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, September 30, 2007

A Second Cup Awarded!

2 weeks - 200 miles - lots and lots of good ol' Iowa gravel!

GPickle earned his Cup O' Mississippi Mud on Saturday the 29th of September - on a beautiful sunny early Autumn day, when most folks were watching the Hawkeyes loose thier 3rd game of the year, or drinking themselves silly - GPickle was out on the gravel roads west of Iowa City - pedaling his way to the infamous Cup O' Dirt! Below is his story and a photo of his steed - single speed steed! Impressive!

"Yesterday (Sept. 29th) I rode another 100 miles, my sixth gravel century of the year! In order to keep things interesting I rode my single speed townie.

This is my Fuji Del Rey 1 SPEED. I got it at the bike library of course. The fork is not original equipment, it was purchased years ago in an attempt to turn my Bob Jackson into a cross bike. After the failure of that project it did nothing until last fall when I built up this bike. For the ride I swapped the pedals and the front wheel and added the computer. The rear tire is very old, it was also purchased for the aforementioned Bob Jackson cross experiment. I have long been anticipating its death and was hoping this ride would finally do it in so I brought along a spare tire which was not needed. I really hate that tire.

I left early yesterday and it was still cool and not yet windy. I rolled far to the east and south through the greater metro areas of Downey, West Liberty, Nichols and Conesville before heading back west. I passed by Lone Tree and finally took a stop in Riverside. I love Caseys! Back on the road then and I kept going south and west (strong wind out of the south now) and somewhere out past Kalona I was able to turn back towards home and enjoy the tailwind. I loved the single, my gear was 40X18 and at times I was wishing I had the 42 on but overall it worked well for me. Total mileage was 101 and some change with 84 on gravel. I took a photo of the computer total but it has gone missing. I can still get one and maybe I will.

I am enjoying the 1200 mile challenge very much. I have ridden lots of roads already that I never have before and with six centuries yet to do I look forward to more exploring. I am going to take a week or two off now and then get back to it, hopefully with my old Trans-Iowa companion Jim. He said he would like to ride six and I would love to have some company out there! Thanks for the challenge Dave, its been fun!"

ed: Steve, thanks for playing... now, I've just gotta get out there and log some miles!!! -Dave

Friday, September 28, 2007

GPickle Is One Away From Some Mud!

Yesterday (Sept. 22)I rode another century mostly on gravel in pursuit of this. It was a beautiful day so I wore my new Ira Ryan long sleeve jersey. I looked cool. I also wore an old pair of ATLAS shorts. I may have looked cool but I had a chaffed up butt by the end of things. The chamois will be retired.
I rode to the Northeast of Iowa City and hit up some gravel and B roads I had never ridden before. After rescuing another turtle and being offered a job at a rural Casey’s I turned south to meet up with Jim’s rolling 40th birthday party. I was amazed that I got to Lone Tree exactly at 4pm when they were supposed to be there but was not amazed that they were late. I rode north to meet them and rode in with the boisterous crowd. Happy Birthday Jim!
We left Gin’s a few pitchers of cheap bear heavier than when we arrived and I had to break ranks to get the rest of my gravel miles done. I needed 6.5, I got 8 and rolled up to Iguana’s in Hills with exactly 101 miles, 82 of them on gravel. We drank some more and Jim began slumping a little further into his bar stool and it was a fine time.
The ride into Iowa City was wobbly for most of our group. We took over El Ranchero for dinner and Cody came down with clean clothes to get me out of my chamois (10 hours!) and when Jim went to the bathroom to puke we bolted too- for home.
A great day on the bike and just seven more like it to pass the test. I think I will do next weekends on my single speed. With a seat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Labor of Dirt....

Hi Dave, another exciting gravel adventure today, (Monday, September 3rd) this time over roads I know well so I was able to concentrate on the riding rather than the
navigating. It was hot. I came in with 100.63, 85 on gravel and of those
85 probably 15 on b roads and 4 wheeler trails and snowmobile trails and the
like. It was a treat and I even got some pictures for you, but none from
the ride, maybe next time...

Some pics are a click away!

the mileage

the bike

Monday, September 03, 2007

Squirrel's Nuts or Squirrels' Nuts? You Decide.

If you've ever riden at Seven Oaks just west of Boone, you'll know the answer. Both.
At the recent 24 hour race, held Sept. 1-2, Squirrel A) signed up for the solo (he IS nuts) and B) held off the dozen or so competitors to win with 126 miles (he's GOT nuts!) If you have never had the priviledge of riding the 7 miles of tight, hilly singletrack, you may not grasp the depth of either of those lables (the IS and HAS nuts thing). Believe me - that is one tough course. I like distance, mind you, but the thought of doing even 2 laps in a row sends shivers up my spine. It is a HARD, demanding course - almost every foot of it. Even the best cyclists that the midwest has to throw at the thing end up on the ground - ask Cam, ask Ben, ask Andy, Ask Jason. It IS tough.

Starting with the explosion of a tube (watch the start here)the race began with a LeMas style run to the bikes and then into the woods - at high noon on Saturday. Squirrel wound his way through the woods on the first lap and found himself in the lead by a few minutes as he checked in before lap 2. He never looked back. Staying on a 50-55 min. lap pace (the relay team leaders were turning 40-45min laps in daylight) throughout the afternoon, he stayed in the lead - but by dark, had yet to put a full lap into his chaser.

Through the night- lap times lengthened by about 10 minutes, but consisency won. He slowly put some laps on his chasers, giving him the opportunity to take a break in the wee hours of the morning. Back up at 5:46am and on the trail - a few more laps is all he would need to secure his victory. By 9am, it was mathematically impossible for 2nd place to finish enough laps to over-take Squirrel. The two called it quits, and took a nap!

126 miles - a HARD earned dirty century - a cool grand - and a deserved afternoon nap - Squirrel proves that, while he HAS the nuts to take on such a daunting challenge of 24 hours at Seven Oaks - he is also nuts - just crazy enough to sign up for the thing!

Way to go Squirrel!