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Archive for the 'Gravel' Category

Gravel Grovel

Monday, November 28th, 2011

This past Saturday, I was supposed to ride the Gravel Grovel with Tim, David, Patrick, and Timothy (RCCS). Unfortunately I waited until the night before to get my stuff together, and when I went to get my bike ready, I realized the front brake wasn’t working well at all. I tried to replace the brake pads but something went wrong and I couldn’t get the damn thing working. I worked on it until after 2am, and eventually gave up. So, I wasn’t able to do the ride. It turns out Patrick got sick and he wasn’t able to ride, either.

It’s worthwhile to check out writeups from Tim and David. From their descriptions, I glean that it was very, VERY difficult, and involved a lot of suffering. I’ve had little time for training lately, so it may be a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t able to ride. Even so, I’m still irked that I didn’t get to go.

Saturday night I came down with a cold or something, just in time to be sick for possibly my busiest week of the entire semester. I’m hoping winter break in a few weeks will allow me to decompress and maybe even do some recreational riding.

Fort Wayne – Ossian – Zanesville

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Sarah and I spent the weekend in Fort Wayne, visiting her family. I set aside some time to ride on Saturday. Initially, I was planning on riding with the 3 Rivers Velo Sport club, who I’ve ridden with before, but their ride was starting at 8:00 am in Roanoke, IN, about a 25-minute drive from where we were staying. After being up late Friday night, I knew there was no chance I’d be getting up that early. Instead, I put together a route south of town. Here’s the route.

In the morning, a few storms rolled through, but based on the radar, it appeared they would blow through, and then the rain would stop. So I waited a while before starting my ride. As soon as the storms stopped, I got ready and rolled out.

It was still overcast and gloomy and the roads were quite wet. I bought some clip-on fenders for the Bianchi but forgot to bring them. Oh well!

After riding on a couple of busy roads very briefly, I was surprised at how quickly the scenery started looking rural.

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In fact, within probably about a mile of where we were staying, I found myself on a gravel road.

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I have been wondering how the Bianchi would handle gravel, so I suppose it’s just as well. Frankly I’ve been reticent to intentionally take such a nice road bike on gravel roads, but I didn’t hesitate to take the gravel here, that happened to be on the route.

Naturally, the bike did just fine. It sure got dirty, riding on the wet gravel, but that’s OK.

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There was even some washboarding and still, the bike did fine. It sure was a rough ride, but I had no problems.

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Once I was back on paved roads, I mostly had chipseal to deal with. It wasn’t really much smoother than the gravel.

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I crossed I-469.

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The roads here are so much flatter than what I’m used to. There were a few small hills here and there, but not many.

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The scenery was different from what I’m used to as well. Long flat fields of soybeans and corn, and farms, and a few homes, all laid out in a grid pattern. At home, where it’s hillier, the roads take a much more circuitous path. I prefer my home terrain, but I always enjoy trying to get the feel for different areas.

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Soon I reached the small town of Ossian.

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It was a cute town, with a nice downtown area.

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A bakery, and later a coffee shop, tempted me, but I was only 10 miles into my ride. I kept on riding.

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As I left Ossian, I could feel the heat picking up a little bit. It was already quite humid, from the earlier rain. Things also got a little hillier.

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And then, I found myself on a gravel road once again.

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This time, I was on gravel for a good three miles or so, and a few hills made it a little more challenging. Again, the Bianchi did fine, but I do think that trying to ride gravel with big hills would be a problem, with such skinny tires.

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I crossed “Eight Mile Creek” a couple of times.

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The next sections of road altered between paved and gravel.

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I reached Zanesville, IN. It seemed to be too small to have much of a downtown area. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “Zanesville residents are ineligible for street mail delivery, and thus, must get their mail at the post office.” In other words, it’s tiny.

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There was, however, a place called “County Line Pizza & Mini Mart.” It seemed to be part restaurant, part convenience store. It reminded me of Pinnick’s, in Williams.

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I stopped here to get some water and have a snack. The lady running the place was very nice and said she had had a few people come through who were riding across the country. Pretty cool!

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A little past Zanesville, I turned back toward Fort Wayne. I spent 7-8 miles going due east, on a long, straight road. I am not used to that! It was fun being able to push a big gear for a while.

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I passed the small town of Yoder, which seemed to consist mostly of a set of railroad tracks, and a grain company.

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Soon I turned back north on roads I had ridden on earlier, including a little more gravel.

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This was a fun ride. It was fun exploring a new area, and seeing a couple small towns. I would like to go back to Ossian sometime and spend more time looking around.

MTB/gravel rides derailed by flooding; road ride instead

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

On Saturday I was hoping to ride with my friend Dave. We were going to go mountain biking, but we have had so much rain that the trails would be too muddy. We decided to meet up in Yellowwood State Forest for some gravel riding instead. On my way there, I discovered Yellowwood Road was flooded …

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… so I went over to Jackson Creek Road instead, but it was also flooded …

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The only other ways of getting to where we were going to ride would either be flooded too, or would be far out of the way. I called Dave and let him know … we pulled the plug ¬†on the ride. He was coming from the other side of the state forest, so I think he was able to get to parts I couldn’t. I think he was going to ride back and forth on the parts that weren’t flooded.

I went home, and headed out for a short (21-mile) but hilly road ride west of town. It was hot, very hot … the heat index probably neared 100 degrees. I had a great, brief-but challenging ride. Here are a few photos.

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