We left early to get in 55 mixed-terrain miles so we could get back and do family stuff the remainder of a Sunday. Everything was set, bikes, plans, stops. It turned a little colder than expected at around 18F on departure, but nothing we haven't done before. We also anticipated beautiful clear skies, a real change-up from the endless spit we've had. When we hit the road I took a turn on the first little rise and it was O.K. Shortly thereafter we encountered another little mini-hill, maybe 200metres, and...nothing. No gas. Nothing. My legs were stone, or even worse, painful stone. I had nothing. "I'll warm up." We worked out way to towards Yellowbanks Recreation Center where we encountered our first gravel. "Feeling better. Legs warming up."
|Yellowbanks Trail looking south|
|Up the road. I think Dave is practicing a cyclocross dismount.|
Our turn onto Yellowbanks Trail Rd. was a nice one, a pretty run of gravel through fields and wood. Noticing all the tires with "Keep Out!" to our left, we encountered our first snafu at mile 7 when our route was to go west, only we were met with not only "keep out" but a gate as well. No go. Dave and I consulted our digital toys and we decided to re-route up the road a ways. I lost touch a bit at the top of a 1k climb before rejoining on the downhill of S.C.R.900E, a road we've been on a few different times. I lost touch again climbing up to Old64. We turned left down Old64 towards Stendal, the ominous town where Dave decided to sit (for 45min) last winter. We pulled into town after an easy 1.5m climb and gained our bearings, using a westward gravel road to link up to Haul Rd., which was our original destination before the 'KeepOut' situation.
Haul was was an excellent run, nice gravel through forest lands which now comprise Sugar Ridge FWA. We saw hunters' truck and some stations, but nothing too busy on this cold morning. I held pace a bit here but towards the end the road bucked a long false flat. Patrick powered away as he did all day; he had legs to spare. Dave distanced as well. We turned left and I fell a bit further behind before stopping and walking a short hill. At the top I used the time to move the camelback inside my jacket since the tube was frozen solid (yes, I blew water back in). Dave waited for me and Patrick realized what was up. We marshalled on.
After a short rise up to a crossroads (where Dave and I ran into the mtbike crew on the snow ride) I stopped and told the boys I was done, finished. no mas. I implored them to continue the loop and I would meet them at the car. Really, really I wanted them to get their mileage in after driving an hour out of town. Make it worth your while. But they didn't budge. If I was going back they were to. And I was going back. I was empty. Completely.
The return trip was some of the same. Any roller at all- and there were several- I came straight off the back, some of them on which I walked instead of pushing the 36x32. They humored me and kept me generally in sight. It does need to be mentioned that I won the Dubois Co. sign sprint in Zoar, "sprint" being used liberally. We met our last bit of fun with a right turn onto CR850, which was a dirt work road along the powerlines. Fortunately it was still pretty frozen so we didn't run into too much mud. I walked some more. We turned left and met our last stretch of rollers before ending in Holland.
|Dave descending 850 from the dirt side|
|Dave and PJ in the distance leaving me on yet another hill, an unpaved, ungraveled on at that. Bad day. Good road.|
|Patrick on his new F2 and Dave at the top of a rise after having waited for me. We look cold. It was cold.|
|Freakin' death warmed over.|
We celebrated our shortened ride with some Waffle House in Corydon, at least after Patrick and Dave warmed up their frozen toes in the car. To a certain extent, the "capitulation" on my part helped them cut short a potentially frozen-toe situation. The waffles made much of it all better.
**One good note of today's ride was the performance of the Happy Mediums. I ran them at a relatively low 55psi and found them *excellent* for the surfaces we rode. They had good roll on pavement but also good bite on the gravel sections at that pressure. A definite keeper, and one fat-tire folks should look at for something like a 700c LHT.