Every year during Memorial Day weekend I have vowed to go ride my bike as far as I can, for as long as I can. This is a tour to push my spring limits, something to gauge what needs to be focused on for summer so that the fall gravel races are a little easier on the body than the early spring excursions. It could be fully bagged out, it could be a dirt bagging trip, it could be a “credit card” tour with support and hotel rooms. It could be anything, really, as long as there is a goal of at least 300 miles over the course of the four day weekend.
This is why it has earned the title of “The Good Intentions Tour”
The fully loaded Ti Vaya, a formidable touring rig but not something to ride 100 miles a day in heavy rain storms. I will not be using this rig for 2017’s GIT
The Good Intentions Tour is just that. It’s a set of intentions (outlined in P1) that are more like a limit than an intention. Last year I had decided that I was going to take an fifth day and ride a total of 400 miles. What actually happened was I chose to take my loaded touring bike, I started a day late and rode into intermittent rain storms, at fried chicken, got stuck in a shelter at a city park waiting out a storm, made it to the Night Hawk in Slater, IA drinking with a team of woo girls that were woo-ing their minds out inside a sheet metal shed which houses the back bar at the establishment. I rode north from Slater to Ames, IA, where I ended up in a hotel room as there were some very serious looking storm systems coming my way, then rode from Ames to middle-of-nowhere Collins, IA where I ran into BikeIowa.com founder Scott Sumpter randomly at a tiny bar, then rode to Cleverley Farms for the last historical Garlicpalooza. At Larry’s farm we had a blast, but the next morning it was blazingly hot and humid and I made it to a convenience store in Bondurant, IA where I ended up calling a sag for my last 12 miles as I could not get my body to act right. I don’t blame it, it had a reason to be hostile towards me. Three Days, 99.4 miles. I couldn’t even bring myself to ride around the steamy block to get to an even 100. I was done.
The fully loaded Ti Colossal, a killer self contained road-packing rig. I will be losing most of the bags and using this bad boy for GIT. At least I intend to. haha.
That is how it goes every year, first make a long list of good intentions, then say “fuck it” and just do whatever. This year I will have a partner in Intentions crime, who has vowed to ride one of the four days with me (sounds like a proper good intention), and will then pilot Kira as my support in my quest to ride at least 300 miles. I haven’t picked the bike yet, but I can tell you that it will not be my Vaya. Day 1 or 2 will be on the Java, and since there is support involved this year I will probably just pack a very stripped down Colossal for the solo miles. I can see this turning into a one day loop then a “tailwind tour” to wherever the time limit takes me.
No matter what happens, I am making my list of good intentions for this coming Memorial Day weekend. I’m looking at routes, plotting miles, and looking at where I can stick a tandem loop in the middle of all of this, in addition to working in some #vanlife with Kira, and also putting together a bail plan for when I give up on my intentions and just want to go home to my lovely vegan kitchen to eat something other than road food. That’s going to be the biggest challenge this year, spending 3-4 days on the road while still sticking to clean Vegan eating. We shall see how that goes, or if anything goes at all.
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)
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.