Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Courtney's Two Cups

Well, Courtney Hilton has made it to the 12 metric mark. Way to go, man! With his 7 full centuries, this makes him the first person for 2011 to receive two cups. Here's what he had to say about the last two metrics:

Gravel Metric #11 (not the century I tried for)
I took off early this morning on my day off (I got Inventory day off!) with the goal of my 8th gravel Century for the year.  I could feel early on that wasn't going to happen.  I wanted to go to Pella today but I ended up at Lake Aquabi instead.  Good day on the bike even though it was a 9 hour metric (lots of stops).  Did I mention I saw the Google Street view car!  It followed me for a mile or so (hoping to be in some pictures) and then took off.

Metric #12
So on the first day of a juice fast it's always a good thing to go do an endurance ride right?  Still turned out okay though.

Drew Wilson's Update

I'll be giving Drew his Cup O' Dirt from 2009 and 2010 this coming weekend at Heck of the North. He's gotten a few in this year, too. The links in his post will take you to his own photos/writeup of the ride. You gotta respect that a few of his metrics just happened to be days of "running errands and commuting."

I spent a lot less time on gravel this year than in the last couple of
years.  Consistently putting in most of my bigger days on the road
throughout most of the spring and summer.  I think I also, overall, went
on less long rides.  Here is my current cup update with links to some of
my earlier write-ups.


1/6-  65 miles of snow covered roads/gravel.  Notes say that I rode hard
down the post office, hit some bike paths and then realized that if I
stretched my commute home a bit I could hit the Metric mark.

1/16- Triple D.  1st place non-snow bike.  Really fun duel with Ben
Shockey and his Pugsley (which I lost).
1/29- Another day of commuting and running errands that slipped over the metric mark.

2/26- CIRREM!

2/27- Gravel to Plainview and the Road Trip Bar and Grill in Dover.
Remember being VERY tired.

3/26 and 27- Spring Training Decorah.  I only made metrics both days.
Century day I got a sore back.

4/8-  Awesome ride over to Red Wing with Almanzo himself and Josh Kruck.
The next day we served wine, grapes, cheese etc. to the racers in the
Ragnarok 105.

5/1- B.A.L.L.S. Madison.  This was day 2, felt great!

6/13-  Copper Harbor trails etc..  I did a week of two-a-day rides up
there, this day was longest.

6/18-  Namakegon/Cable area trails, had to stop and ride hard on my way
back from the Keeweenaw


4/30-  B.A.L.L.S. Madison

5/14-  Almanzo Royal 162-  5th place finish.  Focus on shorter training
rides paying off?

6/4-  Dirty Kanza 200-  Too hot for me!

(8/13 Dairy Land Dare-  doesn't count, but if you don't mind pavement
this is an awesome ride.  It WOULD be gravel if it weren't in Wisconsin
where they pave everything.

9/24- Almanzo Gentleman's ride.  Doesn't get much better than this!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Craig Irving's Shameless Promotion

I was just about to finish up these updates, and then got this from Craig Irving. Go do this ride, it should be fun!

Crap, I've been slacking on my updates!  Hopefully this gets to you in time to make the latest batch.  I've got two more metrics to report, one on August 28th (84 miles) and one on September 11th (64 miles).  I don't have a Fake Richard pic for these yet, so instead I'll throw in this flyer as a shameless plug for my own ride.

Hope I'm allowed to do this :-)

65 mile night ride on October 15th everyone!  Leaving from my place at 7pm and returning around midnight.  Campfire and beverages to follow.  There may even be free food.  Details on my blog.

Metrics and Full for Nick Wethington

I have a few rides of my own to report. The first is a metric century that I got by riding up into Hardin County on August 21st. I went just south of Hubbard, then down to Colo and back to Ames. It was surely a hot one. I also did a bit of riding at one of Jared Morford's cyclocross training camps on the way out of town, so got a little of the Greenbelt in there.

The second is also a metric century, obtained on August 28th by riding from Ames to Seven Oaks on gravel, doing a couple of laps, then the return to Ames on gravel. I went with my friend/coworker Ross. The first lap at Seven Oaks was good and dry, and it was one of those first cool days we had after the heat dome was dismantled. It was overcast, and we were expecting some rain at some point during the day. Turns out, that rain started just as we were riding the second lap, and it made the trail a bit wet and muddy. Since we were both riding some new tires that we were excited to try out on different conditions, it made the perfect product test. I've never had two successive laps at Seven Oaks be so different.

I got a full century on September 7th. My girlfriend and I had started on a tour to Stewartville, MN via Decorah, and made it as far as Waverly before her knees decided that this particular cyclotour wasn't gonna end in Minnesota. So, instead of calling for help I decided to ride back to Ames and grab her Jeep. Started out at 9:11 am with cool weather and a light wind to my back. This 3-5mph tailwind helped to gently push me all the way home, and I successfully finished the fastest dirty century I've ever ridden, completing 100 miles in 7hrs 20min, and the entire 112.5 mile ride in 8 hours 10 minutes. Even though the tour was over, it was a great way to end it!

Today's Last JJM Story

I hope to space out these updates in the future, so that you'll be yearning for yet another one of Jared's Tales of Amazing Adventures on Gravel:
Hey dude,

I got another metric in. Well it was actually 61 miles followed by a ride to the coffee shop and back but all the same it was a metric's worth of riding. I rode down to hoped on the Heart of Iowa Trail rode into Slater caught the HTT then at X ave I headed towards Snus HIll Winery.  Unfortunately, they are closed on Monday. I didn't know that until I got there. Disappointed, I figured if I can't drink I might as well ride. So I decided it was a good idea to ride to Story City and go to my favorite Kum N Go in all of Story City.  When I got there I was greet by Logan, or at least that is what is name tag says,  who often greets me when I stop by.  This time he wanted to tell me about his Haro, which he later showed me because it was parked on the side of the building.  His bike was making a "clicking noise."  Perhaps the "clicking noise" was from the loose bottom bracket or the rear hub?  Either way both were extremely loose. First thing I did was make sure it didn't have an SRC sticker on the frame, it didn't I was relieved...  All the same Logan and I had a great bonding experience.

However, what annoys me more than anything is when I meet someone from the city who meets me at the intersection of a gravel road and says, "Hey, are you lost?"  I was going 16mph on gravel until I slowed down and you decided to stick your head out the window of your car compact car. How do I know it was someone from the city?  Because they were driving a compact car down gravel and there was no dust on their vehicle. Also, when a farmer pulls over in his dusty pickup he asks, "Where are you riding too?"  Any farmer knows if I'm silly enough to ride down gravel, I know or at least have a general idea where I am going.

It was a great ride! Last week, I went 80ish and the gravel was pretty much sand so a weeks worth of rain did wonders for the gravel north of Ames.

Aside from the Snus Hill being closed, the city slicker asking me if I was lost, the worst part was I had nobody to ride with, but sometimes even flying solo is awesome!

Wish I could have zoomed in with my phone, but this is a cool corner because over looks Story City and you can see a ton of wind turbines.

Since my tour to SD I really like looking at dead stuff on the road...

More Stories from Jared

Sit in your favorite chair by the fire for another story from The Book of Jared Morford's Swashbuckling Adventures:
August 28th in an effort to get my cup o dirt rides in I decided I would ride from Ames to Stratford. I would choose to go from Ames, to Story City, to Stanhope, to Stratford.  I figured if I went through some towns on the way there it would be fun and break up the ride. I thought it was about 65 miles so I figured it would be perfect, the weather was suppose to be warm but that doesn't bother me as long as i stay hydrated. Me and five friends rode from Ames to Story City on the Greenbelt trail and called it cyclocross practice.  At Story City we stopped at a gas station got drinks and chatted about bike nerd stuff, you know wheels and carbon stuff. Then we split up, me and a friend from the shop were going to make the 65 mile ride.

It was great, we were cruising along on hard packed gravel and made it to Stratford. My buddy was tired but he was doing fine. I felt great and probably over confident as usual. Up until this point the gravel was amazing! Nice and hard packed and we were talking how great the roads were and remeniscing about the two b-roads we went down.

The tides turn, I swear the wind changed and we now riding into the same head wind we rode to Stratford into... No biggie though, we are strong enough riders to deal with headwinds. Just quit whining and ride... But it got worse, once we got onto gravel and start heading southeast towards Ames the gravel was terrible. It wasn't gravel, it was said from being so dry.  On the way to Stratford, we were going 16-20 mph and having a blast! We could hardly maintain 13mph and I couldn't find a hard packed line to save my life. Once climbing a hill a quarter of a mile west of highway 17 mile rear wheel washed out climbing a hill and I got off my bike and walked no only the hill but the next quarter mile to the highway. I was hoping to get a little rest as well better gravel on the other side. Not the case. Not until about 15 miles Northwest of Ames did the roads get hard packed again.

Despite all of that, it was a great ride. I got to ride on a beautiful day with great friends. The moral of the story is, "Don't Ride Gravel in Boone Country!"

I did take a picture of the B-road street sign we went down at 370th and Queens.  The other b-road we went down a couple more miles northwest was a b-road then a road that had been returned to the farmer... that was a pleasant surprise...

Storytime from JJM

I once asked Jared to send me lengthier updates than "Stanope>Story City and back. Have a good weekend Your friend Jared". I got what I asked for!

So since you wanted to me tell a story here goes.

So when I was deployed in Iraq one of my return home war things I wanted to do was ride from Ames, IA to Watertown, SD which happens to be the town I grew up in.  It has been three years in October since I returned home and riding home was all that was left on the list. So I did it!  It was great, lonely, but great! I sang alot of songs that I don't want to admit to knowing the lyrics to. The first two days i rode 200 miles 170 of those miles were gravel. That was fun but I had 350 miles to from Ames to Watertown and I was worried riding gravel would fatigue me. So the last two days of the trip were paved highways.

My favorite part of the tour was being surprised by the Three Rivers Trail. Starting in Eagle Grove, IA I rode it to Rutland which was at least 25 miles. It was a complete surprise that this tremendously under used crushed limestome rail to trail path was part of my route. I let google be my navigator... overall that was a bad idea.  On the trail I saw five people in 25 plus miles. It was great! It was the kind of trail you dream of because you have it to yourself, but as an avid cyclist you realize you need more riders riding. What a quagmire.

I took some fun photos and did alot of filming, I am hoping to make a video of the ride which is still being worked on. When the video is completed I will get Nick to put it up on the site or get him the youtube link.

Matt Maxwell Joins the Chase!

Matt Maxwell, who many of you surely know, has decided to attempt a cup or two this year. He's earned his share of cups in the past, and drinks his coffee from one daily at our mutual place of employment. It's been broken twice (and re-glued) by our boss, so he needs another one for the workplace. Here's what he has so far:

I'm throwing my hat in the ring.  As you can see I haven't been making stellar progress.  A lot of that is because my focus is shifting away from cycling to running and skiing.  If the judges allow I'll add my run/walk of the Arrowhead (double metric?).  Otherwise I don't know if I'm going to make it this year. 

CIRREM (63 miles)
Memorial Day weekend back to back (62 miles x2)
Trans Iowa (shortened ~80)
Gentleman's Race (~65)
To GTDRI (134 miles, let's count this as a double metric)
Back from GTDRI (101 miles)
24 Hours of Seven Oaks (104 miles)

That's 7 metrics and two full.
If you read carefully, you'll see that Matt wants to add his run/walk from the Arrowhead (135 miles in the -40 degree temps of northern Minnesota in January/February). What do you think? I'll leave it to the people. I will say this, even if it influences the judges: if a person can run/walk/ski/crawl the same distance on dirt/gravel/snow that you can do on a bike, maybe we should count it? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

A Few More from Courtney

Here's your somewhat monthly Cup Chase Update! Courtney Hilton sent me a few more of his rides from the end of July/beginning of August:

Metric #9 was on the tandem with my daughter riding up to Ragbrai
And Century #7 was the Guitar Ted Death Ride in Tama County

Both really hot days but a good time non the less.

Metric #10 Yesterday(August 11th).  74 miles of mud, sand, gravel, RR tracks, b roads, atv trails.... Great Pugsley Adventure