Because of this, even though there was a very real
I was wiped out Saturday evening, but after ten hours (ten hours!!) of sleep I woke up Sunday morning feeling pretty good and surprisingly not sore. Joe Dirt didn't start until noon, which gave me a weirdly relaxed morning to pack up and mess around on the laptop for a while (OK, I started the Berryman ride report) before a big breakfast at the nearby Spare Rib Inn.
|Yes, this was mine. No, I couldn't eat it all.|
|Well this is embarrassing...|
|Awesome forecast + great route = large turnout.|
|Check out the rock outcroppings to the left|
Eventually I started riding again, so at least I wasn't pushing my bike when I caught up to where Mickey was waiting. "Were you in your lowest gear?" he asked when I admitted having walked up.
"Well, my second-lowest," I answered.
|Elevation profile for the whole ride|
Once I caught my breath I started obsessing about the upcoming downhill. Never a confident descender, I'd been a little freaked out when I looked at the elevation profile in the car that morning (no moment like the last moment, right?) and saw two downhills that looked almost vertical. It wasn't quite as bad as that, but I was heavy on the brakes as I crept down, only to face a steep uphill once I hit bottom.
|This hill is so much worse than it looks...|
|He's smiling and riding uphill one-handed while taking a picture; I'm dying in the background.|
Overall, once the first few miles were out of the way I started feeling a little less terrible, but despite the fact that it's been a long time since 23 miles sounded like a big distance, the first loop seemed to take forever. I'm sure that's largely because of all of the hills, but it was probably also part mental. Knowing I have a tendency to let myself off the hook when things get difficult and having been thinking about bailing on the second loop pretty much since my first pedal strokes, I tried to frame the ride in terms of the whole distance (so when we were coming back to the parking lot after the first loop, I wasn't at the end of a loop; instead, I was at the halfway point of the ride).
Quite a few people opted not to go out again. To be honest, despite all my talk about wanting to be ready for Dirty Kanza, I'd have been one of them in the absence of peer pressure. Knowing my company, I didn't even suggest skipping the rest of the ride, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look enviously at the people relaxing in the parking lot.
|I find it's much easier to take pictures on hills while I'm walking.|
|Sharing my thoughts on hills and having to walk them.|
|After the close encounter with the station wagon|
Of course, the weekend wasn't quite over yet. This was the Sunday of Martin Luther King weekend, after all, and I had bike plans with Chuck, Lori, and Patrick on Monday. Plans, that is, that I'd decided to cancel. I was way too tired to go mountain biking the next day; I knew how that ride would go and wasn't up to trying to ride on dead legs again. Checking the weather app on my phone, though, I realized that the weather was going to force a gravel ride. That I could do.
Getting up the next morning sucked, but it was well worth it. One of my biggest weaknesses is lack of mental toughness, so it was good for me to be tired and sore and not want to get back on my bike (all things which are sure to happen in Kansas) and do it anyway. Plus, it was a blast. We had a fun, adventure-paced ride. What does adventure-pace mean? Slow, with lots of stops to check out cool stuff.
|Like lesser-known trails...|
|And relics of big plans that never happened...|
|And creepy old flood control buildings...|
|And buildings that made us curious...|
|And then answered our questions...|
|...and gravel out-and-backs ending on levees|