Five weeks now we've made it outside. I must say, I wasn't too optimistic going into the weekend. Saturday was our best bet and as I rolled into the NPS parking lot it wasn't looking good. Temps were above the freezing mark and the snow from the previous days was melting. Our only hope was to get out of town quick and onto country roads where it would hopefully be dry. This meant scraping our plan for gravel which also meant I was fenderless as I'd already grabbed the CX bike for the day. It was going to be wet and sloppy no buts about it.
The days saving grace was the groups decision to head north on my favorite route through the loess hills. This route was one of the reasons I bought the new Bontrager Node computer, to see what grade the days climbs would hold. The loess hills would not disappoint as what we found would be the closest to an Ardenne ride most of us will ever get. The route is littered with 12-16% grades, non the length of a true Ardenne climb but if ridden in anger they'll make you suffer just the same.