium has included us on their “Urban Assault Ride” tour. Cycling is looking good in Des Moines. Aside from our little bout with rain it has been a great cycling summer so far. But what I want to know is…

What has your CAR been doing this summer?

Has it been getting in more miles in than your bike? How many times a week does it go to work with you? Has it been driving the six blocks to the store every few days, or have you just been sayin “hi” to it as you pass by on your bike en route to a concert or to meet friends?

If you have the capability to commute by bike and don’t, you should really be thinking about how lonely your car should be during this warm months.

PHIGG 2 Ride Recap And Taco Time

Last Sunday was the riding of the official second installment of the Pink House Invitational Gravel Grinder. For those of you unable to be bothered to scroll down, the PHIGG is a Gravel FUN-ish ride from the Pink House (my residence) in Orelia to the Cumming Tap by way of some of Mid-Iowa’s most granular roads. The ride shoots for around 50 miles, although we have maxxxed out at about 24 so far (“Bagger Rules” apply, which means make-it-up-as-you-go). At the finish line of this little dandy of a grinder everyone is treated to a meal prepared by myself and Bob of the Cumming Tap.

Back to the ride…

About 10:30 there was a knock on the door. The first riders had arrived and I was only five bites deep into my bowl of Cheerios®! Two hoods were hanging on the front porch, Brian “Squirrel” Pottorff and “Quick” Rick Blackford. The ride turned drinky immediately, and I finally got to experience the brunch delicacy “Cheerios With Pabst.” A short skip down the timeline later, Bob Moural showed his shining face (it was really hot and everything had a bit of a shine to it), completing the official ride roster. Not a bad turn out for a 100 degree gravel ride on wet roads.
The four of us embarked on what would turn out to be quite an adventure which was meant to be a ride to The Rondevouz in Adel, IA then back to the Tap (I am pondering the creation of a new sport, “Adventure Drinking,” which would be regular Adventure Racing with the addition of beer. Kind of a fast moving endurance bagger party).
We spotted a big snapping turtle unwisely crossing the hot gravel road at about mile 2 which Rick and Bob decided to bunny hop-much to Mr. Turtles chagrin. Two miles later Blackford had enough of our slow moving shenanigans and dropped to head home. Ok, he actually thought the ride started earlier and had a tight time-constraint. Thank you for coming along, Rick.
Shortly after mile 5, my legs gave out. There have been many excuses thrown out there, but it was really just poor nutrition and lack of sleep. My bad. The slowed pace allowed for Pie-Crazed Brian to hunt for wild blackberries. Close to the Booneville turnoff we ran into the wonderful Terri, Brian’s wife, who was out doing her own gravel ride (major you-go-girl props) we had a nice social for a few minutes then parted ways with Terri…for the time being. We passed the turn for Booneville and headed down “half-pipe hill” towards Old Portland Road and our goal of Adel. At the top of the next hill, right next to the rooster/lamb barn, I picked up my first flat of the day. Yes. The FIRST. Flat got changed, then I made an important decision: Fשk Adel, we are going to Booneville.
The Booneville Waveland Tap sucked us in for a good time. Jerky, a few beers with good friends, a motorcyle poker-run, and the return of Terri (how many laps did you do that afternoon?) were some highlights of our stay. One of my favorite moments is the part of the movie where I asked our bartender if I could order some potato skins just to have her say “they don’t do those til night” and walk away. I watched my chance for nutrition crash and burn! Hilarious! After giving the Tap about $70 in business we all decided it was time to head towards Cumming and the Braised Pork Tacos and Jalapeno Corn that were waiting on our arrival. We grabbed some to-go’s and hit the road. The roads were still pretty saturated, not muddy, but soft and sandy, from the last two weeks’ rains and rode slow slow slow. Brian and Bob were way off the front around the time we made the turn onto Adams, or maybe I was just way off the rear. I picked up flat #2. Such bullshit! There was no riding on the rim in these conditions and I was out of tubes, so it was time for a walk. The guys saw me walking a short while later and turned back to help. We stopped at a farmer’s house to chill in the shade (the sun was brutal) and deal with this stinking flat tire. Moments later an older gentleman rolled up on a MTB. It was the man of the house, who was out getting a in few “around the block” miles. The guys chatted with him (I have forgotten his name) as I ate a pork chop and changed the tube. A few miles down the road we came to the turnoff for 30th street (mostly gravel road that connects Adams and G14) but decided to just hop the GWT to Cumming. I think we had all had enough at this point.
Upon our arrival at the Cumming Tap it was discovered that my lovely life-partner Julie had not dropped of the food that I had prepared and was still in Des Moines. Shit. This food thing was just not working out at all today. Brian decided it was time to get home, as I did shortly after. The tacos would have to wait until Tuesday.
Despite the technical and taco problems and extreme heat the ride was a success. Rolling down the back roads with friends is a great way to spend time. Thank you to Rick, Bob, Brian, and Terri for being part of the ride.

PHIGG will not be held in July as there are already enough cycling events going on. Hope to see more of you in August for PHIGG 3. It will be my birthday party, and you might want to be there!

There are pictures, but my phone insists they don’t exist. I will post some in an update as soon as I can.

Sam