I went for a gravel ride Sunday. I used the route that I'd planned on using a few weeks ago, but a little more successfully. Nick and I left at about 11 Sunday morning and began our leisurely tour of the Dragoon Trail in Boone County.
It was warm and hazy for the first 25 miles or so, but as we climbed up from the Wagon Wheel bridge we started to hear thunder and feel the drops. From there until we finished at about 7 it was nothing but rain. The rain wasn't too bad, goodness knows I'm used to it, but it stung a little on the downhills when I got going fast and I couldn't see too well. Speaking of stung, around mile 23 or so I was stung by some sort of insect that got caught in my beard. It hurt, but what more can I say about that.
After an hour or so of heavy downpour the gravel started getting soupy. I could tell when I was getting into the soft stuff because my tires would start to roar like there was an old truck coming up from behind. That and I'd slow way down. Around mile 40 the gravel got so bad that I was in my 34x25 low gear and struggling on the flats.
I always look forward to the Y Camp hill (mile 46) on 166th Ave because it's the steepest toughest thing around, but it was too much this time. Things were going pretty well most of the way up, but just as I could see the big willow at the top a car came up from behind and I moved over to make some room. The soft gravel at the side of the road did me in. I walked the last 100 yards or so. Nick, coming up from behind, saw me walking and gave up himself. I probably would have done the same. We took a long break at the top and ate my emergency Power Bar to try and recover. That's the first time I've been defeated by that hill. I vow revenge.
By mile 55 or so we were both spent. The hills and the soft gravel were too much. Nick was having to stop every mile or so to rest, and truth be told, I wasn't doing much better (not that I'd admit it). With about 8 miles to go we hopped on the paved road back to Ames. It was amazing how my bike, even with knobbies on, seemed to pedal itself down the road. A huge relief from the mushy gravel (worse than the gravel on TI2, good thing there weren't any B roads). Roadies have it too easy, I say.
I'm trying to add some links in my text to make this blog more accessible to those who don't know what I'm talking about. Here are some extras.
Confrontation isn't my style. This seems more like it. Nice bike Lindsay.
I won't be making the GTDRI this weekend. Unfortunately I'll be working. I guess someone has to.