1200 Miles & a Cup O' Dirt & a little Mississippi Mud!

Take the year long challenge of completing a dozen or half a dozen dirty centuries and join the fun in December! Everybody who completes this challenge will be rewarded with a custom hand-made stoneware mug as well as be in a drawing for other prizes. Read the FAQ for details, and welcome to the fun!

I've increased the fun to give some more folks a shot at the cup - a bit 'watered down' - We'll have the 1200 Mile Cup O' Dirt and a 600 Mile Cup O' Mississippi Mud and new in 2008 is the 1/2 Liter O' Dirt - earned by completing 12 metric centuries in the year! A special award will be presented to anyone completing either a dirty century or metric century in each month of the year.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

1200 Miles & A Cup O' Dirt!

Q) Soooo, just what the heck is this 1200 Miles and a Cup 'O Dirt thing anyway?

A) Well, ya log 12 or 6 centuries, during the course of 2007, all of em on dirt, and ya get an official Cup O'Dirt or Mississippi Mud! Just send me an e-mail (dave@all9yards.com) to tell me about yer century then I can log yer progress, and yer in! It don't even cost ya anything!

Q) Dirty Century, let's see... what is that?

A) A huner'd miles on dirt, duh! Dirt? It can be a gravel road, double track, logging road, singletrack or you can do a whole bunch o'laps on yer grassy yard! To count for the Cup O' Dirt, yer century must be at least 80 miles that ain't paved.

Q) Does it have to be an organized ride ta count fer the Cup?

A) Nope - just lemme know what ya did - ya can be alone, ya can be with friends, ya can be with strangers! Ya can do it in a race, ya can do it in a tour, ya just gotta do it in a day! (note to Trans-Iowa competitors: Ya can do an overnight, just no sleeping, that'd be 2 rides!... and, ya complete the Trans-Iowa and ya git to count 3!)

Q) Any special awards er anything?

A) Yep! Old Oakley Rob has committed a sweet pair of Oakley's that'll be drawn from all the yahoo's that get a cup o' dirt! Thanks Rob! Squirrel is makin' a cool biker lamp fer a lucky winner! I got all year to get a bunch of other sweet swag ta give ya. Anyone wants to throw in some stuff - just lemme know and I'll pass the word!

Q) Do ya gotta do one a month to count?

A) Nope! Ya can do em all in a row, if want. Now, if you do one every month - I'll give ya sumpthin' special!

Q) Soooo, what is this 'Cup O' Dirt'?

A) Glad you asked! It is a sweet handmade stoneware mug, created just special for this here gig by New Harmony Pottery of Earlham Iowa. Ya may have seen their stuff if ya done the Living History Farms Race and saw the awards they gave out. Sweet swag. Now, the dirt? Good ol' Iowa black dirt... can't beat that!

Q) So, if it don't cost nuthin to participate, and I'm gunna git this super sweet cup o' dirt, who's payin' fer it?

A) Them fine boys at All9Yards Realty! That's who! They gots a bike racin' team and want to promote their fine new website www.cyclingupdate.com. Check it out - it's gunna have all the info fer racin' on two wheels that ya'd want! Race schedule, results, training, news, equipment - everything!

Q) Finally, why ya doing this crazyness?

A) Cuz I love ridin' in the dirt and I seen some dudes bucket' o' belt buckles and thought "Now, why can't we have somethin' cool like that right here?" So I did it. The extra cool thing is... ya can do it wherever ya are!!! There is folks from Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas and Mizzou followin' along!

Q) OK, OK, One more thing, when do I git my Cup O' Dirt?

A) 3rd Saturday of December, we're havin' a hoe-down (and a dirty century, of course!) right here, somewhere in the middle of Iowa. I'll git us a big ol' barn or lodge with a big ol' fire place, I'll cook us up a big ol' pot o'chilli! During the day, we'll go fer a huner'd mile long gravel road ride, then that night, I'll give ya all yer Cup O' Dirt and all the other swag! We'll have a blast - swap stories, maybe some pics from the year, some tunes. Ya won't have to do the ride, ya can just come and git yer dirt and play that night! I'll have detials as the time nears. If ya got any more questions or to tell me about a century, drop me a line! dave@all9yards.com

Now, I also gotta say, that this ain't no orgainzed ride - ya'll are on yer own. Ya oughta wear yer helmet each time ya ride - in fact, if I see a pic of you ridin' without yer helmet on a century that ya wanted to count - I ain't count'n it (sorry Kim!). Ya should be careful out there, don't forget yer lights if ya get caught out after dark, bring a spare tube. Remember to be nice to the lady at Casey's that looks at ya funny when you buy the place out of coffee and pizza at 10 O'clock in the mornin', first, she don't really wanna be working there, but hasta ta make ends meet, and second, ya smell! Finally, remember to have fun - last I checked, I wasn't gettn' paid to ride, so I must be doin all this to have fun!

Peace - Dave Mapboy Mable

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cold February Start

Brrrry BRR!

-8. That's what the dude from the Register said it was in Rippy. 38mph. That's what the weather guy said the wind gusted to NW of Des Moines. 1inch. (quit laughing) That was the length of the icicles hanging off my nose! In full arctic explorer gear, Jason and I ventured off towards Rippy, about a minute after the canon. We wove through Perry with "Tarmac Dude" Some guy with his sparkly new S-Works Tarmac... sweet ride! Jason and I with our bmx pedals and $75 single speed rides - mine a 20 year old beast. Tarmac Dude quickly moved on ahead of us. We meandered our way through the cyclists as we ventured north, into the wind. Did not recognize a soul. We may have passed 30 people we know, but everyone was buried in clothing! "Hi Dave!" I hear from some anonymous cyclist. "It's Robin!" She yells. I still have no idea.. Sorry Robin! I give her credit, I don't know how she recognized me - it wasn't the bike, this was it's debut.

So we weave through the maybe, 100 cyclists and catch Tarmac Dude. Jason and I are trading pulls at this point and I notice the shadow of Tarmac Dude on our wheel. Great, I'll take a third to share the load! As we near the first curve west, it is Tarmac Dudes turn to pull. He jumps out of the saddle and takes off! "WTF?! We just pulled your a$$ the last mile!" I hang on his wheel with about everything I have. 30 seconds later I look back and Jason is off. I pull onto the shoulder and slow to wait. Jason and I get back into our groove of taking pulls. The wind was so strong, the cold so deep that you really don't look up much. Head down, into the wind, watching about 4ft in front of your wheel. Occasionally one glances up to see who you might catch and for a little help with the wind.. We march on northward now, into the wind and through the hills. I am way too overgeared for this pace of 8mph, but I glance up as we slowly climb one of the small (HUGE!!) hills, and there is Tarmac Dude! We caught him ON THE HILL! He can't stand it, so he jumps on our wheel, but only for a moment. He is gone! Satisfaction. Jason and I march on. There is a long downhill, which still requires work into the wind. Downhill: advantage to road bike with gears. Tarmac Dude goes flying by! Rats.

Steady as we go. Long uphill, long flats. Steady as we go, trading the work. Tarmac Dude is reeled in. Tarmac Dude is dropped one last time. See ya in Rippy!

We turned west for the final few, brutal miles into town. The wind was worse now. Very little draft. No respite from the effort. We rode with some strong guy on a mtn bike with gears. Advantage: gears! He could shift down on the hills and maintain a manageable cadence, while we had to stand and grunt up, no momentum, every pedal stroke an effort. He was kind enough to pull us along for a bit, but finally leaves us. We crest the last hill before Rippy, thinking, 'This is the end!' But no. The final 50 feet to the gas station parking lot took full effort. Really hard. 11 miles. 1 hour, 20 minutes. Wow. That was really hard.

We hang in the gas station long enough for the icicles to thaw from my nose, and long enough to receive kudos from Tarmac Dude, who arrive about 3-4 minutes after us! He was nice, but it was still satisfying to drop him. Don't drop your train, man.

Our ride home was un-eventful. We estimate seeing about 100 hardy souls making their way to Rippy. The paper said 500. No way! Maybe 500 registered, but there were not 500 on the road! Anyone who made that ride to Rippy earned a badge - the badge of frost and wind! I actually stayed surprisingly warm, due to dressing for the arctic, but there were some folks woefully unprepared, no shoe covers, no goggles, no full face masks.

We made a final stop just outside Perry to visit my Sister, B, and pick up my daughter, who got a little one-on-one time with Aunt B. They had a full table spread with awesome hot chili, hot tea, sandwiches and carrot cake! The perfect ending to a bitter cold day! Thanks B!

While this was not a dirty century, it was an epic ride, one for the books. I won't count it for either me or Jason, but there may be an * on our Cup O' Dirt! 1222 miles & a Cup O' Dirt!

Leadville Drawing Near
I imagine Marilee and Ken holed up on a cold snowy Leadville morning, sipping coffee amidst a pile of envelopes... envelopes full of hope and sealed with anticipation! Our envelopes are in that pile - 2 from Des Moines, each one with the Registration of a Sub-10 hour finisher, a Tandem, a couple of 3 timers, a Pb'ville virgin, and a 2X 12:20hr finisher ("I'll get that damn buckle yet!"). We wait on pins and needles this week - waiting with other veterans, virgins, tandems... people whose hope is simply a shiny new silver buckle or those who hope for an '8' on the sleeve of their sweatshirt. We will be united, all across North America, as we walk, collectively, to the mail box each day in February, hoping, praying, to find that simple postcard from Ken and Marilee, an invitation to join them at the starting line in August. Today, we hope. On August 11, at about 11:30 in the morning, we curse!

First One In!
"Grizzly John" Adamson is the first to log a dirty century this year! While, in his own words, it wasn't purty', he did gett'er done! John took advantage of the warm weather in the first part of the month to secure his place in the "One-A-Month" club. At this point, he's the only one in the club.... but we do still have a few days left of January - albeit - cold!

Road trip to Texas anyone????