55 Days…Can I Get A Ribness?

(new, improved smaller font action today should ease the amount of scrolling.)

One week ago at nearly this exact moment I went down on the ice at CIRREM for the second time that day, culling the pain gods from their roosts (although maybe those were just some sort of regular bird) not-so-high above.  Bruised ribs, knee, elbow, shoulder bruising, a little blood, and some dashed hopes all came crashing together as beard met ice and rock.  Seven days in I have made little progress.  My doctor gave me no physical restrictions, so I did a little riding to the tune of a whopping 25 easy going miles.  Oddly, I hurt less when on the bike than when I am lying dormant on the couch…my ribs can hang freely without the pressure of rolling a heavy body from side to side.  Sometime during the week I had a little sneezing fit and felt another “POP” in the old cage.  I think that was Thursday morning?  Hard to tell as I have been laid up on the couch with Netflix and my cat as my sole companions watching an almost seamless 24 hour a day lineup of bike and skate documentaries and wasn’t paying much attention to the time or day or really anything else.

All I could think about was the pain and TIV8

The Gents Race is coming up on April 7th, but it isn’t really much of a worry.  The course is on the easy/forgiving side with no real climbing challenges, just some mild rollers here and there with a mostly flat gravel terrain.  If the wind is kind this year (last year it was a little mean) and everyone on my team brings the right bike for the ride, we will be just fine.  In fact, due to this injury, I may actually be the weak link this time around.  I don’t like the thought of that, but it is a reality I may have to face when 4/7 rolls around.  Guys, I will do my best to be in ready mode…

So back to the pain and the TIV8.  The race “Meat Up” is in 55 days, with the start just a few short hours after that at 4 am.  I effectively have about 50 days left to train if I heal up enough to climb hills by next Wednesday.  I have been dreaming of this race for a few years, and not treating it with enough focus which is raising some pretty big doubts in my mind.  It is a terrible feeling to be physically unable to train for something you are officially entered in, and something which requires some rigorous training.  I now know, on a very small scale, how my good friend Steve felt when he had to spend time off the bike due to some nerve damage.  This is really frustrating…even more frustrating is knowing that I usually write these posts as a ruse to get you folks reading to call me out for being a whiny pussy and tell me to just go ride my fucking bike….but I can’t ride, not until I heal up some more, so your “words of encouragement” will be falling on gimp ears.

So that’s what I have going on right now.  Laid up in bed watching movies like “Ride The Divide” and wishing I could be out riding some kind of divide type thing.


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.