Dairy Roubaix and the TI Taper

Ok, perhaps that sounds like the name of a band, or perhaps an old-timey dance step. So it goes.

It’s less than one week until the start of Trans-Iowa V9. I’m as trained as I’m going to be, and my bike setup has been tweaked, for better or worse. There’s nothing left to do now but get there, and start pedaling.

But we started our taper for Trans-Iowa by riding the 54-mile edition of Dairy Roubaix, now running in its second year.

This year, DR started and finished at Wyalusing State Park. We rolled out of the park neutrally.

The rollout (photo by ML)

The rollout (photo by ML)

Blue skies and a few clouds, light winds. And some pavement — a little over 20 miles total.

Some pavement (photo by NV)

Some pavement (photo by NV)

But we were really there for the gravel roads that run through many of the hills and valleys of this part of Wisconsin. Gravel conditions were just about perfect for fast riding: compact, no newly laid and graded aggregate, not too many potholes or wet spots, and very little in the way of sketchy.

Some gravel (photo by NV)

Some gravel (photo by NV)

And there was even a bit of cyclocrossing in the grass, though without dismounts, thankfully, before the finish line.

The finish line (photo by KK)

The finish line (photo by KK)

Besides being a great ride through beautiful country with friends, this was also a final tune-up for Trans-Iowa. While that took some of the fun out of the ride itself, since “what does this mean for next weekend” keep spinning around in the back of my mind, it also let me know that my bike setup is adequate and my condition is decent.

Could I have felt better? Certainly — especially given that I’ve been dealing with some increased tightness and stiffness in my legs of late. But, even with that occasional stiffness, my legs kept spinning along, even if they weren’t always going as fast as I would like.

Is the bike ready to go? Very nearly. This week will see it getting a cleaning and a tune-up, as well as a new cassette and chain so that my low gear will be 34×34 instead of 34×32. I imagine that will come in handy in the later stages of TI. Or even right away.

And now, I’ll continue with my TI taper. Spin easy, drink a lot of water, get some sleep, and just try to relax.

Now, if I could only take a hot shower at home.

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