1200 Miles & a Cup O' Dirt & a little Mississippi Mud!

Take the year long challenge of completing a dozen or half a dozen dirty centuries and join the fun in December! Everybody who completes this challenge will be rewarded with a custom hand-made stoneware mug as well as be in a drawing for other prizes. Read the FAQ for details, and welcome to the fun!

I've increased the fun to give some more folks a shot at the cup - a bit 'watered down' - We'll have the 1200 Mile Cup O' Dirt and a 600 Mile Cup O' Mississippi Mud and new in 2008 is the 1/2 Liter O' Dirt - earned by completing 12 metric centuries in the year! A special award will be presented to anyone completing either a dirty century or metric century in each month of the year.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Observations of a Dirty Hundy on RAGBRAI

Duffy lead me to believe that NW Iowa is flat.
"You want flat? You got flat." His printed words in the Des Moines Register on Sunday, the 22nd of July.
What? He didn't hit no gravel roads in NW Iowa.
They ain't flat.

Loose gravel sucks.

Another confusing issue - the B-roads. I participated in the 2006 Trans-Iowa race... and the B-roads were basically dirt paths cut through corn fields that would become a soupy mess in 4" of rain. Some had ditches, most didn't. throughout my Monday Hunday (or is it 'Mundy Hundy'?)I would end up on many B-level roads, but they were graded gravel with fine ditches? Where were they in April of 2006? And I was in the same basic area as the T-I??? Funny thing is, that with the dry conditions of NW Iowa right now, the dirt paths would have been easier riding than the loose gravel that graced most of the roads I traversed throughout the day.

100 miles alone is a long way.

Beagles are weenies. Well, maybe they're smart. You decide.
I'm riding up a hill, about to encounter the only dog of the day, he's by the shallow ditch, under some pines, just waiting. I prepare for battle (?). He stands and just starts barking - backing into the yard as I near. I laugh, tell him he's just a loud weenie, and ride past.... in another 50 feet, I look back to see his bigger, faster friend charging full speed down the road after me! Thankfully I'd had enough of a head start to make a clean get-away.. but the last laugh was on me!
Beagles make GREAT alarm dogs!

Criss-crossing the RAGBRAI Route was good and bad. It certainly gave me something to look forward to when out in the middle of nowhere, but it was hard to leave the social/companionship of the ride. It would take me 2-3 miles to get out of the RAGBRAI frame of mind and into the mindless churning of the pedals that a long solo ride becomes. Both good things, but hard to make the transition.

I did feel cool as I turned off route onto gravel, thinking what a stud (idiot) I was, but that feeling quickly turned to loneliness as I transitioned into the long-distance mindset.

MP3 Players Rock.

Loose gravel sucks.

One must make a nutrition and fluid plan for a gravel 100, even on RAGBRAI. I didn't plan well - thinking that I was on RAGBRAI and food and drink is plentiful. I bonked a solid 3 times, running out of drink and having NO traveling food 5-10 miles before my next town. That was just plain dumb.

It was cool entering back into RAGBRAI, all dusty and dirty, and seeing friends whome I had seen earlier - and I was keeping pace with them.

It was cool riding into the overnight town, and our camp, all dirty and tired and sunburnt and spent and bonked, to the cheers of the Bike World Charter tent. That made my day. As did the solar shower set up my my supportive bride... and the dinner soon afterwards!

Was it worth doing? Yes. One more down towards that Cup O' Dirt and great Leadville prep. I felt strong the whole day (except for my last section of gravel that was freshly laid 2' limestone stones... I nicknamed that section just plain 'Hell'.)
Would I do it again? Not alone, but with friends, you bet. Could even make it an annual tradition... but again - not alone!

And finally - Loose gravel sucks!

Dirty (well, I'm washed now) Dave

The Dirty Half-Dozen

Score another dirty hundy for Mike Johnson, John Adamson, Ron Saul,
Chris Congdon, and Jeremy Fry is now on the list, too. We
met downtown Cedar Falls Sunday morning (7/22) with
the intention of riding 'till we didn't want to ride anymore. John
and Mike are in the final stages of their Leadville prep, so this ride
was an important gauge of their fitness.

We spun out of Cedar Falls through George Wyth State Park, past the airport, then right down through the heart of Waterloo. Yeah, that added a little bit of
pavement, but that's how we hooked up with Jeremy, and then made
straight for the gravel of Ansborough Ave as it heads due south out of
town. We stayed on Ansborough for miles. It was a glorious morning
for a ride: not too hot, blue sky, and a light, but strengthening,

Somewhere down in Tama County, our road T'd and we started
winding around to get across Wolf Creek and into Traer where we
stopped for coffee, doughnuts, burritos, etc. The terrain had gotten
surprisingly hilly, and we'd lose Paul on the climbs. He knew the
route, so we kept going, and sure enough, he showed up before our
coffee got cold. We left Traer to the north and west on an
aptly-named road called Ridge. Ridge Road climbs west out of Traer,
and then stays on the ridge-top, following the terrain instead of the
compass. It is really strange - this pocket of hills - there's
nothing else like them for miles around. With great views in all
directions, it is worth doing a dirty hundy just to find this road.
Eventually, Ridge Road peters out into the regular grid and we find
ourselves flying north with a great tailwind. We crank up the pace
and have a little fun attacking the hills and each other and we cruise
into Reinbeck at about Mach 5.

A short break for more food and drink,
- free pizza samples! - and Mike discovers a broken spoke to be the
cause of a new wobble in his rear wheel. He disconnects the rear
brake and rides the next 50 miles without it. Paul rolls in, decides
he doesn't really need to stop, so we all move out together. It seems
like it's taking a while for the legs to start spinning again, so the
pace stays a little more subdued than the before the break. There are
hills and we lose Paul again. A dragonfly perches on John's shoulder
and rides for several miles. We arrive in Dike for another stop.
Paul follows a few minutes later and decides to head directly back to
CF. He'll get a decent 80 miles for the day. The rest of us leave
Dike going west and north to our favorite Chequamegon-training hills
near New Hartford. After a lap of the hills, we hit our final stop
in NH. My legs are really tired, and it gets harder to get going
again after each stop. We're 10 miles from home and Mike and John and
Jeremy charge the last three hills on Westbrook Road while Ron and I
lightly spin it in. So, a hundred miles for the five of us, but more
importantly Mike and John both look to be in excellent shape for


Chris Congdon

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dirty Century on Monday - RAGBRAI!

Kids, I've mapped it all out - now join me in a day of fun, dust, dirt and RAGBRAI!

Meet in Spencer at 6:30am at the Casey's at 800 S Grand. Just south of the park that cuts through town. We'll ride the first 6 miles on route, then hit the gravel. We will pass through Marathon, Albert City (on the Century Loop - appropriately) Laurens, Rolfe and into Humbolt.

Here's the route: print yer own! I'll have one for me... if you don't print one, then you can just ride with Mapboy... or get lost, find the paved RAGBRAI Route and finish out the day - choice is yours!

RAGBRAI Dirty Hundy

Enjoy the weekend!
Dirtfully Yours - Dave

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Dusty One!

Watch for them dogs - it's so danged dusty that when a car passes it reduces visibility to almost zero... provided a stealth advantage for the dogs! We were chased only a few times on our Cup chasing, Leadville prepping 100 yesterday. Though the dust clouds may provide an advantage - a lazy July afternoon on the porch seemed enough to keep most dogs home!

Duffy, BenG, Fish, and Alread joined the tandems, Logans and Mables in western Urbandale for a long ride through Polk, Madison and Dallas counties at the wee hour of 6am on Saturday.

A gentle but consitent tempo lead us through Adel, and south, past Van Meter and into the hills of Madison County. The troubles for Duffy began here as his seatpost would not stay put. We must have stopped a dozen time to raise and tighten that darned thing - wiping off the grease - and even giving it a coat of dust... still moved and frustrated him as he kept slipping and falling behind to adjust it. He stayed strong, though, persevering through the challenge and making his way up the long and steep hills even when his positioning was less than ideal.

A highlight of our Madison County tour was the detour through the Hogsback covered bridge. A romantic side trip back in time. The Logans and Mables had to be pulled back on thier bikes as the romance got the better of them and they had to stop for a kiss (not really, but we talked about it!!!)

Earlham was our firt stop - 58 miles into the ride. Van Meter was our first planned stop, but a bridge-out forced a detour.... The local grocery store provided the opportunity to refuel and enjoy a 45 min. break in the shade.

On north, through the hills of the Racoon River Valley, and finally past Redfield and north of Adel. Again the Racoon River Valley (North Fork) kept us in the hills, at least until our final climb to Dallas Center. Our final stop at Casey's at mile 88 and then the last 13 miles to the parking lot. BenG and Alread could smell the barn at this point and kept quite a tempo - it was a strugle to hang onto there anxious wheels, but it was good to be able to after so many miles. One long gradual climb - very 'Boulevardish' to go and we were off gravel for the last time.

We reached the meeting spot = 102 miles, 6:59, a great day, a great pace! The Mable Tandem and BenG had a final few miles to home - 7:19 and 107 miles.

A Good day - the entire gang is looking good and well on their way to their Leadville goals - BenG sure wants the big buckle and he's riding strong. Alreads' shooting to better his best of 9:48 and was right with BenG on the climbs. Duffy is looking strong for his first, He, Fish, Logans and Mables... really just want the buckle and come in under 12. Mables would like a little more distance between themselves and the cannon this year - as 4 1/2 minutes was cutting the hair pretty short last year! Maybe we can enjoy the ride up the Boulevard this year!

Next hundy? Monday of RAGBRAI! Spencer to Humbolt - 100 miles of gravel intersecting the route many times to enjoy the flavors of RAGBRAI! Join me if you can!

Peace - Dave