Thursday, April 19, 2012

Announcing GGGRRR 2012

On June 23rd 2012, at 7am, some friends and I are going to get together at Blanding's Landing in northwest Illinois for the Galena Gravel Grinder Rustic Road Ride (GGGRRR). This is a roughly (no pun intended) 116 mile long ride through the rugged terrain of the Driftless region of Illinois. This route is specifically designed to cash in on the hills in this little corner of the state, with every attempt made to go straight up and straight down as much as possible. The route is certainly "rustic", being roughly 55% gravel, 35% pavement and 10% trail of some kind or another. There are many sections that must be hiked (one in particular in Mississippi Pallisades State Park is MANDITORY since no biking is allowed on the trails there), fences to be hopped, gaping gullies to be traversed.

The route is not easy. However, along with its grueling nature comes a lot of great scenery, regular rest-stop opportunities in the many small towns along the way and, perhaps most importantly, many opportunities to short-cut the route once you realize there is no f!@#$%* way you're going to be able to finish the whole thing.

With all that said, I'd like to invite any adventurous cyclists out there to come join my friends and I. This is not an organized event in any way, just a group ride. You are responsible for yourself and your own safety and navigation, but I'll try to get some maps and/or gpx files for anyone who is interested.

The campground at the landing should provide a good place to stay. For those hoity-toity types that want beds and air conditioning and junk like that, the closest indoor lodging can be found at the Chestnut Mountain Resort, just 4-5 miles up the road from the landing. Just about a mile south of the landing is the Old Blanding Tavern featuring "fire" wood, ice, "famous" hollisburgers, fish, steak, sand, and according to the sign, bath"rooms". Both Galena to the north and Savanna to the south offer full dining, lodging, grocery and gas facilities. Galena is basically the Wisconsin Dells of Illinois, but instead of water parks there are a bunch of old buildings and the corpse of a president.

So, wanna ride with us? Post a comment and I'll try to keep everyone up to speed on any unfolding details.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Down and Out

I'd like to set the stage for the blog for the rest of the year. Not sure how well I'll be able to keep up with this, but I'm still hoping fore some high adventures and therefore the corresponding blog posts.

In early March the weather suddenly turned very warm here in the midwest. Like 80 for a high warm in March. This is completely unprecedented in recorded history, the highs were about 40 degrees above normal, and in this part of the country (unlike the arid southwest) having this sort of vast deviation from normal is completely unheard of.

For most cyclists, this meant an early start to the riding season. For me, it meant work at Good Oak went into overdrive. I worked 90-100+ hours a week every week in March trying to keep up. Not only was spring early, but things moved faster than normal. Burn season was half as long as normal (yet we still managed to get most of our burns in) and the garlic mustard bolted up very fast. It, and most other spring plants, are a full month ahead of their usual schedule.

As you might expect, this leaves absolutely no time for riding. I think I went 3 weeks without throwing my leg over the bike at all. I'm pretty sure the Triple-D accounts for about half of my outdoor riding hours for the year so far (at least I got on the trainer a bit and did a fair amount of running back in January and February). So I'm not sure what this means for my big plans for this racing season. I do know that I am going to have to postpone my marathon attempt for another year. Also, I'm not going to rush into things on the bike and risk injury. My knee may still be a little tender from an impact last fall that took me out, but I'm hopeful that 4 weeks of "rest" was enough to heal it up.

So I guess its time to start getting my base miles in. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to start with that in April... right?