Monday, January 13, 2014

Brief: Short Training Weekend in Jo Daviess Co.

Temps have tipped up a bit over the past few days following the sub-zero "polar vortex" we experienced through early January.  Agatha and I took advantage by making a get away to secret training HQ and did a few fun rides out in Jo Daviess county.  Friday we rode a 30 mile loop up and around the Apple Canyon Lake vacation area, and then on Saturday we did about 25 miles northwest of our location.  Conditions on Friday were pretty ideal, all things considered.  Roads were slushy, and even the paved roads felt like gravel due to the sand/gravel mix applied to give traction on the snow and ice.  The above freezing temperatures felt amazing.  After we finished riding on Friday, some freezing rain started up and then temperatures dropped below freezing overnight.  Against better judgement, we drove over to Galena Friday night and dense fog and freezing roads made for a pretty unpleasant drive.  Coming back to HQ, we had to be pretty strategic about parking our car, as the hills combined with frozen road surfaces and a shitty 4 cylinder compact car could have left us stranded.  We awoke to glass like frozen road surfaces on Saturday and knew we weren't going anywhere until they started to thaw a bit.  The morning sun had thawed the roads by about 12:30 PM and we embarked on a short route.  Towards the end of our ride, the sun had disappeared behind clouds and temperatures had dropped below freezing, resulting in the slushy road surfaces beginning to refreeze. We faced a pretty nerve wracking descent down the gravel section of Clark Rd. at the end of our ride, but managed to keep the bikes upright, laughing afterward about how badly it could have turned out.  This was a good little getaway, with about 55 miles and 5k-6k ft of climbing over the two days.  Would have been great to get some more riding in, but considering the time of year and conditions we were pretty happy with our efforts.  Jo Daviess is magical for riding in all seasons, get out there and get pumped on those relentless hills and valleys.

Agatha aboard Karate Monkey equipped with 2.3" tires, bar mitts, and single speed.  She walked zero hills, very impressive.  Everyone said a 29'r wouldn't fit her so she said "fuck you" and rides this bike everywhere.  The Karate Monkey is a classic.

Me aboard Casseroll equipped with 700x32 Paselas and full fenders.  Fenders kept me so clean, I don't even need to wash the clothes I rode in.  Agatha was laughing about how my skinny little tires were cutting such deep ruts into the soft roads.

Images from Friday only.  Felt like I needed to keep both hands on the controls with the road conditions on Saturday.  A beautiful palette of white, gray, brown, snow and fog.  ALSO thank you JBJ for full fenders.