We had a great gravel ride today from Lang's through Booneville and on to unknown territories. It was an invigorating 21 degrees outside, but the sun was shining and 15 or 16 people showed up to defy the lingering winter, including 7 women. Julie Sedore had a shiny new mountain bike-well, it was shiny when we started, and Julie Goodman made it out for her first gravel ride with the group.
The ride was uneventful through Booneville and everyone warmed up quickly. The roads were in great shape, as promised by Lang--guaranteed or he agreed to hand wash all of the bikes. Most of it was freshly graded and dry, but in addition to the expected hazards of ice, snow, and melting slop, parts of the route were heaped with new gravel. Being a newbie I followed the advice of not leaning too heavily over the front wheel (Lang) and to hang on loosely to the handlebars to let the bike guide a path through the gravel (old advice from Karras), and I managed to stay upright. The ride was cut short slightly when plans for riding the B road didn’t go as planned. Deep and rutted mud is even harder (and messier) to ride on than sand, I hear. (See pic below.)
The whole ride would have been lovely and perfect, except that Dee got a flat tire and a quick fix of air from the pit crew didn’t last long enough. We won’t even mention here how many times the tire had previously been patched, including just yesterday. Dee was a rock star though and kept riding on a completely flat tire and stayed ahead of me back to the Waveland Bar in Booneville. (I had a fabulous picture of the flat tire ride, but can’t seem to get it off my cell phone. None of the 20 or so USB-like cords we have laying around the house will fit my phone, but you can probably visualize the ride-slightly slow motion with Chariots of Fire playing in the background. FYI-If you’re ever stranded in Booneville with few funds, the bar has $1 draws.
Dee and I were thinking even with our combined tire changing skills, there weren’t enough hours left in the day to consider changing it. Kristin Reese was kind enough to venture back and pick us up. Thank you Kristin for the sag ride. Thank you Lang and everyone for your navigating skills and waiting at the corners for us. Thank you Duffy and Kim and Dee for coming back to pull me in after I dropped off, to down a Goo. (That cold air just burned through all my energy.) Most especially, thank you to Linda for hosting the sweaty, muddy bikers with delicious hot chocolate and cookies when the ride was over. It was a tough decision to leave my warm house for a cold ride, but so worth it in the end.
Muddy B road (Note: this picture is actually from Google images and is a road in Cambodia, but the real road looked a lot like this-only wetter.)