Deer, Birds, Labs, and 1 Dead Snake

“The weatherman predicted “breezy” out of the SE, and my phone said that the wind would be SE at 13 mph. By the time I hit the gravel south of town it was a solid 15 mph with gust to 20. Temps were already in the low 50s and the sky was clear. I decided to ride towards Dysart and then let the wind push me towards Traer and then back to Waterloo.

The gravel was pretty chunky in most places and the tractor and sprayer treads also made it lumpy. I saw farmers working in the fields everywhere; most of them were applying fertilizer or anhydrous, but a few were already planting corn. The headwind was tough and the temps continued to rise into the 70s. I only brought two water bottles and soon realized that this wasn’t going to be enough.

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As I was approaching Wolf Creek near LaPorte City, I saw 4 deer standing by the road. They had been chased out of the creek bottom by a farmer on his Ranger. They were watching the farmer, so they didn’t notice me until I was within a few yards of them. I was fumbling for my camera, but I didn’t get a pic as they crossed the road right in front of me. A few miles down the road, I saw a dead bull snake coiled in the middle of the road; he appeared to have been hit by a car.

At about 30 miles, I was out of water, and I still had another five miles until the convenience store in Dysart. As I rode past a waterway, I heard a familiar sound and turned to see a pair of Hungarian Partridge flush out of the grass. They make a screeching sound when they flush and I think it sounds like a squeaky gate hinge. At the SE-most point of my ride, I jumped on the Old Creamery Trail and rode into Dysart. I refueled at Casey’s and continued West towards Traer.

As I was riding past an acreage, a pair of Labrador Retrievers started to bark and run towards me. They didn’t seem to be fast enough to catch me, but the yellow one acted like he was going to give it a try. That was when the shock color from the invisible fence shocked him as he approached the boundary. He was so rattled by the situation, that he continued to run along the boundary getting shocked the whole time. He finally turned back towards the house and crawled under the porch feeling sorry for himself. When I came to the SW point of my planned course, I turned North. There was a nice looking B-road heading West, but I didn’t know where it would end up.

I stopped at the cemetery on the edge of Traer and took a picture of my bike in front of the wrought iron gate.

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I continued North towards Wolf Creek and zig-zagged on the gravel roads where it followed the creek. I came to another B-road, but I needed to turn at that intersection so I could get across the creek. It was hot and sunny, and I could tell that I was getting sunburned. The roads were still chunky, lumpy, and dusty. AT 60 miles, I was almost out of water. I was planning on taking an East on Petrie Rd, but I missed the intersection because I was distracted by a crew repairing field tile. I approached Hudson and thought about stopping for water and riding the bike trail home, but I wasn’t satisfied with my % of gravel miles, so I turned East and rode gravel to Ansborough Ave and into town. I stopped at Fire Station 6 and refilled my water bottles for the ride home. Over 74 miles, and home in time to cook supper.”

-Tony M.

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Jim

Cup O'Dirt Admin

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