My friend Ross discovered a free gravel ride just out of the city and wanted to see what that scene is all about. He invited me and I figured the price was right and the drive was short. Sunday morning we drove down to Hastings for the Miesville Grinder, a 56 mile route looping around on the nicest local gravel roads. It was really pleasant. These roads are amazingly quiet compared to what I ride on here in the city. That is refreshing. The route was very tame except for one brief rough section. I prefer tame riding because I am timid about technical stuff.
The whole group, one or two hundred I think, rolled out together and Ross and I made our way to the back of the front group. I haven’t done much group riding at all since bike racing back in college and it was interesting to have the accelerations to get back in the draft after a corner. Being at the back of the group you have to accelerate much harder out of corners, or at least I do. We kept up with the surging and slowing of the bunch for the first hour and a half or so. It was fun to ‘play’ on the bike again with the surges since I do very little of that riding alone or with just one partner. After a while we let the group go on ahead and rode a more relaxed pace for the second half. We rode a while with a guy on a fat bike – he was working hard but keeping up a solid pace! We got to chatting and of course he works down at QBP. I have two athletes who work for QBP and this guy only knew one of them. Talk to any QBP employee at any time and they’ll tell you about a bike they’re thinking of ordering or a bike that they have on the way. This guy, Steve, was about to get a Salsa Warbird. QPB definitely makes it easy for their employees to get on two wheels. QBP is a local Minnesota company. It is a really exciting time because their brands Salsa and Surly are the industry leaders when it comes to fat bikes and fat bikes could not be more hot right now.
Anyways the ride ended up being more pleasant for me than for Ross. He didn’t pack enough snacks and only had one front chainring on his bike! Trying to climb in a big ring while bonked is not so fun, apparently. I, being a natural philanthropist, shared some of my Market Pantry fruit snacks. Pro secret: fruit snacks are a super cheap way to get easy to digest carbs. And I’m pretty sure cavemen and cavewomen ate fruit snacks so they’re totally 100% Paleo-approved. I actually was less dirty finishing 56 miles on gravel than after some of my road rides. Recently the roads have been dry but the bike paths have water sitting on them so I get filthy in a hurry. I am interested to see if I can integrate gravel roads into my regular training. This is a very tempting option right now since it is so hard to find quiet, uninterrupted places to ride around town. Cars and stop lights and signs really drain the run out of riding.
Unfortunately Ross and I took absolutely no pictures of our little adventure so there is no way of knowing if it even really happened.
PSA: The first spring races are coming up shortly. Get your bike off the trainer and out to Gear West Bike so they can undue all the damage your cascades of sweat have caused this winter. Tell them I sent you as you hand over your sweat stained tri bike to the mechanic for a tune up. Make sure to look them in the eye as they touch the slimy, gritty mix of your stale perspiration and spilled sports drink.
Thanks again to everyone who voiced their support for the #PRSIX4DP campaign. I’m not sure if my main man at QR Mac will ever speak to me again after everyone tweeted directly to him but hopefully he recovers and sends over a PR6. I will let you know if he needs more of your convincing tweets. QR put a PR6 ad in USAT’s magazine and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of that ad on top of my own banner. So prepare to be double-advertised to: