Thursday, January 10, 2013

A couple of long rides.

This week we have been experiencing unusual weather for the month of January, and it only seemed right to take advantage of it by racking up some miles.  On Tuesday, Derek, Eric and I did a 65 mile ride out to Paw Paw and back on mostly sloppy thawed out gravel roads.  This day was overcast and windy, but still much nicer than would be expected.  We began the ride heading south into the wind, stopped for lunch in Paw Paw, and cruised back to DeKalb with the wind at our backs and the sun setting.  Chad hooked it up with a nice little route that hit a lot of small rolling hills in areas SW of DeKalb.  The next day Derek and I set out early with a century to Crystal Lake and back in mind.  We took the Great Western Trail and Fox River Trail the whole way.  Weather was sunny and perfect, and with a tailwind we made it from DeKalb to St. Charles in under an hour and a half.  From there we headed north along the river enjoying the windy, hilly trail and nice scenery (the Great Western in comparison seems to be lacking in both topographic variation and scenery).  We made it to Crystal Lake and then rode an old tandem Trek from Derek's garage over to Wheel Werks just to stop in and say"hi" to Jay who was sporting a nice moustache.  Jay showed us a few nice frames (DAMN that red Mr. Pink was sexy) and chatted with us a while before we had to get back to riding as the sun was getting lower in the sky and temperatures were following suit.  The ride back was considerably less pleasant than the beginning of the day.  By the time we made it to Wasco I was starting to bonk in the dark and the cold.  Fortunately there is a nice little pizza by the slice joint right off the trail and Derek and I stopped there for much needed calories and warmth.  During the final push back to DeKalb, it was all I could do to stay on Derek's wheel as he blasted down the GWT probably at 17 or 18 mph.  He clearly has the looming beast of Trans Iowa on his mind, and if he keeps riding like his now, I have great faith in his chances at success.  Today, I am feeling pretty wrecked.  My legs and knees ache and my head and nose feel all stuffed up from being out in the cold.  It has been a very quiet day of recovery around the house.  I haven't ridden at such lengths or in such concentration in quite some time so these rides were rough but great ways to start the year off.  Sometimes it pays off to just kick yourself in the ass!  Hope you are making the most of this weather, enjoy.

Typical Northern Illinois landscape... 

Nice sunset near Shabbona Park

Showin' some skin in January!!  Also, new Rivendell Jack Brown tires.  So far, have ridden them on gravel, road, and trail in dry, wet, and snowy conditions.  Liking them a lot, plus those brown sidewalls are a classy touch.

Scenes along the Fox River.  This is a nice section of trail to ride.  Woods, river, and hills keep it interesting.

Hard to tell, but Derek and I aboard the tandem.

Delicious anti-bonk supplement, also know as Pizza

First thing I did when we finally got home.  Cold, dark beer and a hot shower.  Mmmmm...