2013 Coffeeneuring Retrospective; Gravel ‘n’ Ice
So I didn’t make it through 100% of the Controles this year — my final Coffeeneuring ride was scrubbed due to tornadoes — but it was fun trying. I also discovered that I like coffee more than I thought I did
I also finally got around to uploading my final coffeeneuring picture, which I took at Controle 6:
All of my 2013 Coffeeneuring Challenge write-ups can be found here:
Here’s looking forward to next year!
Meanwhile, in other news, this weekend’s Gravel Adventure Ride with Timothy proved to be much more Adventure than Gravel.
First off, Denis and I went out to Wiltshire on Market on Saturday night with our friends Kelly and Jim. I might (ahem) have had two cocktails (two and a half, come to think of it; I finished Denis’ drink because he didn’t like it) and then Kelly plied us with very nice wine, and as a result I was more than a bit tipsy by the time we made it home. All told, we spent five hours at Wiltshire. Afterwards, I briefly thought we would go dancing — ha! I could hardly stand up.
Moreover, I slept very poorly: which is to say that I slept for two hours, then sat up wide awake and said, “Oh, ****.” That was at about 3:30 AM.
By the time ride-time rolled around, I was still a bit tipsy and very sleep deprived. Timothy picked me up at my place and we headed up to Commiskey. There, fellow Gravelnaut Tom appeared (we were surprised anyone showed!) and we headed out.
After a few miles on tarmac, we encountered what should’ve been the first gravel run of the day: a river of rutted ice sprinkled with sand. Climbs were, well, exhilarating. Descents in that sector are few, small, and mild, but were managed with utmost caution. By the time we reached the next stretch of Tarmac, we had all decided that continuing was a fool’s errand. That route has a good share of gravel climbs and descents, a few wicked enough to be sketchy on a dry day.
We turned right at the road where we’d normally turn left to continue. After a mile or two of rolling hills (the Karakoram climbs like a cat!), we bottomed out at a water-crossing that even Timothy and I, who have both become pretty bold water-crossers as a function of riding Death March, wouldn’t attempt. The air temperature was well below freezing, we were still miles from the car, and nobody wanted hypothermia.
We regrouped, turned back, and rolled up the climb that we’d just come down. Halfway up, I noticed that Tom had dismounted. I paused to wait for him, and discovered that he had a tire issue; his rear tire was way squishy. We walked the rest of the way up the hill, then checked out his tire: he was running tubeless and it seemed to just be the result of a loose valve stem nut or something, so between Timothy’s frame pump and one of my six gazillion CO2 cartridges, we got him back in action.
From there, we retraced our route back to the end of the first gravel run and headed the other way. Timothy and I reminisced about Commiskey rides past: in particular, the one that turned into a rolling bike-repair party, with brake problems; not one, but two, snapped chains; and such a host of other disasters that I’m still amazed that anyone ever made it home.
After returning to Commiskey, we rolled past the car and down the road a bit to the place where we would’ve come out of our last gravel run of the day. That, too, was solid ice; we took one look at it and decided that turning back had been the right decision. It was certainly the right decision for me; by then, my stomach had gone into revolt and I was really feeling the sleep deprivation.
A pair of friendly dogs appeared after we turned around and one — a beautiful red female with the powerful build, coloring, and head of a Rhodesian ridgeback — ran all the way back to the car with us, a distance of several miles. She was a really nice dog, and I found myself really missing the presence of a dog in my life. She wanted to go home with us, but she was obviously somebody’s well-tended pet. We said good-bye at the Commiskey Post Office parking lot and headed back to Loutown, where Timothy and I enjoyed brunch at Against the Grain.
For what it’s worth, the Karakoram will do quite nicely, I think. The fit is quite good, though I decidedly would not want the reach to be any longer. It’s about perfect for actual off-road riding — long enough to let me stretch out on the descents without hanging on by my knees, but not so long that I am forced to ride with my elbows locked all the time. They’re close enough to locked, though, that I’ll consider a bar with a little sweep for day-to-day use.
Anyway, this has grown really long, so I’m going to close here. Next Gravel Adventure will be in 2014. Until then, I’ll be playing around on the Karakoram and trying to enjoy my break.