Monday, July 30, 2012

Craig Irving's Update and Moonshine Metric 2 Plug

 I spent a little time with Craig last week riding some of the sweet trails at Sugar Bottom (get it?). I showed up to find him dressed in the attire you see here. As you can also see from the poster for the Moonshine Metric Boogaloo, this appears to be his normal attire. Well, we all gotta do something special. Craig did indeed ride as shown, though he had a helmet on. Can you tell that lifting all of those Cup O' Dirt mugs makes you buff? The farmer tan is an unintended side-effect of the awesomeness.

First off:  The update.  Two weekends ago I participated in The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and by "participated in" I mean "tested the limits of the no drop rule".  Apparently I spent too much time this summer riding the couch and not enough time riding the bike.  I made it halfway through before pulling the plug, which was good enough for a metric. 
Now to the nitty gritty.  On September 29th I will once again be hosting the Moonshine Madness Gravel ride, a 65 mile gravel grinder out of Mount Vernon, IA.  What's so special about it, you ask? 
It's run entirely at night. 
Sound exciting?  Well I invite all you Cup O' Dirt folks to join me on this little adventure.  For more info, check out the website at

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nick W. Updates and 2011 Cups

I've got a couple rides to report for myself. I did a metric on July 4th to celebrate America. I also got to celebrate the discovery of the Higgs particle (or a particle that is new that has qualities which would be expected of the Higgs, to be pedantic). Yay for that and fireworks! Took the single-speed 29'er up the Greenbelt trail north of Ames, then went to 7 Oaks for a full lap. It started to get too hot to be comfortable, so I busted it back to Ames. 75 miles, mostly on gravel or singletrack. Finished by soaking my head in the water from the hose in the front lawn. That was freaking amazing.

My other metric was the Iowa Games Gravel Grinder. My friend and fellow Cup O' Dirt chaser Jared Morford held this event on July 7th. I was feeling pretty fast and had enough supplies for the whole 72 miles, so was able to lead the pack until my legs cramped at about 55 miles in. Matt Maxwell had been biting at my wheels for most of the race, so took the opportunity to pass me for the win. I still managed a 2nd place finish, and it was a helluva course that took us around Ames on some of my favorite roads and hills. You should make it a point to enter next year's race! After finishing, I took a quick shower and headed into work for a few hours. Needless to say, the beer after work that night tasted delicious.

A scant two days after this metric, I headed down to New Harmony pottery to pick up the 2011 Cup O' Dirt cups. Russ Leckband, who made these beautiful cups that I've been handing out, is pictured below.  New Harmony does a lot of pieces for the Iowa State Fair, so check them out if you're down there shoving deep-fried twinkies into your face. Here's a few shots of the studio, located near Earlham, Iowa. All the 2011 recipients, I'll be in contact to get you your cups if I haven't already.

Russ Leckband, showing off his hard work.

My cat Frisbee loved the paper that the cups were packaged in. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Andrea's Hot July

I've been trying to do all my riding in the mornings these past few months before the heat gets ridiculous. Looks like this summer hasn't been the best for glorious afternoon rides. But hey, any day on the bike is better than a day not on the bike. Or something. Anyways, on to Andrea's update and photos.

The heat nearly killed me this month, as I expected it would.  I dreaded July more than January, and I was not disappointed.  Got in a Full on 7/12/12, and a Metric on 7/15/12.  Nothing too interesting to report besides feeling like a chinchilla, taking dust bath after dust bath (screw you, Schwans man, passing me like, 40 times).  Came across two free range goats in Echo Valley state park, and a sign that made me very philosophical (at least during my near-heatstroke and hyponatremia):  all pavement eventually does end, doesn't it?  And that's where things start to get awesome.  
Everyone stay safe out there in the heat!  Here's to hoping that August is ridiculously cold, or at least that Kwik Star continues to let me fill my CamelBak with ice for free.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Steve Fuller's Cheq 100

This sounds like it was a great time! Sad I missed the suffering...

Two weeks off of finshing the DK200, my Dos Niner and I headed up to northern Wisconsin for the Chequamegon 100 mountain bike race. 100 miles of CAMBA singletrack linked with fire roads and Birkibeiner ski trail. Cool and kind of wet most of the day (high of 72). Rain started about 90 minutes in and came on and off for the next 3 hours. Wet fire road sand and mud had riders and their bikes colored black and making weird noises. I finished with a time of 12 hours and 25 minutes. Definitely not as fast as this years winner (sub 9 hours). but I felt good just finishing. Long, hard day on the bike. A lot more challenging physically and mentally than this year's DK200.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Brad Yearwood's 2nd Century

Brad Yearwood is still plugging away at the metrics and centuries. Here's what he had to share with us from June so far:

It's been a couple weeks, but I completed my second full century at the Westside Dirty Bnejamin in Minnesota on the 16th.  Much, much flatter than my previous century which trnaslated to a personal best of 7:40.

No flats on this one either.  Good times. Good gravel.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Venteicher May/June Ride Report

Andrea sent me a mass update of the chase 'round the Venteicher homestead. Enjoy!

Howdy--i kind of missed the part about updating my May rides, so I'll just do a combined May/June email.  I quite proudly conquered the Crazy Corners full century, plus a metric version of it (rained out and rescued in Caledonia, MN, by my dear sweet husband who was watching the storm roll toward me on radar as I was blissfully unaware) in May.  This route is especially cool because it hits 3 states all in one ride--Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  It's also got a legitimate 9,813 feet of climbing according to my Garmin, which was, um, special.  On this ride i rescued a baby rattlesnake, a Polyphemus moth, and a baby Ouchita Map turtle from being run over!  (I used a chopstick technique to rescue the rattlesnake.)  I'm trying to accumulate good Karma so that perhaps I won't get run over, either.  
June had a full century down to the Sny Magill wildlife area in Clayton county (or, the "Cerulean Trench", according to bird geeks), and included a nod to the Confederacy with a trip down Jefferson Davis road (turns out he was part owner of a sawmill around here prior to his Civil War days--who knew?).  This ride had a meager 8314 feet of climbing.  Got to herd a 5-foot long Black Ratsnake out of the road.  Also got to "draft" the freaking road grader for about 16 miles into a headwind as they laid down new, right off the dump truck, gravel.  Mmmmmm.  Today had a metric to Cresco; no animals needed rescuing.
So that puts Andrea at 6 Full and 6 Metric for the year, sticking to the two-in-each-month paradigm.  And, HAH, suckah--Lee failed to do any centuries in either May or June because of this "racing" crap, so he's got some catching up to do in the fall!  I'm pretty damn proud of myself that I've got over 1000 gravel miles in my legs (plus a helluva tan) this year, and I'm only half done!  And who knows what animals I'll rescue from traffic next?  Badgers?  Whales?  Wolverines?
Thanks again for the chase!

I'm a very upset Ouachita Map turtle!!

This is a cool bluff/bridge combination along the Upper Iowa river near Bluffton, IA

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Austin Turner's June Ride Report

Austin makes his rides sound like such lovely little mini-vacations. Always happy to hear that somebody is out enjoying the dirt! Here's what he had to say about a few rides in June:

After giving my road bike some love on Saturday at the Rose Festival Road Race in Bangor, Iowa on June 16th - I switched gears to gravel for the next two days. 
Rode some new greasy and slick B-roads leaving Iowa City on Sunday June 17th with an awesome stop at the Amana Colonies for some delicious brew. More crazy B-roads on the way home for a solid metric of gravel. 
The next day on June 18th was slightly different, with a lot of single track on the 'Cross bike and miles upon miles of rolling gravel hill bliss for another solid metric of gravel.
Decent extended weekend of cycling and two more metrics for myself. Thanks again for the chase!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Steve Fuller's DK Report

All of the reports from this year's Dirty Kanza 200 make me wish I'd picked the last two years to chicken out, and made the trip this year! Heat exhaustion is the gift that keeps on giving, folks. Steve Fuller had this to rub in, er, report from earlier in June:

Finished the DK200 in 14:41:00. 202.5 miles. Beautiful weather. 52F at the start, 84F for a high. It was really nice finishing while the crowds were still there an cheering. Definitely heading back next year for attempt #5.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2011 Cups Are Finished!

Great news, everyone! The 2011 Cup O' Dirt cups are finished and I am going to go pick them up and start distributing in the next few weeks. I don't think I officially published a final list of the 2011 recipients of the Cup, just let the chaser list speak for itself, so here it is:

Drew Wilson 5 full, 11 metrics - 1 Cup
Matt Maxwell 2 full,13 metrics - 1 Cup
Mr. Davey Gie 6 Full, 72 metrics - 7 Cups
Courtney Hilton 8 full, 15 metrics - 2 Cups
Craig Irving 6 full, 15 metrics - 2 Cups
Jared Morford 4 full, 9 metrics - 1 Cup
Nick Wethington 6 full, 10 metrics - 1 Cup

Cups will be delivered as soon as possible after I pick them up. My cost on the cups is $12 apiece, so any kickbacks to help a poor bike mechanic out would be appreciated (but not absolutely necessary to receive your cup).

Congrats to all of the qualifiers. Here's to doubling the number of recipients in 2012.

~Nick W.

Craig Irving Mega-Update

Ok, Craig is starting to make me feel lazy.

I have not one, not three, not even five, but seven full centuries to report since my last update!  You heard that right!  Seven!  That brings me up to eight total on the year!!!  Look at all those exclamation points!!!  Hell yeah I'm shouting!!!!! 
Full century #2 on the year:  March 18th
Took off with Charles for a ride around the Amanas.  As a joke, we hit every gas station along the way and took pics of Charles sitting on the curb to send to his friend and show him what hard core endurance guys we were.  104 miles on the day. 
Full century #3 on the year:  March 25th
I took off to explore some new to me roads up around Anamosa, meeting Charles along the way.  Found some great hills that I'd never ridden before.  Weaseled around town for a few miles at the end to get a full hundy in.  100.6 miles on the day. 
Full century #4 on the year:  April 1st
Picked up Charles at 1:30 in the morning, drove to Des Moines and joined up with Courtney for a 4am start.  The big goal of the day?  200 miles of gravel and a picture in front of the "Welcome to Missouri" sign.  Highlights of the day included losing track of the number of B roads we hiked, following a Garmin that was stuck in Guitar Ted super sadistic mode, and my own whininess because I bonked hard less than halfway through the trip.  We ended up with 210 miles by the time we rolled back into town around midnight, but I'm only counting it as one since actual gravel miles were somewhere between 120 and 130.  Don't count on us ever doing that again in non-race format.  It was...  Erm...  Difficult. 
Full century #5 on the year:  April 28th
Another year, another Trans Iowa DNF.  Teamed up with Courtney since I wasn't about to try to keep up with Sir Charles of Gigantic Manliness.  We drove hard through wind, soft gravel and many, many hills.  So basically, typical Trans Iowa.  I burned everything I had to make the first checkpoint in time and had nothing left to give beyond that.  60 miles in I encouraged Courtney to go on ahead without me since I knew I didn't have it in me to make CP2.  Ended up stretching it out for a hundred anyway, just so that I could say that I did.  Rode the last couple/few hours with Dave Mable and called it quits in Hedrick.  Thanks to Dave for encouraging me to man up and finish out the hundy on course instead of on pavement. 
Full century #6 on the year:  May 19th
This year I decided to do Almanzo instead of the Royal, thinking it would be a good easy fun training ride to hold me over between TI and Dirty Kanza.  Yeah...  So much for easy.  Hot, windy, hilly was the theme of the day and it took me a good hour longer to finish than I was expecting.  At one point I plopped my wasted carcass in the shade of a cemetery tree in a futile attempt to cool off.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time.  I managed to get back up and finish it out though, swapping tires from front to back 10 miles from the end to avoid a front blowout.  I wasn't feeling too confident on that big bulge brewing on my tire tread.  It made it intact though, and so did I.  100+ on the day. 
Full centuries #7 and 8:  June 2nd
Redemption for one of my two DNFs of 2011, I finished the 2012 running of Dirty Kanza in 17 hours and 16 minutes.  Apparently Minnesota had traded Kansas for its weather plus two storm systems to be named later.  DK will never see nicer conditions than what we had this year.  Temps were in the low to mid 80s and wind was single digits to non-existant.  I rode with Courtney for the entire race, plus a couple other friends for portions of the first leg.  I have never felt that good for that amount of time in a race before, and Courtney and I even finished it off in a three man sprint.  It was more for posterity than anything.  That's what I'm telling myself anyway, because that sandbagger beat me ;-)
By my count that puts me at 6 metrics and 8 fulls to date, which is looking pretty good over last year.  Things are going to slow down for me now as far as the long rides go, but I'm still planning on going 12 and 12 by years end.  Until I ramp it back up, I'll just have to settle for heckling the rest of you from the peanut gallery.  Cheers :-D