This is all to say that I was very grateful that MG scheduled the Errandonnee a month later than last year. Doing this in February would have been possible-I'm generally more stubborn than sensible anyhow-but it would not have been a fun endeavor. Plus, now I can include pictures of the cutest children in the world, who also conveniently happen to be my own.
|Now if I could only get photo proof of that.|
The Fruited Plain Cafe
The Centre Mall (Model airplane show)
|Every time I looked away she shuffled a little bit closer.|
The local mall is just a hop across the highway from our lunch stop. This Saturday the mall was hosting a remote control airplane show. Nothing was flying, but the models on their own were very cool. The gentleman responsible for the giant half built glider said that he was about 300 hrs into his project. "About 80% done with around 80% left to go." as he put it.
My daughter was fascinated (this meant a barrage of questions). My son, being 16 months old, was not allowed anywhere near.
|When it comes to attracting the detail obsessive, the model airplane people are our kin.|
Store that is not a Grocery
|As we move through the errands, the quantity of snow slowly decreases|
The Fruited Plain
|Longtail switched over to muffin mode.|
The purple tub has a dozen of the best Blueberry muffins you've ever had.
So, I don't technically work for The Fruited Plain. My wife does their baking from our home, and every morning I deliver the morning muffins. I don't get paid, but I do raid the day-olds, which I think counts as a wage. I've been doing this short ride 5 days a week almost without fail since Christmas (a studded tire as a Christmas present greatly increased the conditions I could ride in). After a nasty prolonged winter, it is wonderful to be able to simply enjoy a quick morning ride, instead of bundling up into a "fortress against the cold" as my brother puts it.
My bike for this ride is the trusty Schwinn World tourist. It had been my go-to errand runner before the snow started flying (which was several months ago) so this short ride was a pleasant reunion. Despite it's weight, oddball shifting and many paint scratches, this bike just makes me smile. It's a bike that'll get me somewhere, sometime, whatever.
Personal Care and Health
Ordinarily, I'm not a gym/health club person. In part because I'm too cheap to pay for membership, and because (and my suspicions were confirmed on this) running on a treadmill sounds like a mild level of hell. My wife and I are participating in a marathon/half marathon challenge as part of Live Healthy Iowa, which is a state run 100 day wellness program. The challenge is to run a half or full marathon over the course of the week. I'm going for the full 26.2. This means getting up a 4:30 to get to Snap by 5:00, run 8 miles, and get back to the house by 6:30 to prep for work. Snap is a very nice place, people are friendly, but I really do not know how people can do this on a regular basis. I will happily run through the winter, polar vortex be hanged, if I can stay off that treadmill. That said, a easy bike ride makes a wonderful warm-up/cool-down after a long run.
Personal Care and Health
Brothers Bike Shop
|Calm before the storm|
Time to sink or swim. I work part time at a small bike shop not far from my home. Over the winter, things get very quiet, so much so that I had not worked in the shop since late November. Now I was back, but my boss was gone for the weekend, so it's just me and the bike mad masses. RAGBRAI will be starting about 15 miles from my shop, and spring fever had everyone all frothing at the mouth to get out. The morning went by in a blur, but I think I was able to get everything and everyone sorted out and happy.
Brothers Bike Shop
|The Prospect fully set up. Also, a giant pile o' gravel.|
I trespassed to get this photo. Hope that's okay.
Store which is not a Grocery
|Really, this is a photo of me with a bag of bags strapped to my back.|
I'm bad at selfies.
Hulst Library (Dordt College)
Some quick work with a calculator revealed that I was barely half way to satisfying the mileage requirement for the Errandonnee. Some shameless padding was required. The library in question is about 3/4 of a mile from my home. The route I took looks something like this:
Basically direct route to the library to return a DVD, then proceeded to do a very good impression of someone seriously lost. One of the bad parts of a small town is I'm confined to this mess for training when it's too dark to ride in the country. It gets really old. But this was the first little shakedown ride for the new road bike, and I think that we'll do well together. The Prospect is technically the same size as my old road bike, same material, same tire width, built with the same focus, but they are very different animals. The Prospect feels much more stretched out, due in part to having STI and some very wide handlebars(48mm vs the 40mm of my old bike). The bike feels like riding a very sedate bull sometimes. Due somewhat to the expansive feeling of the bike, it doesn't feel as snappy as my older bike, whether that actually means it's slower is harder to quantify. The other big thing I've noticed is how quiet the bike is. I keep my Sekai in pretty good order, but it is still a 25 year old bike, and bits always rattle. The Prospect is like riding a ghost. A bull ghost.
All Seasons Center (Indoor Fair)
The Sioux Center Indoor fair is a local business promotion event. Area business set up booths, and you can ask them questions, and they try to sell you stuff. There are giveaways and food on the cheap, and its generally a good time. The kids and I arrived with one very specific goal in mind: Get a balloon. If you have young children, you know that at all costs, you MUST GET THE BALLOON. We got a balloon, then got out of there. By the way, a balloon flying behind your bike makes for an excellent driver attention getting device. No pictures of the balloon, sorry.
The Fruited Plain
|Oh, the glamorous places you'll go.|
We're into bonus territory here because I needed a few more miles to get over the minimum. My daughter shares a birthday month with MG (Cake for everyone!). My wife decided to make an Elsa dress for my daughter because she's the coolest mother in the world. She had completed the dress with the exception of some serging that needed to be done along the hem. This a problem, but fortunately we have some friends in well equipped places who were more than happy to finish the dress off. A pound of coffee was agreed upon as payment (Perhaps a bit generous, but if you need to serge and you do not have a serger, you're sunk). After padding my route a bit, I swung by the shop, stuffed the coffee into the Banjo Bros bag, and called it an erranndonee.
Thanks again to MG to hosting this event and helping all of us welcome spring with some proper bike riding. The Errandonne always gets me out when the weather says stay in. I hope all of you reading have a wonderful and safe spring.