Back on Gravel

I met up with Tim and Asher for a gravel ride on Sunday.  I was up early to prepare for a 7:30 am meeting at Sunergos for coffee ahead of time.  I was riding the Fargo, as it’s my gravel bike.  I haven’t ridden it much recently, and have barely ridden it since adjusting the handlebars.

We enjoyed coffee before heading out.  It was 36F in the city.  As Tim drove us to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge the temperature dropped to 31F.

We arrived to a slightly foggy, somewhat cold morning.

Foggy sun

Muscatatuck has a lot of flat area with gravel roads, interspersed with lakes. It’s really a pleasant area. There was a deer hunt going on, so I was glad to be wearing a bright-yellow jacket.

Gravel

The morning light was very nice.

Tim capturing a photo

Fifteen miles in, I was hurting.  I’m more out of shape and heavier than I’ve been in years.  No good!

Some fall colors

This was a planned 38-ish mile ride.  I was having doubts, but before long we were at the halfway point.  Here was “the green bridge”.  Tim said I’d ridden over it before, but I don’t remember it.  We rode across this rather nice bridge, and sat down at the edge of the road to have a snack.

Green bridge in the distance

I felt better after the snack.  I was still slow.  Asher and Tim spent time waiting for me now and again.

We traveled two “not roads” as Tim calls them.  Both were grassy and a bit overgrown.  The foliage was tall enough to get caught in gears and hide logs.  It was slow going, but quite fun.  Hopping logs is fun.

The “not road” on the return leg turned into a much tamer path used by local walkers and bird-watchers.  There was a gazebo on a lake with a nice view.

Fargo in silhouette

Tim did some bird-watching.  I was glad for the break.

View from the gazebo

Asher seemed intent on getting a “selfie”.

Selfie?

We took another break as we were near-finished.  Tim was trying to identify a duck from a distance.  I was wearing contacts instead of glasses, and I couldn’t even see the duck.

What duck?

Though tired, I was amenable to an extra 1.5 mile loop through Muscatatuck.  At this point Tim was going slow to watch the birds.  The weather had warmed into the 50s.  It was quite pleasant.

Green water. Go for a swim?

It was a short ride back to the car.  We drove back to Sunergos.

Tim and Asher are participating in a bit of silliness called coffeeneuring.  Go ahead, follow the link, I’ll wait.  I’m not participating, but I did ride a three-mile loop around Germantown with them, ending right back at Sunergos, so they could get their check-in for the day.

Tim tempted me by riding right past my favorite bar, and near my home.  I stuck with them, and finished up with more coffee.

The gravel ride was 38.1 miles.  The coffeeneuring was 3 miles.  My riding to and from Sunergos was 2.1 miles – giving me a grand total of 43.2 miles for the day.

That’s certainly not an epic day, but with my lack of fitness, it was challenging.  I’m only about a month away from Gravel Grovel, which is substantially harder.  I need to train, and I’m still not sure I can handle Grovel this year… yet I’ve already registered.

Tim’s write-up is here.

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4 thoughts on “Back on Gravel”

  1. What’s the map program you’re using here. I’ts cleaner and more functional than the mess that is ridewithgps.

  2. Tim, it *was* a great ride, even if I suffered due to my lack of fitness. Thanks for planning it.

    The map is a WordPress plugin (WP GPX). I simply upload the GPX file to my webhost and point to it. On the down side, it doesn’t play nice with my iPhone.

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