5:39am, Rollin' out -- If you could actually read the display on my computer, that's what it said. But since I had so little coffee in my body at that point, I couldn't hold the camera steady enough to get a decent shot...
Sunshine on my shoulders -- Everybody should see at least one or two of these a year. By this point, I was already near Darin Schlake's place out by Branched Oak Lake. A tailwind early in the day kept my average speeds in the 17 mph range, which is great for a solo, non-race gravel ride.
THUNDER!!! -- I got to watch on the sidelines as this thunderstorm swept across the plains without spilling a drop on me. Sweet! I was riding south of Surprise, Nebraska at this point.
It sure is a Pleasant View... I found this sweet cemetery on the southern bank of the Platte Valley and had to stop to take in the view. It was just too good.
Pleasant View #2 -- Headstones dated back to the early 1800s for those I could read, and there were some that I was not able to make the words out on, suggesting to me that this was a cemetery that contained some seriously historic remains... They sure had good taste for resting places when they chose their final spot though, even back then!
Thumbs-up -- All-in-all, it was a great morning of riding, followed-up by an afternoon of food and family fun. Great stuff all around...
Laura and I had a family picnic in Humphrey, NE Sunday, so after checking the wind and finding it to be favorable, I took off at 5:30am to see if I could make it up there -- about 105 miles in total -- in time for lunch.
Though I hadn't ridden most of the gravel I used for the trip, I am very familiar with the area, so I didn't need maps for the ride. Anytime I hit a dead end, I simply took a page from Cycle Works founding father, Norm Sonderup's book and "made it work," and sure enough, in the end, it did.
While I didn't end up making it all the way to Humphrey due to time concerns, I did end up getting in a super sweet 6 hour, 85 mile ride in, during which I saw some incredible scenery, a cool thunderstorm sweeping across the plains (that didn't hit me, which made it even cooler), communities and families still recovering from recent tornadoes and flooding, and lots of assorted wildlife. It was an awesome adventure, in a distinctly Nebraska sort of way.
Cyclocross bikes, gravel roads and Nebraska adventure are sort of like peas in a pod. They all just go together. That's part of the reason my La Cruz has been getting so much play this season. The other part is that it's such a butt kicking ride, but that's fodder for another story -- this story is about the ride. And what a ride it was...