This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The local dirt

I started the weekend late. I managed to flat one of my tires while inflating it.  Ah, what else?  
There were no more mishaps on the weekend.  It was a beautiful afternoon for a roll through the countryside.   My real goal, if there was one, was to explore the Barry Roubaix route and see if the old familiar roads are really  formidable.  The terrain was not as difficult as thethe Almonso 100, 
but the surface itself was different.   In Minnesota, the gravel is a very consistent grade of limestone and the roads have a granite bedrock.   In Michigan the underlying ground is clay based and the gravel has a variegated texture.  The roads tend to be a little rougher to ride here.  
After rolling over pavement  for 40 miles through a beautiful afternoon, I reached  a side road they use.  
 Overall the roads were in really good shape.  There hadn't been a great deal of rain and they were consistently compacted.  This was all very familiar.  I can expect them to get rather loose and sandy after the county trucks drag them smooth and turn them over, but these had a really mild texture.
Both the climbs and descents were fast and smooth on 40 mm Schwalbe Marathons.
 They weren't without their surprises.  The clay tends to hold moisture rather than drain the way granite does, so there were still some puddles in the lower areas.  It wasn't a terrible, muddy battle, just a little extra fun.  After about 13 miles of regular gravel, I entered an area where there were no residents at all, the State Gaming Area of Yankee Springs.
 I turned onto one of the roads on the designated route and found the big difference between the routes in Minnesota and Michigan.  SAND.  Miles of it actually.  Several of the roads on the route are only two track service roads used by the DNR and the most determined of hunters.
There, deep in the forest, only 2 1/2 inch knobbies (severely under inflated)
would negotiate these roads.  You could have fun on a Moonlander. There were stretches of 1/2 mile at a time that I walked, more that I just coasted with only one foot on the pedal.  
As soon as I would get brave and try to accelerate, my tires would knife in until the rim was buried.  
I was miles from a hard road so I simply sucked it up and limped along, 
enjoying some of the secret places the forest has to offer.
 After twenty miles or so of gravel, sand and mud, the campsite was a welcome thing.  
Relaxing by the side of Deep Lake was peaceful reward for the work. It gave me a minute to reflect
on the wisdom of wider tires whenever I am bound to ride on various surfaces. 
  I could have been home answering e-mails, and the Tigers are in the pennant race,
 but hey, little trade offs right?
In the morning I was rudely reminded that most of the dirt roads leading back to the route were deep in the gaming area.  Sunrise sounded like downtown Bagdad. There were deer slugs launched all 'round.  Funny it's archery season.  That shouldn't surprise me, when I lived nearby, I would hear automatic weapons at the  crack of dawn when firearm season opened.   Some just have to stretch the rules.  I decided to stick to the pavement on the way home and made a nice Sunday ride out of the return.  A rainstorm had come through during the night, freshened the air and left things cool.  It was a relaxing 50 mile ramble through the countryside, predominately downhill, with a wind quartering behind me from the Northwest. 
 I doesn't get better!

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