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My Road to Kanza


My Road to Kanza

I got into gravel endurance cycling back in 2013.  I bought my first cx/gravel bike, a 2012 Giant TCX-W and wanted to take it further than the bike paths around my house.  I trained and did the Gravel Metric. Coming from a family of crit/road racing, gravel was brand-new and intriguing to me.   I now see it as a path to personal growth. I have had to overcome navigating, riding alone, training, pacing, eating, and riding in the dark.  

In 2018, I decided that it would be a good year to train for DK200.  Our now 3 ½ year old son was out of the 5 time-per-year ear infections and sickness phases.  My husband and I had already a couple years of solid gravel riding. He had finished a DK200 and felt that I deserved the opportunity give it a shot.  

The training plan I followed, outdoor riding, and putting forth my best attitude contributed to how I felt to reach the big day.  Every success or failure you come across is a building block for the big day (regardless of the outcome).

I used a training plan, and my sister-in-law plugged it in to the Garmin Connect entry. at . a. time. I give her so much credit for taking the patience to help me establish my heart rate zones and manually enter the workouts.   Fitting in the workouts 2-3 times per week and logging in the long miles on the weekends was like a Tetris game, but I made it work. Some weeks I had to get creative, but I never gave up. Everything I feared in work, family, life sorted itself out because I stayed persistent and believed that I could do it. I will finish this training plan.  One important piece of advice I did get from a DK finisher, Stu Garwick, (a dad, husband, and owner of Freeport Bicycle Co. /Organizer of Ten Thousand) was if you get burned out from work, family life, and training to make sure that you step back and take a breather. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t get absorbed by the routine and the pressure of training.  It worked for him and he had a great Dirty Kanza.

Most people who train for DK, incorporate the Midwest gravel events such as Barry Roubaix (MI), Almanzo 100 (MN), Dairy Roubaix (WI), The Epic (MO) Hellkat Hundie (MI), or Ten Thousand (IL) . I know that gravel events take up travel time and money so I had to plan around my family life and budget.   Dirty Kanza is an expense and a trip in and of itself, so I didn’t want the family burned out by June 2. It was going to be a matter of coordinating rides with friends or signing up for the closer gravel rides here in Illinois.

In February, Brandon and I drove an hour to Pecatonica, IL and rode Frostbite 40.  Only 40 miles? It was a day where 40 miles felt like 60. It was held in the Driftless region of IL on a day barely reaching 30 degrees Fahrenheit and howling 20 mph winds.  Although Brandon was my windshield for the day, no doubt we both suffered in the wind, the sloppy and mushy gravel waking up from the winter freeze. Every climb hurt, and we were finished the ride feeling thoroughly exhausted.  

I decided to make my only “destination” gravel event outside of DK, LandRun 100.  I have heard nothing but good things about it. The gravel in the Midwest that I’ve ridden is country road gravel, and generally predictable. The term “gravel road” in Kansas and Oklahoma is loosely defined.  I signed up for LandRun100 both to hold myself accountable to ride 100 miles in March and to get myself outside of my comfort zone on their bouncy red dirt roads. LandRun 100 was exciting, and I really learned how to handle unfamiliar terrain.    The energy of the promoters and volutneers, the participants who came from near and far, Salsa’s Chase the Chaise at mile 90 kept you stoked 100% of the time.

The weekend after Easter April was Rough Road 100 (km) a local gravel /road race in Morris, IL along the Illinois River.  It was 18 degrees at the start and my original group of friends decided not to continue due to mechanicals and the uncertainty over the frigid conditions.  I already experienced the cold and wind from Frostbite 40 so I felt that I could hold out and ride the 60 miles. Since it took some time to assess my friend’s mechanical and part with one another, I was in the back of the race.  I saw Jenny Aguilar by herself and decided to be her Sherpa for the day. “I need the torture” I told her jokingly. We did pick up another woman, Leah Barry. Leah and I took turns pulling for Jenny and made sure that she was going to finish. Regardless of our fitness that day, it was cold, windy and long.  This was a day to test our mental fortitude. The three of finished together and shared the joy of completing a hard ride.

On April 22, we got a break from the cold and got the chance to bare some skin at Grumpy Grind.  This ride took us over 86 miles of the Driftless area. Some of the road names were familiar to me from Frostbite 40.  I did a good job of drafting and staying in small packs as many times as I could. No matter how hard I backed off, or ate food, used bathroom stops I felt very flat that day.  The winds were relentless and at mile 60 I took a break to have part of my ham sandwich. Once I had a few bites of prosciutto ham and part of my mini Coke I felt like a rock star. Mile 75 felt like mile 1 to me.  I was riding in a fatigue period. Knowing how that feels was a good learning experience and I didn’t see it as a failure. It’s part of the process. I finished at a decent time and got to enjoy the vibe of a free and intimate gravel event with friends.  Gravel star, Kae Takashita was already finished and we had a photo taken together.

April 28. Is it warm yet? No. I had a ride planed with friends where the high temp for the day would be 50 degrees.  Back to covered arms and legs. Jon Schratz, my StayRad Adventure teammate, mechanic, all around best bike friend helped organize a 120 mile road ride.  Since it does take a good 50 minutes to 1 hour for me to reach gravel I decided this was a day to get more bang for my buck. Jon designed a route that started in Aurora, IL took us up to Campton Hills, west to Maple Park (near Dekalb), south to Sheridan, IL (very well near Morris / Illinois River again) and back to Aurora.  We danced in the hills enjoyed the tail winds when they when the going was good. I learned what riding 8+ hours felt like and how to digest my food. The ride was the longest distance I had ever ridden in my life, and it was my first century ever in Illinois (finally!). Needless to say, I felt toasted the next day.

The middle part of May finally cut my long rides shorter because I was in the taper phase. I used the local trail systems near my house to make those 3-4 hour rides without getting too far from home base in case something happened to me.  Memorial Day weekend brought temperatures in the 90s and everyone’s outdoor rides were torturous. I took the time to ride the Tuesday before Dirty Kanza in 94 degrees. That felt toasty.

I recently read a book, “Swimming Home”, about women who competed in open water swimming, during a time that was unheard of for them.  The best swimmers know that the ocean “owns” you, and you have to ride out the currents and conditions. I approach gravel the same way. No ride is the same. No conditions are the same. You are out in the open land, wind, and nature.  You have to go for it and ride out the “waves”. Every outdoor ride I took this year had its own personality and learning lesson that I took with me to DK 200.


Blood, Tears, & Gear(s)

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Blood, Tears, & Gear(s)

This past weekend was the fifth edition of the Grumpy Grind in Milledgeville, IL. Go ahead look it up, it’s a tiny town about thirty minutes north west of Dixon, Ronald Regan’s hometown. Big stuff out here folks. It’s on the edge of the area in Illinois we have grown to love, The Driftless Region.

Mark Johnson is the man behind all these years of great route and good time and every year he does not disappoint. And every year it’s a cue sheet ride; no early release of the route; no gps files; just a piece of paper with some road names, mileage, and what direction to turn. Each year it starts at “the farm” and goes off in whatever direction Mark would have us.

This is my forth Grumpy Grind and one of my favorite rides of the year. Each year the weather has been very different from the previous. This year turned out to be about as perfect as you could want it. The start was in the mid-fifties with almost no wind and nary a cloud in the sky.

For some reason I was at the very front of the group when Mark sounded the horn to go and off we went. It wasn’t too much of a crazy pace off the line but it picked up by the time we first hit gravel and I slid off the pack and found a place in the chase group. I was feeling really great, surprisingly great for how tired I was after not sleeping well the night before and a two hour plus drive out.

This was pretty uneventful for a while. The chase group started to crack apart and I found myself, once again, drifting off the back. I wasn’t the least perturbed by any of this; I didn’t come out here to race; I came out to enjoy myself and test my limits while I was at it.  I found myself in good company for a while as I rode along chatting with Brandon Gobel about how we had actually met each other almost a decade ago(I’m still looking for that picture, Brandon.) We ended up hooking up with a few Heritage gentlemen and rode together to the rest stop at mile 18.

HI Kae!

I wasn’t all too keen on stopping but the group did so I figured I would too. A few minutes later Eric Alexander rolled by without a stop and I jumped on and rode with him. We were going at a good 80+ mile pace and were talking about who knows what when his shifter stopped working. We pulled over and it seemed that the mech in the shifter was on its way out and he was going to have to singlespeed it the rest of the ride. Just then a gentleman of gentlemen stopped by and began to give Eric a hand. After some fussing and blowing, yes blowing, in the shifter it started to work again.  And I quote,”SRAM is like Nintendo, you have to blow in it to make it work.”-HAHA

Again, we are back riding enjoying the hills, the scenery and the beautiful weather. The Heritage boys caught up to us again and we let them slip on by. At this point it’s about 30 miles in and Eric tells me to go ahead with them if I’m feeling up to it he doesn’t want to go hard. I declined then changed my mind, sprinted off, and latched on to that group again.

Things are going great, I feel great, the roads are good, and we are pushing off at a solid speed. We took a left turn on to Astor Rd and that’s when things got weird. The road was hard, fast and smooth and I did something I don’t normally do on gravel; I was right on the wheel of the fella in front of me when disaster struck. There was a rut in the road and I found myself on the far right end of it rubbing my tire. It was quick and I tried to save it but before I knew it I was rolling around on the ground. YARD SALE.  Bottles and gear strewn about the deserted gravel rood. I’m not sure I’ve hit the ground going that fast before but I seemed to slide a lot longer than I had expected. Thankfully I was surrounded by good riders that were able to avoid running my ass over and no one else got caught up in my mess. With rage I stood to my feet and walk my bike to the side of the road I notice the chain is off the chainring so I pedal to get it back on and realize my rear derailleur in in my wheel. With no spokes busted and everything seeming fine except for the bet hanger I grabbed it and pulled it back. At this point I was probably too mad and I pulled a bit too hard and SNAP, it came off.  DAMN IT!  This is when I notice that there are steady drops of blood coming off my arm; I look at my forearm and all I can see is read. Great.

All the while the gentleman of gentlemen is there picking up my ejected jelly beans and coming to my assistance this time. His name is Patrick McIntyre and helped me out tremendously that day. I had my third bottle out and was blasting water on the wound in my arm and scrapes on in knee to see the extent of the damage and he was on the ground next to my bike with chain breaker in hand asking me what gears I want. My mind wasn't really focusing on what ratio I should be running so I told poor Patrick I had no idea. While he is doing that he is also giving me advice on what to do with the half inch wide by eighth inch deep hole in my arm. By then Eric had caught back up and the rest of the Stay Rad crew of Bionic Bob and Kristina show up to witness the carnage. Just as I was about to wrap my glove around my arm with a tube Eric recommends I use the Ziploc bag from the cue sheet and his arm warmer. That poor arm warmer, good thing it is black.

One speed, bloody ass elbow

Just as Patrick is finishing up my singlespeed conversion Mark Johnson comes by and sees the mess of things I had caused myself. He informed me that at the check point, about 6 miles down the road, they had a truncated route that is about 10 miles back to the farm. I yell back to him, “I can’t do it, I need that mug”

GG5 coffee mug of champions

That might need a little explanation. Every year there is either a pint glass or a mug for the first 50(ish) finisher and I’ve got a collection going. I couldn’t just call it because I was riding singlespeed.

By the time the bike is back in running order and I’m packaged up as best I could the pain in the muscles starts to creep up and I take off knowing the movement of my legs will hold it at bay. With six miles to the check point I am hoping they have some gauze and tape for me and I’d be lying if I was contemplating taking the short route.

When I had arrived they were expecting me and the fine folks there were more than accommodating. They did not have a gauze but he did have a clean old towel that he let me use to clean my arm again and soak in blood. He even let me cut a corner off to put inside the arm warmer in place of the plastic bag to cover up.

The man there turned to me with the cue sheet for the short route and that’s when I decided I wanted to finish. If I were to cut it short and go to a doctor or a hospital now there is nothing they could do that they couldn’t do after I had rode another 37 miles. I topped off my bottle and ate a sandwich and started to roll out with Bob, Kristina, Eric, Kyle and Paolo.

Blood on everything

The problem with singlespeed, for me anyway, is you have to do a certain pace. After a few hills I had noticed that I had left most everyone except Paolo. We ended up riding the rest of the ride together. We do good work of swapping pulls and slowly picked up some people on the way back. Looking at the elevation diagram I noticed that the second half of the ride had much more climbing and almost seemed to just keep going up. We had picked the Union team of Meesa Maeng, Courtney Reed Tanner, Laura Alagna, and Kristine Deibler along with the lone wolf Dan Szokarski and that was our group to the finish.

I could not have picked a better gear myself. There were a few times on flats that I was spinning out to stay with the group and definitely a few times I was feeling the climbs and fight off the cramps but all in all it was just about perfect. It got me to the finish, to get my mug, to show off my battle wounds and tattered drive train. After eating some delicious food and having some beers Paolo came through once more, with a first aid kit and I gave myself a proper cleaning and put some gauze on my arm.

Both crashed, both finish, both were rad.

Ever since I bought my Warbird I had wanted to ride it singlespeed and ever since I had found the Driftless I had wanted to ride it singlespeed as well. I didn’t exactly want either of them to happen the way they did but it did but I’m not mad about it either. I’m still very much tending to the damages I did to myself that day but what a great day it was.


Photos: us & here

Tees: here

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Belgian Spring


Belgian Spring

The 2017 Barry Roubaix Story.

It's hot, it's dark, and it smells real bad.  That is how I wake up in a hotel in the middle of nowhere Michigan with three other grown adults.  Hotel rooms full of cyclists always have a similar smell to dorm rooms.  As I walk to the window in the dark I'm dreading what I'm about to see, RAIN.  Lots of rain with no signs of letting up.

As I ate my hotel breakfast after a shitty nights sleep, I noticed other cyclists starting to gather for their "continental breakfast" in the hotel lobby.  I think to myself, "why do I keep signing up for this shit".  

It's been a few years since my last "Barry".  2014 was the last time I was in Hastings Michigan, a cute little town just south of Grand Rapids.  I always hear Barry come up when gravel races are mentioned.  Lets be clear, there isn't really any gravel or mud at Barry.  Rather, there is SAND, lots of sloppy sand that destroys bikes.  If you've ever done any kind of hiking, cycling, or camping in Michigan, you're familiar with all the sand everywhere.

This year it was going to rain all day, and never get to 40 degrees.  This ain't my 1st rodeo.  I've ridden in these conditions before, too often actually.  I know how to dress.  Wool.  Wool is your friend and should be your base.  Wool is some magical fabric that man can not recreate synthetically.  When wool gets wet, it stays warm.  Nothing else does that.  Then you need a decent shell.  An actual rain coat.  My weapon of choice has been the Giro Neo Rain jacket lately.  Really a garbage bag would work just as well, something that is basically plastic to keep moisture out and heat in.  Hands and feet are the tricky part.  Shoe covers of some sort were a must.  I had some crappy Specialized ones that I don't recommend, but they worked well enough.  My gloves, my wonderful Bontrager gloves that I've worn all winter saved my life.  I also recently invested in a Gore cycling cap.  Which might be the single best piece of cycling apparel I have ever purchased.  My head was warm and dry, the short bill helped keep the rain out of my face.

Sitting in the starting grid, I took a mental survey of the surrounding riders emotional vibes.  Many were jovial, make jokes and talking shit.  Others, have already lost.  Their faces long and full of dread.  This won't be a fitness test.  No, rather it was going to be test of a persons will and inner strength. 

Making love to the camera prior to the start.  Labok not ammused.

 Rain.  Hard sleeting rain started started to pelt everyone once we hit the 1st pavement section.  My only concern was my vision.  I wear glasses and at some point I had to pull over and gently put them away in my jersey pocket.  Which slowed me down quite a bit.  I had to be more careful of my lines and try to hang with someone who could guide me. perferable with a real fender.

Hard freezing rain.

Despair, fear, loneliness, are how I've been seeing people describe their day at Barry-Roubaix.  Mine could not be further from that.  Like I said, this ain't my 1st rodeo.  Mentally, I fine all day.  Happy even, jamming to songs in my head leap frogging from one quitter to the next.  While everyone was indoors playing on their power pads (Zwift) all winter, I was outside riding my bike.  I'm accustom to shitty weather, and I think that paid off.  I dropped people I had no business dropping.  I also never really pushed it as hard as I could have, for whatever reason.

Eventually the rain let up and I could put my glasses back on and turn the gas back on.  Half way through I started picking up others from Chicago.  Eventually I'd lose them in the headwind.  Yeah, headwind?  I don't remember Michigan having much wind.  WTF.  Towards the end I would end up working with the the woman who would later win the women's Single Speed category until her rear hub started to crap out and I started recognizing more local kits in the distance.  Clicking, scrapping, knocking, my poor bike pushed toward familiar roads and riders.  We were on the roads back into town, and I was on a mission to catch every Chicago rider I could.

With the motivation of seeing Chainlink, Lovestar, and Tuxedo Thunder riders in the distance, it was time to be done with all this.  By which point I could no longer feel my feet, at all.  My hands decided to start getting warm again at the end, letting me eat a little.  Slogging through those last few miles, trying to reach and pass every kit I could recognize was draining me.  The last few bits of gravel/sand were REAL soft, sucking my power like a vampire in a blood bank.  Pavement never felt so good beneath me as I rolled off that gritty spongy road.

I fought that guy behind me all damn day.  He won.

With blocks to go, this one guy caught up to, and passed me.  Who, I had been yo-yoing with all day and thought I had dropped for good a little bit ago.  Dammit.  He beat me.  I was dead.  I was done.  I cheered a few Chicago friends at the finish before I made a B-line to the car to get that floor heater on full blast.

Only in the car do I finally become unhappy.  Not cause I'm cold or didn't do the time I wanted, but the realization sets in that my bike is trashed and will probably need to be over hauled, replacing several parts.  Oh, and my car is now full of sand.  SIGH.  Its a real Charlie Brown moment in that parking lot in Michigan, that I wouldn't trade for anything else.

Until next year Barry-Roubaix.


Thank you SnowyMountain for letting me use some photos!!




2016 Rapha Prestige


2016 Rapha Prestige

2016 Rapha Prestige Midwest-in retrospect

Town full of trolls.

For those of you that haven’t read about the 2015 Rapha Prestige Midwest go ahead and give it a read here. If you want to skip it let me give you a quick synopsis… It was about 100 degrees and almost the same humidity. It was a damp burning hell. So I guess, Rapha decided to move it up a little sooner in the year so the weather wouldn’t be so oppressive. April 30th, 2016 was close to the opposite in temperature but just as treacherous.

This year is it was up on the beautiful roads west of Madison, WI around the Blue Mound area.  This is the same Driftless Area as the first RPM just a bit further north. So it still has plenty of up and downs to keep everyone on their toes and having fun.

The weather that day called for…. RAIN. All day, rain. And a high of about 45 degrees. So yeah, it was gonna be just a lovely day in the saddle.

On the bright side the roads this year were almost all paved so we did have that going for us. Rapha likes to keep everyone in suspense on these rides and wait until the very last minute to give out the course. I kind of enjoy that part of it. It makes me over pack(and over think) and run around doing everything I can to CYA before the last day.

Sitting at the start at Cress Spring Bakery in the middle of nowhere the weather looked like it was going to clear up a bit.  After a few miles we removed layers, stached the rain jackets and were enjoying the day with our fingers crossed it would stay that way. That didn’t last. Soon enough the skies darkened up and began to weep. And weep. And weep. From that point on the rest of the day was to be enjoyed in the rain. Good rain gear made or broke the ride this year. I had recently received a Gore waterproof cap as a gift and it earned its keep that day. Without that and a solid rain jacket there is no way that I could have made it as long as I did.

Leaving in waves, we rode through some quaint little towns and through plenty of farm fields and end up missing a turn onto the Badger State Trail. We quickly figured out our mistake and flipped around and got back on track. Soon after hitting the limestone we came up to the Stewart Tunnel, a quarter mile long 21’ high and 14’ wide tunnel with a slight bend in the middle so when you enter it becomes completely black. None of us brought a light bright enough to light our route so we just slowed down and took out sweet time getting through. There was a group of folks hanging out in the middle just drinking beer and enjoying the lovely day we were having. I had my eyes locked on their little lights to help lead the way. It was amazing.

Almost to the first stop in Blanchardville the Comrade Cycles team caught us. Three of which on single speeds. Yep, single speeds. As they buzzed by I hollered, “What took so long?” Then they were gone not to be seen again until the end.

Once in Blanchardville we found our way to a small gas station with some warm food and drink and a table for us to disrobe from our wet gear. After loading up on snack, refilling bottles and the such we started to get ready to hit the road again. We probably stayed in the heat too long, it was hard to leave.

More rain.

From there the temps slowly dipped a bit as the wind picked up and the spirits dipped as well. That’s when we saw Tim, from the Union team, in a van coming by after he had dropped out. That gave me mixed emotions. Part of me was sad to see such a strong rider pulling the plug on a tough day, but part of me got a little bump from him holler out the window, "STAY RAD", at us to keep it up!

That didn’t last too long. Sean was really starting to feel the wet and the cold. His jacket was not being a team player with him and was long since soaked through. Now, if you know Sean you know he rarely show any pain, or any emotion for that matter. He can be on the front of a race, stoic faced and crushing. However, this day was different. With legs long since soaked and shoes heavy from the water built up in them we were all fading.

A golden field of dandelions couldn't lift Sean's soaked soul.

Everything got harder. The wind was starting to pick up making the flat sections almost as difficult as the hills that define the area. One of those hills broke me, that was it, I was going to do it, I was going to walk a hill. It was the first, and to this point last, time I had walked a hill. There was a lot in me that said to just stay on the bike and force your way up it, but too much had built up already and I didn’t care anymore, I was walking.

Not soon after we were caught by the rest of the Union Cycling team out there and their faces mirror ours. We ride with them to the last stop on the route in Ridgeway. Not a lot of talking went on, just heads down and working together to get though.

Once in Ridgeway, we stopped at a gas station with food and hot chocolate. At that point all of us were in a different state of mind. I wanted nothing more than to go inside drink the biggest cup of boiling hot chocolate I could and warm up my insides. Schratz and Kristina had a different plan, stay for a short as possible and just get back on the road and finish. And Sean had the bleakest of plans…  hitch a ride back to the start. And I couldn’t blame him. We were saddened to see him leave but understood his reasons completely. Had my jacket and cap not been doing their job I’m not sure I would have lasted as long as he.  We also discovered that the Union squad had made the same decision as Sean and take a ride back to the bakery.

There we also ran into the Half Acre Cycling team as they were warming up inside.  Tim Coghlan, of Rapha, came into the gas station with disparaged look on his face and a truncated route. The new route took the sand and limestone path that was right out the door to Blue Mound to drop off some miles(and elevation) but still giving us the ability to finish the route by the power of our own two legs. We took that option.

The three of us teamed up with the remaining three of Half Acre to reunite Rad Acre and finish the ride. The bike path was brutal. Hours of rain and sandy limestone do not make up for very solid ground. This is the first time that my decision of riding on 28’s took its toll, at least that’s what I’m going to blame it on. Jen, Johnny and Kristina were put the hurt on and I was doing my damnedest to stay with the group.  Kristina was especially smashing it in the sand, like a demon chasing a lost soul.

Finally back on pavement we gave the final decision on the route, standing at a "T" intersection with the choice to go UP Mounds Rd for the out and back or turn right and go four and a half miles to the bakery. With the wind picking up and all of our digits getting colder by the second we decided that cutting the out and back out was going to be our choice.

The final stretch, no more turns until the bakery. Knowing the end was near we took full advantage of the amazing paved rollers ahead of us.  Half Acre had the same idea, dropping us on the final miles. We bombed down the last few miles.  The speed of the descents topped with the freeze wet temps made every effort to control our bikes & brakes a fight for survival. Windy and rain spitting in our tired happy faces, we finally rolled into the parking lot.  Wet, cold, tired, done, happy.

From then on it was all smiles. The fine gentlemen running the food truck were handing out Dixie cups of chicken broth and it was the greatest chicken broth any of us had ever had. With a quick change into dry clothes we were all starting to get a little color back in out cheeks along with food and drinks in our bellies.

With ten months of reflection, I decided it was an amazing adventure on some incredible roads in some less than ideal conditions. Not often do I decided to ride my bike 95 miles in the rain in 45 degree temperatures, but then, I wouldn't have had this tale to tell. Without the stellar team of Jon, Kristina and Sean it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.

Cold, wet, tired; Kristina post RPM

Words by Joel, Photos by Joel & Kristina


Exploring Local


Exploring Local

Just about every other day I do a quick out and back on the bike path by my house before work.  It's a way to spin the legs and get the metabolism going before breakfast and work.  Usually it' around 20 mi, some times I hit limestone, sometimes quick single track.

Well, on this cool rainy April morning I went out on my SSCX with no real plan.   As I headed west down the path the cool foggy mist moistened my face and I was wishing one of two things, 1.  Wish I hadn't shaved yesterday or 2. Wish I had my neck gator.  I creasing the pace to increase my body heat I speed off on a small limestone loop to get the feel for how dry the ground was, as it had been raining and dark for the last few days.  

As I continued west through Bliss Woods, I got closer to the end of the trail near Waubonsee Community College.  Just before the end of the trail there was a small bit of single track.  I'd never explored this, which is surprising since I've explored just about every other little off shoot dirt path along the bike trail. 

"Fuck it, lets check this out", I thought as I ripped off the path to the damp trail.  After some immediate bush whacking, I found myself on some sort of service road!  It was really bazaar.  Random piles of  mulch, a fenced off pit full of the dead remains of pumpkins, and places for bonfires, BIG bonfires.  It was damp and a little slow going at 36x15, but it was windy and really fun.

Here is the giant random pile of mulch. 

Here is the giant random pile of mulch. 

The remains of once great and noble pumpkins.  I can't even imagine what this is really used for.  There was also a pitch fork in there too.  

As I raced home to fill my belly with breakfest foods and get cleaned up for work, I thought how odd it was I had never checked this out before.  The little off shoot had been there for as long as I had been riding that bike path.  I can't wait to check it out when it's a little drier and warmer.  

Adventure can be found anywhere.  You just have to be open, look for it, and try.