74 Days…Almost Dog Lunch/Incidental Intervals

Yesterday I made a few adjustments to the Vaya, including shedding those swampy Continental Touride 42 monstrosities for my current preferred craws setup, Ritchey Speed Max 32 rear, Kenda Small Block 8 32 front.  Then it was test ride time.

I headed south to army post road, then west to Pine, popped on the GWT for a mile to hit the lean to for a 4square check in (fatbike would have been nice there), and on to Adams.  The road conditions were nice and solid, and the Vaya was rolling like a champ on top of its new rubber.  Then I noticed something odd.  There seemed to be a lot of “free range dogs” out on Adams, and not at the best spots for your chubby narrator to sprint away safely.

Time for Incidental Intervals

Incidental Intervals – Unplanned intensity training due to circumstances happened upon during the course of a low intensity ride

Incidentals come in many form, the safest being succumbing to the urge to chase down and dust off slower riders on the bike trails, the most dangerous being trying to pace tractors manned by angry country folks with firearms on backroads.  My favorite of all time is being chased by dogs on gravel roads.  It used to be a thrill, with the dogs getting the element of surprise, but now that I have travelled most of my routes enough times to know where the “problem dogs” lie in wait, it is a simple fact of “Ok, here comes hill X, right over the top is an ankle-hungry canine.  Make sure to have enough speed to pull away from the chase.”  This day was a little different.  There were four new problem houses within 5 miles.  One of those dogs was on the bottom half of a very long and steep climb.  fuck.  The others were very little problem to drop, chasing me down the gravel with all the zeal of a nearly-retired government office worker (no offense to that group, but you know you don’t move with much purpose).  This guy was different.  It’s as if the little pooch knew he had me in a jam (and judging by the fresh looking, swerving cross-tire track in front of me, I wasn’t the first victim of the day) and was not about to stop without a little leg-lunch.  I was in the big ring, hammering up the side of Mt. Mutt, hoping I didn’t get a mechanical during the sprint.  Dog face gave up just before the crest, I gave up about half way up the next hill.  Yeah, I was scared. So what?

The rest of the ride was a little faster paced due to that little fanged wake up.  I ended up with 58.24 miles in just under 4 hours (half road, half dirt).  I stopped for a recovery beer (Liter of Spaten Dunkel) and some Jambalaya and reflected on the difference in performance on my modified Salsa.

I think we are done discussing which bike is going to TIV8.  In fact, It is most likely going to make an appearance at CIRREM next week.  See you there.

CNB

BRTB “Buss Ride To BRR”

Last Saturday marked the thirty-something running of the two-wheeled bull um…run…known to the greater world as BRR or, the Bike Ride to Rippey.  This ride came from humble beginnings, with a few souls braving the brutal Iowa February winter weather to go out for a little bike ride from Perry to Rippey.  Some years it is below zero, windy, and just a handful of riders participate.  Other years, like 2009, it is in the 50s and more than a thousand people come out to party.  Regardless of the weather, the bars of Perry are filled not only with

blah balh blah.  whatever.  You get the point.  BRR: cold February ride.  got it.

A few years ago a man by the name of Steve had this great idea.  BRR isn’t really THAT challenging (the ride from Perry to Rippey and back is about 26 miles), so why not do something like ride gravel from DSM to Perry.  Great Idea.  This year was the fourth running of the GRR2BRR, and would have been my second.

The weather took a huge turn south on Friday, and I was pretty perplexed as to what bike would be the best for the job (which would probably have been my still-unfinished Fargo project).  I had company at home, watched a movie then realized it was after 1 am.  Shit.  I had to pull out of my house by 5:30 am to make it to Steve’s house for the start of the gravel ride.  Of course, I woke up at 7.  They were leaving at 7:30.  Shit.  Time for plan B.

Plan B involved trying to squeeze some 2.1’s onto the Vaya and hauling ass on the trail system to try to catch up with the GRR ride.  Plan B fell quickly by the wayside.

Plan C put me on the Bar Fly bus with no intention of riding a bike whatsoever.  I conferred with a friend who was also taking the bus, and it was decided that leaving the bikes at home was completely acceptable.  I gathered my party partner and headed towards the “Bus Depot”.  (Party Partner had also had plans fall through, so it was officially on)

Ride Report

Fireball got the holeshot, with a whole bottle being finished within three laps around the bus.  This was not an endurance pace day.  After the first bottle went down, the “Pit Bottle” was unleashed and a few more hot laps ensued.  Beer was flowing, then we hit the first barrier.  My “purple drank” four loko was opened and quickly rejected by almost every bus rider.  This left me, party partner, and two other people holding the tail of this grape flavored dragon.   We were about a quarter of the way to Perry.

Things slowed down and the field settled into a sustainable pace.

Okay, I am getting bored again.  So we get to Perry and see a bunch of friends, meet some new friends, and I got assaulted with snowballs and more beard questions/comments than usual.  I understand, the comments flow more freely the colder or hotter it gets.  (Colder=I wish I could grow a beard like that, Hotter=Doesn’t that thing get hot?)  I found the remaining contingent from the GRR2BRR ride, which numbered FOUR.  I knew I had made the right decision.  They GRR folks looked exhausted.  (okay, I had actually made the wrong decision as every mile counts between now and the TI).  We had some fun, then headed to Bouten.

Bouten brought skittles and a wild game of Flippy Cup.  I had never played this game, but since I have spent the greater part of my life being bored and flipping things over (you should see how I amaze convenience store clerks with my ability to flip a cigarette pack into my hand), I was a natural.  Party partner DID have to explain the rules (thanks for attending college, Party Partner) and the first round I messed up, but it was smooth sailing after that.

I don’t have the slightest idea what happened after that.  I think we went back to Des Moines.  I am pretty sure I ate a steak burrito at Abelardo’s.  I do remember waking up sometime in the middle of the night lecturing my cat on how much I hate it when he touches me in my sleep.  Not like THAT.  He kept trying to lay on my legs.

All in all, it was a great not ride.  We all had a good time,  everyone made it home safe.  Thank you Mace, Bill, and the Bar Fly bus for a great time…and saving me from sitting at home whining about not making it to BRR.

CNB

92 Days…Gravel Insomnia

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92 days from now, at this very hour, I will be lying awake in my hotel room in Grinnel, IA waiting for the clock to strike 1 a.m.  My alarm will not be going off until 2 a.m., but I am 100% certain that the excitement of being mere hours from the 4 a.m. roll-out of Trans Iowa V8 will be running so high that any hope of sleep between the Friday night meet up and whenever I finally stop for a patented Power Hour nap somewhere past Checkpoint 2 is non-existent.  My T.I.V8 travel partner/pep squad/rescue unit will be up along side me, and most likely counting down the minutes until they can return to the room and finally get some rest. 

How can I be certain?  Because it has already been happening, it’s happening right now.  I am laying here writing about it counting down the minutes until I start tonight’s overnight training ride attempt (attempt because I have been sick all week, not sure if I will make it far) at 1:30 a.m.

I have to go suit up now, everyone else get some sleep.