Dirt Tan Road Trip

I talk a good game about how welcoming and fun and chill Lincoln’s gravel scene is. I’ll tell anybody who’ll listen that they need to get over here and see it for themselves.

Ride Gravel Worlds. Or the Solstice. Or Sto Mil. Or the Cornhusker State Games. Just get here already.

Don’t know anybody over here? That’ll only be true the first few miles. Hell, you might not even make it past the registration table before you regret you didn’t know to invite Rhino Albeez to your wedding.

Your reception would have been wilder with more Rhino. (Photo, R. Wright, Bohemian Sto Mil)

Still, telling you to come to Lincoln is easy for me to say. I’ve been around the section once or twice. I’m not Norm from Cheers, but a few folks around here know my name by now.

It’s comfortable here. (Too comfortable?)

You want to go where everybody knows your name…

Last year, an honest-to-goodness out-of-state reader—someone who isn’t morally obligated by the rules of friendship to follow this blog—invited me to come check out a race in her neighborhood: Iowa City Gravel.

And this year, I said screw it. I’m going.

So we’re packing up the Dirt Tan Van and heading east for an October 26th race where I won’t know a soul. I’m going to leave my hubris at home and race with the single goal of finishing with more friends than I had at the start.

Most of what I know about this part of the country I’ve learned from Grant Wood paintings and college football. I’m expecting to battle hills shaped like basketballs. And if any Hawkeye fans see I’m from Lincoln, I may be politely invited to find a secluded spot and go have relations with myself.

“Oh yeah? Well, that’s not even possible for me to do!” is the only line I remember from 2006’s “Curious George.”
Hills. Like. Basketballs. (Grant Wood, “Stone City, Iowa,” 1930, Joslyn Art Museum)
I think I’ll be just fine racing in eastern Iowa. But this woman’s skeptical. (Grant Wood, “The Perfectionist,” 1936, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

So if you’re out that way in late October, I hope you’ll sign up. And if you see a guy with Abraham Lincoln on his back, that’s me! Give me a friendly shout as you pedal past me on one of those damn basketball climbs.


Did you know Tennessee Williams went to school in Iowa City? In tribute, I plan to scream “Hey, Stella! STELLLAAAAAAA!” on every downhill. I’ll report back on whether this helps me make friends.





4 thoughts on “Dirt Tan Road Trip

      1. LOL…I can’t promise anything from the Iowa City crowd, but out here in Western Iowa we have a lot of love for your side of the Missouri. You always treat us like family when we cross over. The least we can do is return the favor.


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