Thursday, May 31, 2012

Send Me Your May Reports

Remember that prize I was offering for the most Cup O' Dirt qualifying miles in May? Sure you do. Now, all I need is for everyone to send in their reports for the month so's I can tabulate things. Get me your reports ASAP after today, and win big!

Charlie and Pat Jenkins at the Cedar Cross 100

This ride sounds like a helluva lot of fun!
May 6 we rode the Cedar Cross 100, in Jefferson City MO.

116 miles. Mostly gravel, with about 10 miles of singletrack. The singletrack was a bit much for our "gravel grinder tandem". We ended up walking a bunch. Lots of soft mud & trails too tight to maneuver the tandem through. The gravel was GREAT! Lots of it, with plenty of good hills.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Charles Showalter's TI Report

One thing I want you to remember about Charles: he just really started riding gravel this year. And started chasing the Cup O' Dirt. Then finished Trans-Iowa in 6th place on his very first attempt ever. See what chasing the Cup O' Dirt can do for a person? Seriously, though, this is an amazing feat and Charles an amazing rider.

I finished Trans Iowa.  That gives me Cup O' Dirt centuries two, three, and four.  Those were also my second, third, and fourth gravel centuries ever.  Yay. 
I think everyone else's blogs and things have covered what was going on at TIv8 pretty well, so I'll try to tell you the things that I haven't seen mentioned, or that were unique to my ride. 
The last 50 miles were torture like everyone said, but for me, I also noticed that there was a 10- or 20-mile stretch with about 40 to 60 miles to go where the dogs were awful.  I didn't have the energy to sprint away from them like I usually do, which usually deescalates the situation immediately.  I don't know what the deal was.  Were these just overly aggressive dogs?  Were they not used to seeing things on the road at 4:00 in the morning?  Did I smell that bad?  One dog actually made mouth-to-leg contact, but didn't get it to sink in.
When I got to the secret checkpoint, which I was later told was in Attica, there was some 9- or 10-year-old girl there.  She was evidently a local, wandering around, hanging out at the checkpoint.  She didn't have any adult supervision, and it turns out she didn't even live in that town but somehow wound up there.  I don't really know what was going on.  What I do know is that this girl was telling us stories about her sister who is in prison, her dad who "gets in trouble when he drinks beer," and all types of other great stuff.  She was enjoying the free donuts and candy bars, and never stopped talking the entire time I was there.  It was really bizarre, but I was also laughing. 
I didn't see a single person or vehicle on the road from the time I passed the Braun brothers in the ditch (3:00 a.m.???) until I was about 12 miles from Grinnell (9:00 a.m.???).  I went through Melbourne early enough that no one even had lights on--it was like the town was deserted.  This was also bizarre. 
I fell over with about 40 miles left, bending my hanger, and keeping me in granny and second-to-granny gear.  If I downshifted my chain would get really tight and pop and whine like it was going to explode.  So I soft pedaled for the next 30+ miles (not that I had a ton of gas left anyway).  I got to the last B road, with 8 miles left, and started pushing my bike.  The smallest bit of mud was gathering on my tires as I pushed the bike along, but I thought nothing of it.  Then the wheels stopped turning, I looked down to see my derailer sucked into my spokes, and my heart sank.  Evidently the hanger was worse than I thought and the slightest bit of mud on my drive train put it over the top.  I spent about 30 minutes trying to do a SS conversion, and mostly my lack of mechanic skills prevented me from doing it.  But there was also my mental and physical state at this point--my problem solving and fine motor skills weren't the best right then.  So I had to walk/coast seven miles into town.  It really sucked, but I was also thankful for my situation.  I could have had that happen 30 miles into the race and been toast from the get go.  Or it could have happened 25 miles from Grinnell, dooming me even after going through all that torture.  But I made it. 
And Craig gets awesome points for having breakfast burritos waiting for me at the finish line--way cool. 
Overall, it was a pretty wild experience.  Tons of thanks to Guitar Ted and all the volunteers that put this on.  Countless man hours have to go into this thing.  It's really well run. 
I don't know if I'm down for another one.  I'll have to see how well I bounce back from this. 
I hope you're finding some time to enjoy the gravel.  It's been fun reading everyone else's updates.  Until next time, over and out. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Courtney Hilton's Mass Update

Courtney sent me this a while back, and I'm just now getting around to doing more Cup O' Dirt updates. This only covers his rides through March. Way to keep on it, Courtney.

Metric #2 Some more TI8 training
So Got a 75 miler in yesterday,  No wind, No snow, and 40 degrees by the end of the day.  Great January weather! I'm feeling a lot stronger after a couple weeks of training and I'm finally getting on my trainer :(  but I get a really good workout on it so I guess it's worth it. 

Metric #3 - Fixie Century
Got a 60+ gravel in with Chad then hit the pavement for some beers and finish the hundy 
Metric #4 Single speed test for Cirrem
I hit a good part of the Cirrem course to test out my gear ratio 38x17 
Metric #5
Cirrem IV
So Over all 4th Single Speed 45 overall and 4:58 Made my goal of under 5!
The morning started out with glazed ice everywere.  I watched in horror as I saw several riders eat dirt ahead of me.  I had a couple close one slid the back tire all over the place, however I'm pretty good at recovering rear tire slides ( I havent fallen this winter)  I also recovered a front tire washout on a downhill.  I slowed down a little after that.  After the first 20 miles It got better traction wise and a lot faster.  Then it got muddy and hilly.  I only had 5 minutes of pause time over all and made 4 stops (potty breaks) It was alot of fun...or thats how I choose to remember it. 
Metric #6
Gravel Century of the week
115 Miles of Gravel/Bike trails.  New Route though Dexter, IA spent a little exrta stop time navigating but still maintained 13.5 avg on the gravel.  Trans-Iowa is Close really close... 

Metric 7
I didnt write anything about this other than the milage so cant remember were I went to but I went there....

Metric 8
Following Squirrel on the pugsley to Earlham and back = Pain.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grotto Ride Report

I have my own ride report to add to the site. I went up to the Grotto of the Redemption on March 25th. I started out the day with Matt Maxwell, Jared Morford and Paul Jacobson. We rode up to Jewell together, and since they were doing a metric they split back to Ames. I had other plans. My lady and I had decided to finally check out what all the buzz about the Grotto was, so she took the car and camping supplies up to West Bend while I rode the distance from Ames. Ended up with 115 miles for the day and got to drink a nice cool beer and sit by the campfire after the ride. It was cool to ride up to the Grotto after dark, with the lights illuminating all of the rocks. The next day, our good friends Sasha Karcz and Allison Bair joined us to check out the marvel that is the Grotto. I'd highly recommend a visit if you haven't already, and the campgrounds/showers are marvelous. Here's a photo showing just how much love there is between me and the ol' ball and chain.

~Nick W.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pat and Charlie Jenkins Ride Reports

Here's a couple more from tandem chasers Pat and Charlie Jenkins. Bonus points for the night gravel!

Hey Nick,

We have a couple more full centuries to add to the chase: 
  • 4/22 - We rode a 130 mile route. Well over 100 miles of gravel & dirt, with a couple short sections of (gasp) pavement necessary to get to the next gravel. This route started in Pottsboro & went west to Marysville & back. These are our usual gravel roads.
  • 4/29 - Today we rode 110 miles, all new territory. I think this may be on our list for future riding. We started in Collinsville & went to just east of Forestburg & back. We wanted to get some night gravel in, so we waited until mid-afternoon to start.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Cup Chaser Brad Yearwood

We have yet another new face to the Cup O' Dirt challenge: Brad Yearwood. Here's what he had to say about his first qualifying ride (of the many to come, surely). I love the pavement to gravel ratio on this one!

First, thanks for hosting this unique challenge.
I was hoping to write about my first entry a little sooner, but oh well.  I rode my first metric of the year this past Saturday.  A little shakedown ride of the new tires and nutrition strategy on the gravel roads south of Omaha.  I also did several hill repeats on a fairly steep climb I found last week...something hard to find here in Nebraska.
There were also 2 quite intense unplanned "dog sprints".  Those always make a ride interesting...

All told, about 4.5 hours, 64 miles.  Approximately 50 feet of pavement.