Friday, August 24, 2012

Rough Rubble

My good buddy Blake and I got the fever for some gravel riding. We planned to back off the gas and have a nice long roll to enjoy summer and the freedom of country roads to break up the grit and noise of all the road riding we've been doing. I was on track to ride 1000 miles in August but after 27 hours and 533 miles in 15 days I realized the goal wasn't about 1000 miles, it was a goal to sit on a bike for 54 hours. That wasn't my intent so I abandon the goal. 500 in 15 days was easy so 1000 was just a matter of time. I didn't fail, I redirected the energy.

Side story: Now that I wasn't on my bike my buddy Terry and I dove Big Carnelian lake and had a blast. 2 dives, each about 70 minutes. Visibility was good at about 12 feet. We refind and recover a large anchor we left 2 years ago. That is, we found if but didn't take it. We also find 5 other anchors and a hand well pump (think farm) lots of old cans and bottles. Anyway, it was all sand at 27 feet. That's rare in lakes. Old open pit mines it's common but lakes is a special treat. We find acres of sand.  Our loot looked like this. 

I've been busy in my time away from the Blog. Most of it fun but not enough story for a post. Lets get on with the Gravel and how it was hell and made us rethink crushed limestone vs. gravel.

This is what we are looking for. Endless road with no traffic. Sure, gravel is messy and hard to ride on but it's all yours. It's half way between mountain biking in the trees and seeing nothing and road riding in traffic and seeing cars and ugly buildings. It's limestone bliss, but not today.

This is what we got! Rock. Round unpacked gravel. It was so loose that at times we ride in the grass on the shoulder and one time, walk and it was not up hill.

We enjoy the first 20 miles then promptly get lost. Ride 7 miles the wrong way. We go to the map, find some tar and 7 miles later we're back on gravel.

 This is a Minimum Maintenance Road but it's better then the next 40 miles of, presumably, high maintenance roads.

What is that? 

 You find stuff on bike because it's easier to stop then to peddle. So now you know about the First Parsonage, it's worth a sign and that's something. 

 It's really easy to get lost on a 70 mile ride. It's so easy, you may not even know for 10 miles or more. 
We are not lost but then we didn't know that.

We hurt and are happy to be done after 60 miles but we need to take the Luce Line back to the van. Blake and I are beat from miles of soft road but we don't want the other to know how bad so on the long straight Luce we hammer it out. Neither giving an inch. Speeds are 18 and we each attack ,softly, getting up to 21 mph and hold it as long as we can while gritting our teeth so the other doesn't see the pain we are in. It's smiles and soft breathing while the fire rages in our legs and screaming in our heads hoping the other will blow and fall off. This macho shit goes on for miles. We're both having a blast, it's not the first time we've tried to kill the other and make it look like, "Oops, did I ride too fast?"
I turn and catch Blake at a moment of weakness, his face tells all, he's cooked and I bust out laughing and fall off. We both take a rest at a slower pace, talk about how we can both get beat up by soft roads and still have the drive to empty the tanks racing the other for nothing more then the thrill of dishing out pain to a fellow rider and knowing he's crying inside to stay with you. We finish our laugh and admit our strategy and then go right back into a hard attack. We rage the last 3 miles like our saddles are on fire and we're trying to escape gun fire.

A stop at the local grocery store for bananas, fruit smoothies and mixed nuts to rebuild the body and it's about an hour drive back home.

Gravel is hell, Limestone is bliss, Riding with a buddy, fantastic. 

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