(Circa June 28, 2014)
My “big kahuna” race was scheduled for Thursday night. To say that I was upset when it got cancelled due to rain is an understatement. It was the only fun I would enjoy before my 28 hour work weekend which I was absolutely not looking forward to. BUT THEN, I was hit with a GENIUS IDEA! Ride a century’s worth of gravel, with ZERO preparation. And so began the tale:
I grabbed pretty much every tool I could think of to fix a bike issue and stuffed it into my old fanny pack. I had enough room left for 2 power bars and my cellphone. I tossed a third water bottle and my rain jacket into my jersey pocket and was out the door after eating a less than ideal breakfast.
The game plan? Find a gravel road and head south until a more exciting gravel road catches my interest. 30 miles into the ride I came across a very friendly and aerobically gifted dog. I have been chased by many dogs in the past but this furry friend wanted to join me on my adventure and had no intentions of stopping to go back home. I tried out-sprinting him, I tried out-maneuvering him, and I tried yelling at him but he stayed locked onto my wheel like an opponent in a road race. After 3 miles I decided I should turn around and return him to his owner. Suddenly he ran ahead and became distracted by a sweet scent. I saw my opportunity and ATTACKED! My opponent quickly realized what I was attempting and the chase was on! My breakaway was a success but my opponent’s sprint abilities were unmatched and he began to quickly close the gap.
My legs were on FIRE and my foe was catching up fast!
My head was down and I HAMMERED but my opponent’s 4 legs seemed unbeatable!!!
What is this!??? He is slowing down! Huzza!!! My breakaway was successful and my furry friend had abandoned his chase! …ten miles later the gravel ended at a “Road Closed” sign. I am not the best at following rules when I am alone and in the middle of nowhere so I carried on and found out why the sign was posted:
I rode through most of it but abandoned ship and shouldered my bike through a particularly deep section. Perfect, wet socks and I still have 60 miles to go. As I rode into Henderson I realized that everyone was looking at me strangely. Upon entering a gas station to restock my food/water I was asked by 4 different people how I got into their town. Apparently all roads leading in were closed due to flooding! I was an outsider in a locked down city! How could I escape!??? HOW WOULD I EVER KISS MY WIFE AGAIN!? Ok, so there was indeed a single road left un-closed leading in the opposite direction that I needed to go (and up an ENOURMOUS climb). I found many beautiful roads, lakes, and flooded rivers along my way home. And due to my lack of preparation I ended up bonking painfully but it was still an unforgettable adventure!
…I wanted to share this story to entice everyone to join me on my next one! There is nothing like riding 100 miles and spending 90 of those miles listening to the birds, farm animals, and the breeze! The route can be seen here: http://www.strava.com/activities/155991009. Next time when the bridges aren’t flooded I hope to cross to the south side of the river. If this sounds like something you would enjoy then post a comment and let me know. I hope you enjoyed the story!
...This adventure took place many years ago. I wanted it to be my first blog post on ZeptoGear because I couldn't think of a better way to portray my love of cycling. I now live in South Dakota with my wife Michelle and our son Maxwell. SD is the perfect location for testing our bike bags on long endless gravel roads! If you are ever traveling through SD make sure to send me a message and I will show you all the best gravel that you have seen :)