Sunday, March 18, 2012

A.J. Turner's First Full Century

I envy Austin's spring break! Here's a report from him about his first full dirty century.

After giving my road bike a bunch of boring pavement love, and hearing too much grief from the Venteichers for not completing a full 100 mile gravel century yet, I set out on my spring break in Iowa City to check one off.
Not a lot of excitement, just a ride featuring; A few back and forth runs on the Herbert Hoover Nature Trail, a few laps around McBride Lake on the grass and sand, fording a  river, a few B-Roads, some great Iowa gravel, a bit of night riding, and the discovery of a road named "Turner Ave" and "Dingleberry Rd". All of it was great, and totaled for ~105 miles.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jared Morford's CIRREM Report and Shameless Plug

Jared Morford, my coworker and friend, felt that he needed to keep up with the rest of ya and give us a report on his CIRREM ride. Also, the Iowa Games Gravel Race should be a metric century that takes place somewhere around Ames or Boone. Stay tuned for details, and mark your calendars.

So my second year of CIRREM went better than the first year.  The first year I owe my finish to Craig Irving for riding with me. It is something I have never forgot.

I have rode alot since last CIRREM so I was excited for the ride and thought it would be substantially easier than the year before. IT WASN'T!  I'm beginning to think CIRREM is a love-hate type thing.  I love CIRREM before and after the race and I hate it during the race.  As of now I am making that generalization off two years of riding. Of course i will have to ride CIRREM next year and probably the year after to see if I continue to feel the same way. That's all I got...

Shameless promotion...

July 7th I'm the race commissioner for the Iowa Games Gravel Race.  In order for it to be a great success I invite all of you my fellow Cup O' Dirt riders to come and race/ride.  I also hope you will invite all of your friends who gravel grind to come with you.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Austin Turner's Spring Break Chase

Austin was very excited to send me this update. I can only hope that he's been cruising around on his bike the rest of this extremely beautiful week here in Iowa.

I realize it's late, but I quite literally JUST hopped off the bike and am just very excited about this update to my Cup o' Dirt chase...I couldn't wait.
Here it is:

Sitting in class on the Friday right before the week of spring break is always agonizing. I was overhearing numerous stories of travels to the beaches and sand and sun from my fellow students in class. Unfortunately, My spring break plans revolve around racing my bike, riding my bike...working and staying in Iowa City for the most part.
Right as my class got out at 2 p.m. - I raced home to go find sand for myself...On good ol' Iowa gravel roads.
I originally only set out for just a quick spin in the gravel...but after a few hours of having way too much fun, and relishing in the fact that I was out on a beautiful clear night with full lights...I kept going.
A quick and dirty mapping of the ride puts me at about 85 total miles with 68 of it on gravel (Spring Break Iowa Sand). Chalk that up for my 3rd metric.
6 and a half hours in the saddle, and a great start to my spring break.

A.J. Turner

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Craig Irving's Updateapalooza

Craig sent this to me to get us up to speed on all he's been doing for the Cup O' Dirt. Maybe next time we'll get a picture of a pig in high heels riding a Moonlander around the icy rings of Saturn screaming the lyrics to a Journey song. And yes, that is a challenge to you, Craig. You can pick the lyrics...

A lack of creativity this evening means I just have a picture of my navigator for you fine folks.  I promise to have a few more drinks in the bloodstream for my next update.  Anyway, down to it...

Feb 12th: (Metric)
Took the Pugs out for a gravel metric with Charles, which ended up being more tiring than I expected.  Hit a few snow covered B roads, plus one that was good ol' Iowa mud.  I was worn down enough from riding the fatty that I swung by the house at mile 55 to switch to the single speed.  We had enough gravel in by then to round out the metric on the pavement. 

Feb 19th: (Metric)
Spent the day doing laps on the steep rollers south of town.  Round and round and round... 

Feb 25th: (Metric)
CIRREM!  Icy crash fest turned into a slushy, muddy slog.  Lost my highest and lowest cog, shift cable kept getting stuck, rear brake froze up, had to stop a couple times to knock off the concrete building up on my bike.  I loved every minute of it.  Trimmed 40 minutes off of last year's time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A.J. Turner's CIRREM Report

I'm sure scraping all of the mud from one's bike and clothes could fill many a Cup O' Dirt. Austin/A.J. Turner had this to say about CIRREM. Riding to the race is the best way to impress the hell out of people while also getting a good warmup.

This addition to my chase might as well add some ice to the cup o dirt.

For the February Metric Century, I participated in the CIRREM race put on by some kind bicycle folks in Des Moines. The race was tough...Conditions on the gravel changed drastically throughout the day. I decided to head out from my parent's house in West Des Moines and take the trails out to Cumming where the race started for a little warm-up. It's a bicycle race, why wouldn't we just RIDE our bicycles there, eh?

Most of the trail was covered in ice and snow - I figured this was good prep for the conditions we would see on the race course. These large amounts of snow and small patches of ice paled in comparison to the conditions out on the race course gravel, however. The first 20 or so miles of the race were pure sheets of ice. Left and right riders, were going down, including yours truly - twice! After bruising my hip and a good deal of knee pain, I settled into what would be a long day on the bike. The race was well supported with plenty of cookies and PBR at the half-way. I enjoyed both. From there, the temperature rose and the gravel turned very sloppy. Sections of wet clay stopped all shifting and added pounds on the bike. I was glad to be gaining mud everywhere instead of ice-skating.

Total ride distance for the race was about 64 miles...with my added "Warm-up" ride to the race, I put in around 80. My race time was about 5 hours.
Upon arriving home, I was told by my mother that I had to change mud in the house. I gladly obliged - a small price to pay for a fun day in the saddle on ice, gravel, clay, mud and plenty of dirt to fill many cups.

- A.J. Turner
The Cup O' Dirt chaser's official uniform.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CIRREM According to Charles Showalter

I'm sad that I didn't get down to CIRREM this year because I had to work and also because I didn't sign up in time. Thankfully, Charles Showalter (and a bunch more of you, I'm sure) was able to make it and provided this fine report of what always ends up being a sloppy ride through some wicked hills. Enjoy.

I did CIRREM today. It put the hurt on me. It was icy and slick at the start, then when it warmed up it seemed like it went from icy to sloppy in about 30 minutes. At about the 40-mile mark it was really sloppy and hilly. By the time I got through that five-mile tough stretch I was smoked and my bike looked like this. Aside from getting worked over, it was really fun. This was my first full-blown gravel race. I enjoyed the atmosphere, food, and drink. Take it easy,

Part of the fun of CIRREM is cleaning your bike afterwards, right?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Charles and Craig on the 19th of February

Charles Showalter and Craig Irving teamed up for another metric on February 19th. Here's what Charles had to say about it. I love the photo!

Craig and I rode a metric yesterday. We went to the hilliest stretch of roads in our area and rode loops and figure eights. Each lap was about eight miles. We rode until we were close to a metric, and then parted ways and rode home. I was toast by the time we split up. It was a good ride though, and perfect weather. Take it easy,


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Venteichers and Grelk Team Up

Andrea sent me this update that includes a cameo by Dennis Grelk, the first person to ever complete the Cup O' Dirt in all three categories (12 metrics, 18 full in one year). Knowing Dennis, I bet he went for a short swim after the run, too...

Howdy!  Lee and I had a guest this weekend--the great Dennis Grelk!  We tried to wreck him by taking him on a ridiculously hilly metric up towards New Albin.  Dennis actually showed some sign of wear by the end, in that he did not insist on going for a 5-mile run after we completed the ride (whew!).  My legs are utterly thrashed thanks to Moore Hill road, among others.  Anyway, that means that Lee has 2 metrics and one full for Feb, and Andrea has 1 full and one metric for Feb.  Thanks again for letting us play!

Andrea Venteicher

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Charles Showalter's 2/12 Metric

Charles Showalter and Craig Irving are teaming up to ride a bunch of Cup O' Dirt rides this year. Don't be surprised if they show the rest of us up! Gotta love the tooling around at the end of a ride to get the full mileage - I've made plenty of trips to the store for recovery food to round out my metrics.

Craig and I rode a metric yesterday. Craig rode his Pugsley and I rode one of his mountain bikes. We left Mount Vernon and rode a sand bar along the Cedar River, then headed southeast into Cedar Bluff, east towards Tipton, north into Mechanicsville, and then back west. Somewhere northwest of Tipton we found an area with a bunch of B roads. This photo is from a spot where two intersecting gravel roads both turned into B roads. That's Craig in the intersection. We ended with 62.1 exactly, including some tooling around to get a metric. Take it easy,


Friday, March 9, 2012

Andrea Venteicher's Beastly Century

Andrea Venteicher and her husband Lee are both chasing the cup this year. Here's what she had to say about one of her February rides.

Hey! I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that my husband is trying to outdo me.  But I am not to be outdone! I rode a Full on a chilly, sunless Feb 5th down through Postville, Elgin, Clermont, and Ossian. Highlights included nonstop hills, Great Owls Club road, and a hillbilly totem pole on Beechnut road with a collection of Pabst cans filled with tobacco spit scattered around it (see attached--the carcasses are mainly deer, with one poor snapping turtle that apparently ambled into buckshot range). Why just mount antlers when you can mount the whole rotting head (or turtle)? Congrats to all who did the Arrowhead--you guys are beasts!
Andrea Venteicher
You see some interesting, uh, culture out on gravel roads in Iowa.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Austin Turner's Triple D Report

I asked Austin Turner to provide me with more details about his Triple D winter race, and he furnished me with this lovely report and photo. Thanks, Austin! More to come from him in an upcoming post.

A.J. Turner January Metric Century Report:

Triple D was an excellent race, and an even better way to get in my first metric gravel century of the year. The first 20 or so miles of the race proved brutally hard with more hike than bike, but soon I found myself in the front group. After a quick attack, up hill, I slipped away from the group and was sitting in a comfortable 2nd place - chasing and gaining on 1st. Either delusion or bonking set in, however, and I got lost for about 2 miles (It's easy to do in fields where everything is white with snow!). Realizing my mistake, I re-routed and set in for the last half of the ride (mostly into headwind on the heritage trail) clawing my way back to a 3rd place finish. Overall the race route was for 64 miles, but I estimate I rode 66~. Good enough for me with a total ride time of 6 hours and 45 minutes. The best part; It was my first time riding a fat bike on the snow, and it was even a borrowed bike!

Attached is the only photo I have...No time for photos - RACE MODE! (Although I did have enough time to stick my tongue out at the camera).

A.J. Turner
Proof that Fat Bikes are Fun Bikes

A Whole Stack of Updates

Hey there, chasers. I've been traveling/slacking a lot this past month, so there's a huge stack of updates for me to put up on the blog. Instead of shooting them out all in one go, I'm going to try something different and do an update every day for the next week. Stay tuned for that. My challenge to you is to provide me with a few more updates, so that we have a steady stream of them for all of you to read and enjoy. Sound good? Good. Send me your rides at