Friday, June 3, 2011

There Will Be No Bacon Without Blood

This past Sunday, I joined up with eight others on what's known locally as the Bacon ride. It was my first undertaking of such an event.

Bacon ride participants Jonathan Neve, Mike Miles, Mark Savery & Eric Brunt. Not pictured: James Peters, David Randelman, Chris Goodall, Rafal Doloto

For those not in the know, the bacon ride is a round trip between Omaha and Platte River State Park, where a breakfast buffet complete with salted pig meat awaits. Much of the ride is on gravel and crushed limestone. As a result, most choose to ride cyclocross bikes.

It was a wet morning. A thunderstorm passed through at 4:00 AM, and another was threatening when we pushed off. Fortunately, we missed the storm and only had a few bouts of sprinkles. Still, the ground was soaked. The gravel wasn't too bad, but the crushed limestone was mushy in parts.

James Peters hydrates in Walnut Creek

There were many memorable moments on this ride. One of them was Rafal's crash on an old steel-trussed bridge spanning a swollen country creek.

Remember when Curly the Stooge would step on a wooden plank, only to have it come up and smack him in the face? Well, it was kinda like the inverse of that. As Rafal crossed the bridge, his front wheel neatly slipped into the expansion joint between two wooden planks. The wheel seized instantly. That's bad, especially when you're going about 20 mph, like Rafal was. However, the bike didn't stop moving. No, it continued to rotate around the front hub. Rafal had no time to react as the bike bucked him violently over the handle bars and onto the bridge decking.

Fortunately, both he and his bike were fine.

The same couldn't be said about his bibs:

Rafal's tattered bibs and road rash

I rolled up next to him a few minutes later to check how he was doing. What he said next was verbatim:

There will be no bacon without blood.

Yes! Our man was on a mission, and he was not going to be denied a seat at the Platte River State Park breakfast table that morning. Tattered bibs and road rash seemed to only motivate him more.

But before we got there, there was one more crash. A few miles down the road, Chris Goodall and I were riding and chatting side-by-side. We approached a sketchy corner at Hwy 50 and Hwy 66. As Chris rounded the inside corner, his tires washed out and slid into mine. Both of us went down. Then came a prolonged noise of aluminum scraping over wet concrete.

Remember folks, there will be no bacon without blood.

We were fine. Chris had some minor road rash, but otherwise okay.

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. In all, we covered 70 miles of beautiful country field roads, wooden planked bridges and crushed limestone trails.

Most importantly, Rafal got his bacon. In fact we all did, and even got some free high-fives to boot from the Lincoln crew who also rode in.

Good times.

If you haven't done a bacon ride, you really owe it to yourself to do so. I'm not saying that there'll be blood every week. There will certainly be bacon. But who knows? If you're lucky enough, perhaps Rafal will demonstrate how to wedge a front wheel into a bridge expansion joint just for giggles.

Happy Friday, everyone

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