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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hot Dog Rx?

Four of us headed out 7:00 a.m. on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend:
me, Mike Johnson, Ron Saul and Rob Walters. The sky was overcast and
the forecast called for rain. With the weather as it was, it may not
have been smart to head out for a century, but our goal was a hundred
miles, not a Nobel Prize. We pedaled west out of Cedar Falls with no
second thoughts. 12th Street turns to gravel at the city limits.
About 6 miles out, a dog that I?ve never seen before charged out from
a farm that I ride by at least once a week. And then again about 11
miles into the route, dogs charged out from two consecutive farms. If
this had continued, our laid-back hundy would have turned into a
sprint workout. 22 miles down the road we rolled into Parkersburg,
for food and restrooms and noted a darkening sky. The rain started
shortly after leaving P-burg. We were heading north and east toward
Shell Rock, making up the route as we went along, turning when we
reached T-intersections and avoiding pavement. Some of the roads were
familiar to us and some weren?t. The rain continued to fall, but as
long as we kept moving, we stayed warm, and didn?t stop to put on
jackets. As long as we were riding north, the wind was at our back.
At Shell Rock we stopped again for more food. Figs ?n? bananas made
sense, but the triple chocolate bismark was irresistible. The
convenience store?s AC was running in its big ring so we finally had
to don our rain apparel just to stay warm while eating. Rob got a
couple of hot dogs and pressed them against his knees. They were a
little sore, and he said the heat felt good. Riding again, we hit
some short stretches of pretty soft gravel. It was still raining and
we were wet, but not suffering from it. Somewhere in this part of the
ride Rob announced that this was his longest ride - not just of the
year, but ever. Our intention was to get around the north side of
Waverly, but we hadn?t gone far enough north, and we had to cross US
Hwy 218 where an overpass was available. Our gravel road ran into a
piece of pavement that went straight into town. Rob opted to head on
in, having set a new personal distance record and needing to rest his
sore knees. Ron, Mike and I turned onto a gravel crossroad that
appeared to go where we wanted, but in about a mile and a half we were
stuck at a railroad crossing with a train parked on it. We could see
one end of the train about a quarter mile to the right. The other end
of the train disappeared to the left. We had no idea if there was a
locomotive attached, or not. The rail right-of-way was not suitable
for riding around the end of the train. The train was dead-quiet and
showed no sign of moving, so even though it completely creeped me out
and violated every sense of safety and intelligence, Mike crawled
under, we passed the bikes over a coupling, and then Ron and I crawled
under, too. In the four seconds it took for me to crawl under the
train, if there had been a horn honk, or if one of the other guys had
even clapped their hands, I would have filled my pants. Shortly, the
gravel we were on Tee?d into another road that went straight in to
town. We just were not going to be able to avoid Waverly, so we rode
right through without stopping and sought the first dirt on the east
side. The sky was still gray, but the rain finally stopped. We were
working our way toward Denver, again making up the route as we went
along. Some of the roads were familiar and some were new. We found
some nice gravel rollers that will be great Chequamegon training. On
this stretch, we were able to take off the rain jackets and start to
dry out. By the time we got to Denver, the sun was trying to burn a
hole in the clouds. We stopped again for food, then pedaled east out
of town. We didn?t really have a next destination. We were headed
east and south toward, but not necessarily to, Dunkerton. While the
sun was trying to shine above us, there was a line of really dark
clouds approaching from the west. The south wind was strengthening,
the roads were soft, and for the first time of the day it was becoming
work to ride the bike. We quit jogging to the east to concentrate on
a southerly course, hoping the dark clouds would pass behind us, which
they ultimately did. Our gravel Tee?d into pavement by the big John
Deere tractor plant east of Waterloo. We turned west, spun through
town, and by the time I hit my driveway in CF, I had a hundred miles
on the odo and just short of 8 hours of ride time on the clock.

Thanks for keeping track of our rides, Dave.

Chris Congdon

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