The Grass is all Green.
 

When it Gets Tough, Well.....

The Journal is the space to Go Out and Play with Wild Rock

 
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This time it was decisive.  What remained of the lead group at Almanzo 100 was rolling away from me and though I was calling out for more cowbell my legs were just not responding.  And so, I was on my own. 

This was not the first time that I had been dropped by this group.  Oh no, not the first, but it would prove to be the last.  I was on my onesie and it was going to be like that for many miles to come. 

Now the funny thing is, I like people.  Really, I do.  I even like riding bikes with them.  But the Almanzo is kind of a race and I guess I have a “thing” about racing.  This “thing” told me to keep putting pressure on my pedals …as much pressure as I could muster for as long as I could muster it.  And so, I kept pedaling.

Somewhere behind me people were having more fun than me.  Although I knew that with absolute certainty, I kept pedaling.  Deep gravel, relentless kicker climbs, headwinds, crosswinds …but never, seemingly, a tailwind.  Although I was starting to come unraveled I also started to see things in a different way than I might have done in a group.  Filtered through a haze of effort I actually saw the huge skies, the narrow river valleys, the woman shoveling shit with her three-legged dog by her side and even the plumes of dust rising from unseen roads off in the distance.  By the time another rider caught up to me I had been on my own for almost 50 miles.  By the time another caught up to me I think I had come to some to an understanding of what the Almanzo is really all about.

 

 

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I often find myself questioning my decisions; wondering why my competitive instinct kicks in (which, by the way, it does exclusively on a bike).  Maybe it would have been better if I had just sat up and waited for some of the truly fantastic people who I knew were just behind me, for example.  Maybe I should have just put on a baggy jersey and not started in the front row.  Maybe, maybe, maybe …maybe the grass would have been greener on the other side.

We all have different stories.  Some of us came to Minnesota to ride, some of us to race, and some of us just to be with friends.  Riding bikes …no, not just riding bikes, but believing deeply about the importance of riding bikes, is the thing that binds us together.   That and taking the road less traveled.  The road less traveled has led me to the best experiences of my life. This time it led me to Spring Valley for the Almanzo 100 and for that I am thankful.  The (gravel) road less traveled helped me come to the simple realization that grass is green and that the best road is the road you are riding right now.

[K]

 

 

Kieran is one of our co-pilots here at Wild Rock. In addition to being super fast on a bike, Kieran is an encyclopedia on all things that get your endorphins pumping. You can access this info by bringing him an Americano.

 
Wild Rock Outfitters
Daycations. Yep that's Right, Daycations.
 

Making the most of it.

The Journal is the space to Go Out and Play with Wild Rock

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I spend quite a bit of time guiding cycling trips in Europe.  As our clients are on holiday, the days there have a flow.  A casual start time is typically followed by a leisurely coffee stop.  A few more km’s usually signals time for a nice lunch followed by a couple more hours on the bike.  More often than not rides finish up at the hotel bar before we all get cleaned up for dinner. 

Then we come back to our beloved hometown and fall into the pattern of squeezing rides into the few hours we can carve out of our busy days.  This habit drives my lovely partner crazy so a few years ago we committed to taking our European holiday theme and living it out as well as we can here at home.  These all-day rides are about embracing and truly experiencing what is close to home rather than taking it for granted. 

So, this is the first of our …I don’t have a name yet …maybe we can call them Cycling Daycations. 

Plan to start your morning at the Silver Bean Café overlooking the Otonabee River in the heart of town.  You may be tempted to eat more but I would suggest a coffee and a scone or muffin, which are both delicious, as you can expect 2nd breakfast just up the road in Lakefield. 

Going north my suggested route detours off River Road to take in one of my favourite little gravel roads in the whole county.  Short and sweet, Hickey Rd is well worth the few extra minutes as it really has a timeless beauty to it.  Besides, you might need to build up a little more appetite before stopping in at the Nutty Bean in Lakefield for a classic Café Breakfast. 

With a full belly, take the back way out of Lakefield on your way up to the Lantern Grill on Stoney Lake.  A light lunch up on the terrace is a fantastic way to get yourselves into a cottage country frame of mind.  If you are not feeling up to lunch just yet then the bakery downstairs is the place to grab a drink and some baked goodness. 

 

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The way home takes riders through Warsaw and Douro on the way back to Peterborough.  More importantly, the ride finishes up rolling right past the Ashburnham Alehouse.  These folks know a thing or two putting great food and drink in front of hungry cyclists.  So, if it is early doing yourself a favour and stop by for a drink.  If, however, you have spent this day the way Dee and I did you will be rolling by close enough to dinner time that you can justify sitting down to another meal. 

The ride is “only 80km” but if you do this right it will take you all day.  Trust me, you will thank me for this advice! [K]

 

 

Kieran is one of our co-pilots here at Wild Rock. In addition to being super fast on a bike, Kieran is an encyclopedia on all things that get your endorphins pumping. You can access this info by bringing him an Americano.

 
Welcome to The Journal.
 

Let's Get This Started.

The Journal is the space to Go Out and Play with Wild Rock

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Shoulder Season. This is the time of the year that many of us seem to exist in a state of flux. With the snow eeking away, the temperatures still a little chilly, we quite often sit in a stalemate with Mother Nature to get outside and enjoy those things we love to do. The transition from winter to spring sees many of us sitting down with a cup of coffee and planning a seasons worth of adventure, travel, and good old-fashioned fun.

This is the time of the year at Wild Rock where we do pretty much the same thing. It's transition time, the new gear for the season starts rolling in daily, and we begin to change over the store to spring and bring all those new bikes, boats, shoes, clothes, and camping gear up onto the sales floor for you to oogle over! As busy as we are getting ready many of us, just like you, are daydreaming of warmer temperatures to get out on our bikes, the ice to leave the rivers to paddle , and the trails to dry out to head into the woods.

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In the spirit of transition, Spring also kicks off the launch of our new digital home - let's call it Web2.0. We had a major change to our web presence at our 20th Anniversary, and now as we celebrate 25 years it is time for a new look and direction. What you will see on our new website is a focus on what we do best, and what sets us apart from all those other places you could go shopping for your new gear. That focus is on our community. In 2018 you will see more events, workshops, rides, daytrips, and get to know our staff on a deeper level.  Web2.0 is a work in progress, so make sure you drop by frequently to see what we have coming your way.

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Which brings us here. To the launch of The Journal. Our vision with The Journal is to give you a spot to come back to, a place to go on an adventure with us, to get to know our staff and community, and learn about our favourite new gear to play outside with. Many moons ago we regularly shared stories and writing contributions from our staff and friends, and we are really looking forward to bringing some of this great content back to you.

So let's get this thing started - here is to shoulder season, the time of year to get pumped for what lays ahead - can't wait for you to join us! [J]   

 

Jamie is our Athletic Department Manager, trend seeker, and digital dude. He is always up for talking about the latest gear, proper sock height, and Trappist beers from Belgium.