Getting out of town was challenging. I stayed to parent coach the final indoor soccer game and the other team was a no-show. Our ride had a much later starting time than usual b/c of my responsibilities and the forfeit seemed unnecessary. The next step was finding all my crap, which wasn't too challenging, but I haven't done too much gravelling lately, so a few things were out of the way. More minor irritation. Then I needed to re-do my bike bags for the Crosscheck b/c of the rack. More irritation. Then the old rack I put on to carry 3 bikes didn't go on easily. Irritation. We finally left town 45min late and my bike scuffed my car. Irritation.
Then we rode.
If I may say so myself, I'm usually pretty attuned to the spaces around me when I ride. I remember roads, flora-n-fauna, landmarks, the texture of things. I consider myself to be pretty spatial sound. I have no clue what the course was like through mile 5. Strange. I think there might have been some chunky gravel we fought through; I thought I lost my camera in this stretch. Around mile 6- maybe- we did a nice gravel wooded climb which I enjoyed quite a lot. At the top Patrick tweaked my rear wheel a bit, as one of the spokes was squeaking loudly.This connected with some gravel we rode in the fall. This time we did a nice, gentle gravel climb out of the creek valley onto some pavement. At this point the route escapes me for a while. Eventually we looped back to the same gravel creek road where we turned east, again along a gravel road where we encountered a large hunting party in the fall. After this stretch I totally blank for about 5 miles until our misturn around mile 22 onto N Little Rest Farm. My cue-sheet from Timothy had the turn marked correctly, but Dave was insistent his gps had us in the other direction. Long/short of it was that Dave was right.
Our turn onto Little Rest proved eventful. We ended up behind a combine traveling down the road, one who gave us no quarter. Timothy on his monster 'cross dived into a farm field and passed the rig. Dumbly I dashed to the left and missed a very large piece of steel by 1' or so and used my momentum for a short breakaway, where I laid on the gas for about 3m. It was my one show of bravado all day. At the far end we realized we were off course and the 5 of us, all on various phones, set about finding an appropriate return. We eventually turned south for a long stretch into a headwind- another stretch I couldn't tell you one thing about really. I do remember mixing it up on some rollers with Asher; he had the freshest legs of the day.
Set below was taken after I realized my camera wasn't lost but had rather fallen down the evidently capacious MtFeedBag
At Rd250 we mutually decided to head back to the barn. Three of us had suffered mechanicals and the amount of stopping had made for a long day out of short mileage. 250 back was a bit of a grind- pretty flat, with the contour below showing a rather downhill run. The other 4 ran out in front of me for a while as I just felt empty. Eventually I made my way back up towards them a bit and we turn onto IN3 and then through the bustling metropolis of Paris Crossing before heading north towards Commisky.
Patrick, Timothy, Asher, Dave, in that order furthest to nearest
At the finish I yet again felt "blah" after a big effort. Since the Grovel I had long gravel ride cut short in December, a pedestrian 40 in Louisville, a pretty successful near-60 in January and after that, it's mostly been shorter fitness rides, but without building too much fitness. I'm just not very strong on the bike. Both Patrick and Asher noticed that I wasn't my usual impatient pace-pushing self. Maybe I just need miles, but those won't really come until summer.
But tomorrow will arise anew and we'll hit it again, however we can.
Pics to come, although not many.