The Sixth Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble was a week ago. I’ve finally been able to pull together the ingredients needed to complete my wrap-up post. In the post ride evening, I was talking with Steve Butcher (graveldoc…who came all the way down from Stockton, Missouri!) about how to describe what we had just experienced in a blog post. There were so many different little things. It was like a church pot-luck-dinner-on-the-grounds. Everyone brought a little something that makes the entire day special. It was pot luck pleasantness.
I can’t think of any way to do this post, except as a kind of mish-mash of stuff to document the day for me, and try to communicate what it was like to those who weren’t there. So in keeping with the pot luck pleasantness theme, what follows is a lil’ of this, and a lil’ of that.
To start, here are a few of my photos.
The pre-ride included a place to get out of the wind, warm your hands, and chat with fellow participants.
So much bike-y goodness in my front yard.
Some sort-of paved roads.
Some relatively smooth gravel roads.
A few camera posers.
A brew-up stop for the last weekend of the Coffeeneuring Challenge.
The old Rosston Store with delightful hitchin’ post and wood stove heat.
Enough elevation change to keep it interesting, but not so much as to be exhausting.
Plenty of wind (note Carradice flap hovering on a cushion of air).
Plenty of places to just stop and admire for a few seconds before moving on.
In addition to my own observations, there are a few others that might be of interest…
Eric Welborn (Touring Thru Suburbia) posted some positive comments and photos.
Pat Yagle prepared this entertaining time lapse video with photos every 5 seconds until his camera’s battery died.
This year was the first time I had two route options (the standard 50-mile version, plus the shorter 35-mile option). I’m glad that the shorter option was able to better meet the needs of a few riders, but regret that I was unable to experience the route with them. Fortunately, a couple of the riders sent me email summaries of their ride…
Adam Neese’s account…
Adam’s Instagram photo
JC arrived to my house at 7:45, and after coffee and protein we were on the road to Pondero’s by 8:25. We arrived with a few minutes to spare, and after loading the bikes with gear and putting on a few extra layers (temp ~36F) we grabbed a couple of breakfast tacos and huddled around Pondero’s pickup truck for his welcoming announcement. Shortly after that, everyone was saddled up and we began our ride with about 30 folks. The first 5 miles were very pleasant and the high cirrus clouds cleared out, providing warming sunshine. At about mile 10 we were gaining in elevation, and I realized how out of shape I was. A few hills (and breaks) later, we were at the split- 35 miles or 50. JC and I split off from the rest of the group and took the shorter route.
We had just crossed over SH 51 and hit the gravel again when we hear a loud shotgun blast from around the bend. Coming up on a bridge over a gully, we meet Joe and Rudy who were testing out a recently acquired shotgun. “Just wanted to make sure it shoots straight” exclaimed Joe. I asked them to snap their picture, and they obliged.
Just after passing through the “town” of Leo around mile 20, JC encouraged me to accelerate up a hill. On the first pedal stroke I heard the sound- looked down and saw my chain about 10 feet behind me. Luckily, JC had brought his chain tool and I was able to remove the broken link to limp back to base. We met a beautiful ranch dog who was very timid but friendly, and had a food break. The clouds had come back by now, and it seemed like the wind was picking up as we turned east.
Much of the last half was cold and windy, and I felt like we were racing to get back to the vehicle to warm our toes. JC seemed to have hit his stride, and kept complaining that it would end too soon. I think it ended at just the right time, as the last 5 miles were due south into a 15mph headwind.
Luis Garcia’s account…
Wow! What a great day! Paul, Jim, and I had a fantastic time. I only wish that we would have had less wind and time to visit with you.
We ended up deciding to do a variation of the 35 mile route. We set out to ride to the Greenwood Grocer, have a burger, and head back in the direction that we came from. Well, long story short, we ended up making a wrong turn, thus getting off track for a few miles. When we discovered that we had gone the wrong way, we pondered our trajectory, and determined that we had ridden a touch over 15 miles. At this point, the sky was turning dark and the wind blew cold. We decided that we would pass on the burgers and turn around (into a strong head wind) and ride back for a total of 30 miles + a scooch. Thankfully, we had the wind at our backs once we turned back onto Waide Road. I must tell you that in the spirit of the Ramble and Cofffeeneuring, we pulled over at one point to have our coffee alfresco. No beans were roasted or ground nor did we brew our coffee on the side of the road, but we each broke out thermoses of piping hot coffee and laid out snacks for an impromptu alfresco buffet. I must add that my Noble Coyote dark roast coffee tasted mighty fine out on the open prairie.
Chris, we had a marvelous time. Paul and I have ride together regularly. JIm and I had ridden before and Paul and Jim had ridden before. But the three of us have never ridden together. Your ride brought us together. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and hope to be regular participants in your yearly gathering.
Steve Reisman, who had a heartbreaking crankbolt failure as he was pedaling out of my driveway, couldn’t do the ride at all. But he decided to follow the group around in his truck and serve as a SAG, just in case. The following photos, including a special appearance from Sloane Peterson, the puppy, are from him…
Well…there’s a bunch of stuff, and more than I normally like to include in a single post. But this event includes a lot of little things that just ought to be mentioned. Still, it doesn’t feel like this (too lengthy) post adequately captures the richness of the interaction of people, or the joy I experience when so many folks (someone counted 24 riders) come up to my little spot on the prairie for a ride. It was a lot of little things, an integrated total of what everyone brings to the day. It was pot luck pleasantness.