Banana Slug #3: Lone Star Junction

First, I would like to apologize for the delayed post.  I got a little behind this week and then realized I still hadn’t shared results with you all!

Okay, so.  Saturday, March 14, a group of RCMBA riders met at Freshwater Park for the third ride of the Banana Slug series.  The turn out was it’s biggest yet for the Lonestar ride yielding 22 riders!  Although it was a damp morning with a few light showers, it seemed fair weather for this challenging route.

Riders left at 9 heading straight up Kneeland rd. After the grueling climb towards the airport, riders turn off just before it and descend into Lawrence Creek.  From here the ride is quite beautiful with twisty turns, some dirt road, and often a very scenic landscape to ease the pain.  Eventually riders cross Lone Star Creek and reach Showers Pass rd, which they follow only briefly before turning up Mountain View rd, which features a gravel ascent with crazy steep grades that require some serious calf muscles to propel one up.  Some of us slip out on our skinny road wheels and are forced to hike…and yes, I prefer to blame the wheels…

Views along Showers Pass Rd.

Views along Showers Pass Rd. (photo taken by me the previous year)

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The cruel climb up Mountain View Rd. Photo credit: Kaydee Raths

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More beautiful views. Photo credit: Kaydee Raths

So after maybe the most accomplishing and punishing section of the ride, riders only must get back up to the airport before bombing back down Kneeland rd into Freshwater Park.  If you aren’t riding for a fast time it can be fun to take a quick water/snack break on the landing strip and race your friends to the edge.

The ride covers 42.7 miles of road and climbs 7,274 ft of killer hills!  And sure, its a grueling mini TUC that reminds us what pain is, but man it sure is rewarding with its gorgeous views and Humboldt flavor.  Plus the endorphins at the end don’t suck.

Jim Christopher, 79 (!)after finishing the ride.  Let's all hope we are still taking on rides like this at 79.

Jim Christopher, 79 (!)after finishing the ride. Let’s all hope we are still taking on rides like this at 79.

Kaydee Raths and Jacky Schuler after their ride, still smiling!

Kaydee Raths and Jacky Schuler after their ride, still smiling!

Every Banana Slug ride so far has yielded an awesome turnout and we are excited about the final stage in just a couple of weeks!  We are riding Dyerville on Saturday, April 11.  Details to come, so stay posted and we hope to see you there!

Oh, and special thanks to Tim Daniels for organizing this awesome series, to Jenny Mason for timing this ride (and for playing guitar with me while we waited), and Los Bagels for the delicious post ride bagels!

Alright, so, RESULTS!

Geoff Huber 3:03
Michael Davies-Hughes 3:10
Errin Odell 3:14
Sten Tjaden 3:16
Shaun Lyle 3:18
Jeff Aguiar 3:24
Robert East 3:35
Kevin Biernacki 3:36
Rik Rieder 3:49
Michael Chapman 3:52
Todd Flackus 3:52 2 Flats
Mark Severy 3:53 4 Flats
Andy Schruck 3:53
John Emery 3:54
Jess Couch 3:55
Kaydee Raths 3:56
Grant Lay 3:59
Jacky Schuler 4:59
Tim Daniels 5:26
Jim Christopher 5:29
Chris Schinke Alt. Rte.
Mike Woychak Alt. Rte.
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3 Comments on “Banana Slug #3: Lone Star Junction

  1. On the Unbearable Goofiness of Riding

    During the last 3 weeks, my cycling training had undergone drastic mandatory modification again, to include a ridiculous 2,600 miles of driving in a Ford truck with a bent bucket seat that has a metal bar that sticks out into your lower back (just chalk it up to: ‘A Friend in Need’ and all that…), and a dearth of only about 100 miles of subsistence-level riding on an actual bike. My physical conditioning consisted of knee-crunches on a barn floor, 10-hour work days, and beer drinking.

    All the day before Lone Star I spent 12 hours behind the wheel of my pickup, doing floorboard leg-presses and gas pedal knee-locks; arriving home with barely enough daylight left to take a short spin just to remind the body what cycling feels like, and to begin to rehabilitate my ‘driver’s legs’. So much for exotic excuses…
    ————————–
    I arrived at the start with just enough time to jump out of the truck and hop on the bike; no warm-up, no pre-ride socializing. Just instant 9-miles of 2,700 feet of climbing to Kneeland Summit. From the saddle of my Stumpjumper hardtail, I watched the whole group of tough roadies ride away from me until I was alone and in nearly-last place.

    At a time like this, the beginning of a race and being hopelessly stuck just trying to warm up instead of trying to keep up… I started thinking about the Big Bang. (?) And how this was a weird version of some expanding universe, where the riders at the front are moving away from the riders in the middle who are moving away from me, and I am moving away from anyone behind me. As cyclist ‘Space Oddity’ musings of alienation hovered like Harry Potter Dementors, I just tried to focus on the pedals in their precise orbits around the crank, as if the bottom bracket was a big helium atom in a low energy state.

    About 20 miles later, the universe had begun shrinking, as I caught up to the first 5 riders ahead of me; because the mountain bike turned out to be really handy on the couple of miles of dirt road descent with squirrely pitches that at times were possibly 15% grade. Also handy were the granny gears, and the 1.95 inch commuter tires during the ferocious climb back up a few dirt miles containing 16% pitches. At this point, it became unknown whether the universe was expanding or shrinking, but I undeservedly passed several super-riders who were encountering the ‘flat’ universe (in the keys of Bb major and Ab major; 2 flats and 4 flats). Respect to all you who rode it on 23 and 25c tires.

    For a medium distance, this is full value. Now that’s a training ride! And another solid adventure with cyclist friends. Thanks for organizing it.

  2. Thanks for sharing Rik. I really enjoyed reading your narrative on your ride that day. My experience was very similar, yet different as the universe expanded away from me as every rider left me behind on the Kneeland climb.

    It really is quite a beautiful setting for a ride. As an added bonus, the dogs near Lawrence Creek didn’t harass anybody that I know of.

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