Sunday's Gravel Ride...

Rob Versteegh posted up on Facebook the following message Saturday...

TEAM, official invite to ride bikes tomorrow morning if you wanna ride long(ish). WWP bridge at 7:30. roll gravel to cummings, over around booneville and back to WWP by 11-11:30 timeframe. mostly gravel. cross bike is weapon of choice. not break-neck pace, but we'll be rolling. GO!

I thought better of joining the ride due to only 15 hours of recovery since the race on Saturday.  I did have plans to get a long gravel ride in later in the day after I had slept in and recovered at least 24 hours from Saturday's race.  My thought had been to ride from 4 - 7:30 PM or so going into the weekend until I learned of Rob's organized grinder.  In spite of only recovering for 15 hours, I got up and headed to Des Moines to join the group for the gravel ride.  It was to be a nice test of the Roubaix and Challenger Alamanzo tires to get some hours in on various gravel roads.

Not break-neck pace, but we'll be rolling?  Well, we were rolling right off the bat as everyone had ridden their bikes to the meeting point and were already warmed up.  I had to drive being from out of town.  That pace didn't really let up for the first hour.  I was seeing the same heart rates on the high end on the climbs as I had hit the day before during the mountain bike race.  I was hanging on, but knew that I couldn't hammer the hills like that and keep the pace for multiple hours.  A couple of stops for Maharry to fix a flat and then Rich Wince went down hard doing a sprint to a stop sign with Rick Blackford.  He got dusted off, fixed his bike and showed off the blood on his wounds from the fall.

Later on, we all stopped at an intersection about 1:05 into the ride so the entire group could gather and decide if we would head out to Booneville, or turn the other way to Martensdale.  Martensdale it was since there was a convenience store there where we could get water and some fuel.  I had it in the back of my mind to just take the Great Western Trail back into Des Moines to my car as that would be about 3 hours for me which was plenty on the day after a race - or so it seemed with the way I was starting to feel after the opening hour's pace.

Luckily, Kurt Benson was willing to roll back with me on the Great Western at more of a not break-neck pace - our style.   We visited and rolled back north to Des Moines for the hour+ and I got to the Element right at 40 miles for the day which was plenty for me with only 15 measly hours of recovery in the bank.  Kurt and I parted, and I headed home for some grub and a short nap before showering and heading off to the Simpson College Madrigal Singers excellent concert in Smith Chapel.

The bike and the tires were perfect, although this combination is only good on dry gravel as there is no room in the rear for mud to collect without scraping the frame.  Interesting, my wife's size small Ruby (the female version of the Roubaix) has much more clearance in the rear at the chainstay.  Enough to run quite a large tire compared to mine - maybe even a 34 to 38mm.  I imagine that has to do with the size HUGE 64cm frame squeezing about everything they could to keep it shorter than an 18 wheel rig.  

Regardless, the weather forecast is for rain and snow the next 3 days leading up to the Gent's Race, so my bike choice will be determined on conditions we face Saturday morning.  I'll get one of the mountain bikes ready just in case.  I hope it is minimal rain that is easily absorbed after the past two days of 70's and high winds - plus today is sunny and windy with temps around 50. That should really dry things out so much that the gravel could absorb some moisture leading up to Saturday.

I did manage to recover by Monday night to hit my 4 x 6 weight work on the legs (the big plates are loaded on the bar now, so it's good strength grunt work).  I'll do a 60 minute recovery spin this morning before work to flush things out a bit before a very busy 9 hour work day.

March miles and duration on the bike recap...

March 1 - rode 28.6 miles for a duration of 90 minutes
March 4 - rode 9.8 miles for a duration of 30 minutes
March 5 - rode 9.3 miles for a duration of 30 minutes
March 6 - rode 19.6 miles for a duration of 60 minutes
March 7 - rode 10.1 miles for a duration of 30 minutes
March 9 - rode 28.97 miles for a duration of 2:03:49
March 10 - rode 31.61 miles for a duration of 2:06:11
March 11 - rode 29.28 miles for a duration of 2:04:15
March 13 - rode 33.9 miles for a duration of 2:00:59
March 14 - rode 26.4 miles for a duration of 1:44:27
March 15 - rode 40.1 miles for a duration of 2:31:40
March 18 - rode 19.8 miles for a duration of 60 minutes
March 20 - rode 28.9 miles for a duration of 1:42:32
March 21 - rode 6.53 miles for a duration of 33:01
March 22 - rode 14 miles for a duration of 1:38:41
March 23 - rode 17.48 miles for a duration of 1:26:11
March 25 - rode 13.5 miles for a duration of 45 minutes
March 26 - rode 9.12 miles for a duration of 55:33
March 27 - rode 20.1 miles for a duration of 60 minutes
March 28 - rode 5.4 miles for a duration of 33:25
March 29 - rode 17.3 miles for a duration of 1:44:29 (First mountain bike race of the season)
March 30 - rode 40.98 miles for a duration of 2:47:14 (gravel ride with Bike Team)

Total for month of March: 460.77 miles/30:37:27 hours 

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