This Sunday, Rafal organized another one of his favorite Bacon Rides, with route created by route wiz, Mark. I had expressed an interest in adding some more miles to get my first century under my belt, so Rafal obliged with some more awesome gravel routes through La Platte, and then streets, trail, and more streets through Bellevue before leaving me in Little Italy with 15 more miles to do on my own.
Several folks showed up at Wholner's at 6AM
- Rafal D. on Bianchi single speed cross bike
- James P. on a new Giant cross bike
- Mark S. on a single speed, of which I didn't notice the brand, but it looked expensive
- Ryan F. on a beefy mountain bike
- Chris G. sporting a classic Bianchi Sport SS with some new tires, eager for his first time gravel adventure
- And myself on the Specialized Tricross
The weather was perfect, with temps in the lower 60s, little wind, and highs predicted in the mid 80s. It couldn't have been a better day for cycling.
Chris told me that when he arrived at Wholner's, he realized he had forgotten his gloves. Then, he said, it dawned on him that he also had forgotten his helmet! Ryan's advice: "Don't fall." He didn't.
We made our way to the end of the city pavement just south of Walnut Creek, and from there, it was a mix of gravel roads and highway, with some MOPAC trail mixed in.
I'll save the play by play, and instead, offer up photographs taken during parts of the trip.
A nice breakfast was had at Platte River State Park, and conversation spilled over between our table and a table with some Lincoln riders that some of the folks knew. Unfortunately, Mark had a problem with his crank spindle and bottom bracket, so he had to call out for a ride home from the park.
Then, highway, MOPAC, pedestrian bridge, gravel, highway, gravel, lots of gravel hills near the church, more gravel, some highway, then more gravel.
James, Ryan, and Chris rode on back into town at Fairview near 108th, while Rafal and I rode on Fairview to 84th, then to Platteview to 57th, then La Platte Road, crossing under Highway 75 near the Platte River. We worked east toward Harland Lewis and then got onto the Keystone Trail/Belleview Loop and rode on in to Old Towne Bellevue to stock up on water and sports drinks.
The Bellevue Boulevard saw us to Mandan Park and on to 13th Street, and then we rode the familiar Gibson Road/Zoo/10th Street route. Rafal headed home at Bancroft, and I rode on in to downtown, crossed the river, and got some miles in on the Council Bluffs Levee trail heading toward Narrows Park before turning around and heading home.
Once home, I could relax. My shoulders and arms were a little sore, but my legs, knees and feet were feeling great. Aside from a general tiredness setting in, I felt like I could keep on riding. My new cycling shorts and jersey really kept me comfortable and energized.
At home, I saw what I was afraid on the bike computer.
I did not ride a century.
I was short of one-quater mile.
Damn. I'll have to try again some other time.
Thanks, Rafal, for helping me on the century, and thanks to everyone for the awesome ride and conversation. I can't wait for more gravel adventures. My Tricross is getting quite the appetite for the awesome gravel roads and trails we have in this part of the country.