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Snow, Ice, Mud, Blood and Bikes

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten out there for a nice, somewhat long, gravel ride with teammates and friends.  Zack set this ride up, and at first it seemed like it would just be three of us.  Then more people said they were in, too, which was very cool.  The more the merrier!

group gravel ride

Look closely and you'll see everyone (excluding me since I took the photo). You can just barely see Stoney's and Bob's heads in the background. Also, this is the only photo of Barry (farthest left) since he took off like a bat out of hell.

We had planned on riding this route.  Well, I planned on cutting that ride short to begin with since I had to be back for a birthday party my daughter was going to… And because I’m a wimp.  We decided to slightly alter the route since the Katy Trail was covered in a foot of snow.  We had to ride on Highway 63 for a short distance instead.  We had no problems, though.

I won’t bore you with too many details.  I’ll just say that the weather was terrific.  Although, the roads were pretty muddy in spots and icy in others.  It was a ton of fun.  You should have been there!

I’ll leave you with some fun facts from our ride, followed by a few photos and then a photo montage.

Now on to the Fun Facts…

Participants: Zack Lamb, Bob Jenkins, Adam Lafoon, Barry Vollmer, Matt Stacey, Stoney Cranmer, Don Daly, and Luke Lamb.

Distance: Bob, Adam, and I rode a total of 26.36 miles.  The rest of the group wimped out and decided to keep riding for a measly 30 more miles or so.  In fact, they’re still out riding as I type this.  What a bunch of cream puffs!

**UPDATE**: Zack, Matt, Don, and Stoney made it 55 miles including a 2 mile hike-a-bike section in over a foot of snow (photos at the end of this post).

Number of Crashes: Two.

Rider with the most crashes: Bob Jenkins with two.

Riders in Shorts: One – Bob Jenkins

Rider with the Most Bloody Knees: Bob Jenkins

Now, on to the photos…

Bob crashing his bike on ice

Don points out Bob's first crash in case any of us missed it.

Bob's bloody knee

The aftermath of Bob's fall (although it would get worse after the next crash).

 Zack Riding his Cross Bike

Zack

Adam riding gravel

Adam

Stoney riding gravel

Stoney

Dong Daly

Don

Group Ride on Snow and Ice

Roads either looked like this...

Wet, muddy road

...or this.

 

Fenders on bikes work

Don't think fenders work? Zack was the only with a fender, so check out his ass (middle) compared to Don's and Stoney's.

Adam's Muddy Camelbak

Adam's new Camlbak... Well, it was new before this ride.

Muddy Adam, Bob, Luke

A Muddy Good Time.

 

Bob's Bloodier Knee

This is what Bob's knee looked like at the end of the ride. I'm sure it won't get infected. (Click on photo to get a really good look)

 

 

Now on to the Photo Montage…

 

Here are some Photos from the long riders’ Hike-a-Bike…

 

Hike-a-Bike in Snow

This could not have been easy. (Photo by Matt Stacey)

Zack and Don Hike-a-Bike

Zack and Don making their way through the snow. (Photo by Matt Stacey)

Cross bikes in the snow

Cross bikes in the snow... So pretty. (Photo by Matt Stacey)

 

 

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Gravel is Great – The Dirty Jenkins Ride on Virtuesday

Well, our first official Virtuesday has come and gone, and if you weren’t there then you missed out.  It was a PERFECT night for riding some fine Callaway County gravel.  Bob Jenkins, Robby Brown, Chris Bopp, and I all met at the Holst Summit Dos Primos at 8:15 last night.

 

Meeting at Dos Primos

Gettin' ready to ride.

Bob and Robby at Dos Primos

Bob and Robby

Bopp at Dos Primos

Bopp's gang sign

Apparently on the way over from his house (only a half mile away), Bob somehow managed to trash the derailleur on his Specialized Tricross.  He showed up on his GT Peace 29er, but he needed to air up the tires.  As he did so, he somehow managed to destroy the presta valve, rendering the tube useless.  So we headed over to Bob’s house to get his Specialized Single Cross.

 

Bob and his Single Cross Bike

Bob and his Single Cross Bike

 

After swapping his seat post from the geared bike over to the single speed, he needed to air up the tires.  Once again, Bob somehow managed to destroy the presta valve.  Not a good start for Bob.  On top of being sick, he had a crappy day at work, and now he was having some shitty luck with his bikes.  He almost took it a sign from the Gravel Gods to stay home, but he decided to push his luck and try to ride with a broken valve anyway.  Brilliant, right?

 

Bopp's Bird

Bopp showed me another sign as we waited for Bob.

 

So we headed out in the cool night air.  The weather was perfect, the moon was bright, the gravel was great, the wind was at our backs, the banter was sophisticated, and we were having some serious fun.  We made good time and soon found ourselves at the gate leading into Mark Twain National Forest.

 

Surpised Bob

Bob did not know I was taking his picture... This is how he always looks.

Biking into Mark Twain National Forest

Crossing the first gate into the National Forest

Bopp's Bird at the Gate

Once again, Bopp gives me the bird. Did I piss him off or something?

We rode through open fields on gravel that turned into smooth double track.  It’s a pretty unique place to ride.  Words can’t do it justice, and my camera sucks at night.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it… Or you could join us next time and find out for yourself.

We passed through another gate, and the double track turned into single track.  Then the trail sort of disappeared in the tall grass as we came upon a pond.  Once at the pond, we picked the trail back up, and we then crossed yet another gate.

Another Gate at Mark Twain National Forest

Look closely and you'll notice that Bopp is now giving me TWO fingers.

On the way out of Mark Twain National Forest, the trail gets really fun.  And by fun I mean it gets very rocky.  Loose rocks covered in tons of freshly fallen leaves in the dark makes this short stretch of trail pretty interesting.  I’m not sure how those guys rode it on cross bikes.  I had to walk some of it on my mountain bike.

We soon popped out of the woods and back onto gravel.  It wasn’t long after this when a flat tire occurred.  Bob’s tire?  Nope.  Surprisingly, Bob’s tire held up just fine.  It was Robby’s tire.  He was just riding along when he suddenly heard a “Pssss… Pssss… Pssssssssss.”  So we stopped to watch him change his tire.

Robby's flat

Trying to unhook the brakes

Bob sitting on his bike

I told you Bob always looks like this.

Robby's flat tire

Still trying to unhook the brakes

Luke sitting on bike

Proof that I was indeed on this ride.

Bopp with no birdwith

I surprised Bopp, so he had no signs for me here.

Robby got the flat fixed, and we were soon on  our way.  The last half of this ride has more hills than the first half.  We were also now riding into the wind that was previously at our backs.  This was no problem for us, though, because we have “Strength and Honor.”

Gravel Night Ride

Rolling back to Holts Summit

Bob and Bopp at night

I tried to surprise Chris again, but he's too wise for that - hence another finger.

We made it back to Dos Primos around 11:00 PM or so.  Chris had to get going, but Bob, Robby and I had a beer and some great conversations, some of which I cannot speak for I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

NROP3

All I can say is "N-R-O-P-3" - You would understand that if you were there.

Bob, Bike, and Beer at Dos Primos

Bike, Bob, and Beer

Robby with a Beer

Robby havin' a beer in the cold

It was pretty cold by the time we finished our beers, and it was getting late.  We said our goodbyes, and our wonderful evening unfortunately had ended.  It was a fantastic ride with a great bunch of guys.  Make sure you join us at the next Virtuesday ride.  Be there.  Yes you!  Seriously, be there.

And don’t forget that Jeff City Cyclocross is tomorrow night at Binder!  You don’t want to miss it.

 

 

The Sexy Sixty Gravel Grinder

I’m not really sure what was sexy about this ride, but I couldn’t come up with anything that sounded better or rhymed with “sixty.”  So, we’ll call it the “Sexy Sixty.”

Anywho, Bob posted the map for this 53-mile ride along with an open invitation to all (including you, Corey!) on his blog.  Then he managed to tinker with the route so we would start and finish at Dos Primos, a fine Mexican eatery in Holts Summit.  Moving the start and finish turned this ride into a 63-mile ride, although I didn’t know about this until 5:30 in the morning via a text message (thanks for the heads up, Bob).  I wasn’t worried about it, though, because I had planned on cutting the ride short anyway.  I really didn’t think I could make it the whole way, but I didn’t want Bob to think I was a girly-man.

Bob at his frosty truck before a long gravel road bike ride

Note how much ice Bob actually scraped off his windows - Not much

Bob and I met at Dos Primos at 6:00 AM, and we looked over the maps while we waited for Phil to arrive.  Phil had already said he needed to cut the ride short because of some family stuff he had to do (we later found out that he was actually getting a mani-pedi).  It was dark and cold when we left, and we had to bomb down a big hill past the Summit Lake Winery.  I wanted to stop the ride right there since my hands and feet were rendered completely useless by the frigid wind.

We hopped onto the Katy Trail, and I realized why we had started so early. Thankfully, the trail was still frozen, so the riding was fast and easy.  If you’ve ever tried to ride the Katy Trail when it is wet and mushy, you know that it’s about as fun as a swift kick to the pills.  But I digress… As the sun started to come up, the visibility did not improve all that much due to the early morning fog.

Riding the Katy Trail in the snow and fog

At one point on the Katy, while Bob and Phil were waiting for me to catch up, Phil had an urge that he needed to satisfy:

Phil Icecycles

I should have photo-shopped this, but you can use your imagination

It was still very cold – cold enough for me to start transforming into my alter ego… Iceman!

Ice Beard on the Katy Trail

Opening my mouth or smiling would tear at my face - hence the permanent scowl

We hopped off of the Katy Trail at Claysville and headed out onto some gravel roads.  Everything was going fine.  The sun was finally burning off the dreary fog.  The temperature was rising slowly.  We were getting into a groove.
And then… we ran into a viciously wild, ferocious dog coming full speed right at us.

Cute Puppy

He's meaner than he looks

This poor little puppy was shivering badly and wandering around in the middle of the road.  We knew we had to do something for the poor little fella.  So Phil gave him some water and a cereal bar which the young pup devoured.

Puppy Eating a Cereal Bar

Then we did what any group of manly men would do…  We took turns holding the puppy while we talked to him in our cute, little puppy voices.

Bob with the puppy

Luke with Puppy

We knew we couldn’t just leave the puppy there.  We decided that we’d take him home and put an ad in the paper and contact the local vet to see if anyone had lost this precious, little schmoopy-poo.  Since Phil was only planning on doing 30 miles or so and we were already at mile 15, he said that he would just turn around and take the puppy home.  I had the biggest pack, so we transferred some gear, and Phil and I switched packs.

Puppy in a Golite Rush Pack

Come on. Now, THAT is cute!

Bob and I named the puppy Falkor, after the luckdragon in “The Never Ending Story.”  Actually, now that I think about it, that would be a great name for my new bike, because every time I ride it, I feel just like this.

Once Phil left with Falkor tucked away safely in the pack, Bob and I took off again.  I knew Bob would be faster than I would be, so we agreed to meet back up in New Bloomfield.  We were supposed to cross Highway 63 on Zumwalt Rd, but when we got to where I thought we should cross, the sign said that it was “Old 63” or something like that.  I rode towards the highway, and then I saw that “Old 63” and Zumwalt Rd. are one and the same.

I was a little worried, though, because I couldn’t see any of Bob’s bike tracks. The snow and ice on the roads were pretty packed down, though, so I figured (and hoped) I was going the right way.  This part of the ride was great.  Riding the icy, gravel roads was pristine, serene, and beautiful.

Biking on icy gravel roads

I was actually feeling surprisingly good, but my toes were frozen.  I managed to make it to New Bloomfield and stopped at the only gas station I found.  Bob was nowhere in sight.  Did he leave me here all by myself?  I called him up, and he had blown right by “Old 63″/Zumwalt Rd.  He ended up going 4 miles out of his way, so he was behind me a little bit.

This was where I was going to cut the ride short and head straight back to Holts Summit.  Other than my toes, though, I was feeling great.  So I figured, “What the hell?”  I took off to complete the full ride while Bob got some grub and coffee at the gas station.  If we wanted to finish at about the same time, then I needed a head start.

The ride to Tebbetts was a lot of fun.  The roads were starting to thaw a little, but the scenery was great.  I was still feeling strong when I rolled into the metropolis that is Tebbets (population around 700) at around the 45 mile mark. From here, the gravel roads were completely flat, long, and mushy.  It seemed like there was no gravel at all on the roads.  They were just nasty, muddy stretches of pain.  I was begging for a hill or at the very least a turn in the road.

Endless muddy road stretched out behind me

Endless muddy road in front of me

Endless muddy road stretched out in front of me

This muddy stretch sucked the life out of me.  When I FINALLY made it back to the Katy Trail, I was hating Bob for dragging me into this.  The Katy Trail was completely mushy and soft by this point in the day, and it was going to be brutal.  I got off my bike to ease the pain in my ass (literally).  I grabbed a snack, and decided to wait for Bob.  It wasn’t too long before Bob rolled up.

We decided to try to ride Highway 94, but when the shoulder ran out, we decided it was too dangerous.  So we decided to alter the route slightly and take some different gravel roads back into Holts Summit.  Bob graciously rode more slowly with me, and we finished the ride together – hand in hand.  Okay, we didn’t hold hands, but we did finish the last 10 miles or so together.  We got back to Dos Primos, and we changed clothes in the parking lot.

Bob's muddy ass

I couldn’t wait to scarf down some chips and salsa while they prepared my Chicken Chimichanga.  Bob decided to forgo looking at the menu (as he always does at Mexican restaurants) and go with the Chicken Nachos with extra jalepenos.  He also decided to go with the “Monster” strawberry margarita.

Monster Strawberry Margarita

Bob ended up doing roughly 61 – 62 miles or so, and I ended up doing around 57 or 58. Check out the map below:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

At the end of the ride I was beat, but I felt a lot better than I thought I would.  I was glad I didn’t wuss out by cutting the ride short.  This was the farthest I’ve ever ridden my bike at one time which I think is pretty damn cool.  We ended up eating a ton of great food – to replenish our glycogen stores of course.  Then we called it a day.

So, we rode roughly 60 miles in the cold and snow, rescued a puppy, and had a crap-ton of fun – all in one day.  What did you do yesterday?  Next time we ride, you should really join us.  Seriously.  I’m talking to you.  Come out and ride with us.

Until next time, keep on truckin’.

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