Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association

Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association
Brewers of Hardy Rides.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Hope everyone is doing well that reads this little blog. As of late I have finally gotten to get back on the bike. As I may have said in another post I was going full steam towards the end of 2019 and then things happened. I lost all the wind in my sails and it brought me to an abrupt stop. I tried in vain but nothing was able to make me cross that line. 
Then one day I sent a message to a friend. I was looking for solutions and thought of him. He inmediately called me on messenger and showed me where he was. He was in the middle of nowhere. The sun was shining, I could hear the birds, his bike resting on a tree. He had a big smile on. We talked for a while and I thought about what he said for a long time. 
That very night I decided to start commuting to work again. 
You see when you lose it all the stuff gets out of order. First I got a bike ready, the right bags, shoes, clothing, repair kit, inhaler, keys, wallet. All organized on kitchen table. When you stop riding for a while all that stuff gets blended in with the rest of the stuff and creates a barrier to be able to ride. 
The next morning I mounted the bike and rolled. After having ridden nearly 400k miles in my life it felt foreign. Wait, why does my butt hurt so much? My legs felt week. It started to rain. First a sprinkle, then full on rain. My first 4 days of coming back it rained solid going to work and coming back. I sheltered a couple times with the lightning being a stark reminder of a Trans Iowa many moons ago. 
The rain did not affect me at all. It was mother nature welcoming me back. It washed my dark cloud, made me feel well again. I am back on the bike and I hope to stay on. 
Things for sure have been weird. We are learning, coping, trying to understand. The bike gives us time to think, to clear the mind, to escape the fear, the monotony. I missed riding my bike but it was worth being off and taking care of things. 

So if you are stuck in a weird spot, call a friend. Talk to somebody about what is happening. Call me. Text someone. I'm sure help is out there waiting for you. You might just need that tiny,little push to get you rolling again. 
Thank for reading,
Ari 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Trans Iowa weekend

After a finish all Special K wanted was Ice. 

Bonk King Volunteering. Rock Solid. 
Special K and Ari 
Thank you for stopping by here. Last couple of weeks have been hectic as one can imagine so I was glad to hit this keyboard for a little while. 
Yesterday, as every year at the last weekend of April, I awoke naturally at dark thirty. I went outside and smelled a cold breeze and frigid drizzle that was quietly falling. I thought to myself that in years past I would be lining up soon. How is that possible? I years past I would be making last minute preparations to take the short ride into town to line up at Bikes To You in Grinell for another attempt at the Trans Iowa. 
Instead I stood in the dark, outside on my deck in the most complete silence I could ever imagine. Nothing was moving, no birds awake yet. The hum of the nearby expressway completely silent. The nearby train tracks silent and cold. 
I saw my breath and started to feel my  bare feet go numb. That was nothing compared to what we had experienced in years past. I have learned a lot from Trans Iowa. I have learned to be patient, to wait, to keep pushing despite severe adversity. I have learned how important people are, how important family is. 
I feel blessed and am thankful to have been part of that era. I am thankful for the lifelong memories, the changes in perpective. There is a lot more that words and my poor writing skills cannot get out right now. I want to thank Trans Iowa for all you have done. Your memory will live forever. 
thanks for reading, 
Ari 
Dr. Giggles 


Start of Trans Iowa 

Constantine Peters. A fellow Greek Gravel racer. 

TIv6, l-r Pizza Dan, Ari , Hellmutt, dr. Giggles 

cleaning bikes afeter B road

Cookie and Bald Eagle. 

Dr. Giggles with Fargo Gen 1 

Dr Giggle, Ari , Cookie, Gumby

Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross 

Cold blustery day . 

G.T. Ari and Charlie Farrow. 

Cookie and Jeremy Kershaw finishing TI

Ari Cookie TJ Gumby Giggles 

Grinnell Steakhouse. 
Gunnar Crosshairs, my first Trans Iowa bike V4 
Dr. Giggles and Bonk King. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Night time walking and taking photos.

We hung up some eggs for passing kids to look at. 

There has been the craziest skies lately 

Crystal clear nights. What a rarity . 

Within 5 minutes these clouds were gone and the sky was clear. 
Been getting out late with the wife for our walks. There is absolutely nobody out there. No people, no cars, no trains, no airplanes. It is the weirdest thing ever. I truly feel like I am part of some kind of fiction book. 
Ari 

Sunday 4/5/2020

I spent a greater part of yesterday reading books, magazines and old brochures. I then gravitated towards some old blog postings that were amazing. I came to realize that a lot of that has been lost in todays quicker, faster platforms. 
I was on a good roll in 2019 as I stated here before. I was aware somehow to take advantage of some free time and weather. I got up early, a lot last year. I was playing around with number 5 for a while. I explored a lot, went to different places but mostly rode by myself with a few exceptions. I got a lot of my bikes out. Somedays I would ride the fat bike, others the carboner, others the fixed gear, others the track bike. I rifled thru all of my bikes and it was good. 
Then in January the bottom fell out. Between Jan-Feb-March we lost 3 fathers. Three pillars to our family. That's all I want to say about this right now. I feel like everything crumbled. I completely lost interest in riding. I also lost interest in sleeping thru the night. Everything got disrupted. Then the "crisis" came and the rest is history. 
I had a friends frame hanging in the garage for months, months. He had asked me to install a headset and chase the threads. Yesterday, out of the blue, I went into the garage, put the lights on and started working on it. 
It was weird to touch the tools, almost on control remote with 30 years of experience. I finished the frame, then I moved on to my sons cross bike. I had promised him gravel tires and a fresher cassette. I got that done, adding some WTB nanos in 40mm. A fresh cassette, der adjust and that was done. Then I finally installed the ortlieb saddle bag on the Troll I finished building a while back. 
I cleaned up the area, turned the light off and felt some satisfaction. Some satisfaction in that there is a light on the end of each tunnel, no matter how long it is. 
I went upstairs and read more entries on Charlie Farrow's blog. I laughed, I cried as  Charlie is a wiz with the words. I copied and pasted a paragraph to Cookie. I fell asleep thinking of those days, together with some of the best people. 
I miss the Dads that we lost. I will soon commence to ride in their honor. Thank you for all you have shown me. We truly miss you guys. 
thanks for reading, 
Ari 
Bonk King and I riding. Slender Fungus Strong. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Night time photos

Our Street

Our neigbors are not giving up on Christmas. Full light up EVERY night. no joke.  
A deserted main drag our town. This would have thousands of cars on a Friday night. Thousands. 


Our gravel alleys 

I love the shadows the tree makes on this house. 

Our local mechanic that saved my 2002 Nissan van from the junker. Thank you Mark
Burlington ave on a friday night. This is impossible and mindblowing. 

Wifey and Miku on a night walk. 



Since our doggie likes to bark at every dog she sees out there we have been going out late at night. To be honest I have always said night time is the best. We saw only one other person out there. I have observed the trails and forests being kinda "crowded" if we are supposed to be adhering to the social distancing thing. People don't even spread out in the parking lot, taking the spots closest to the trail as to not have to walk to far to get to walk on the trail?? 
So last night we had a good long walk. I took my new camera with me and was amazed of how it can take photos in the dark. MY old iphone and point and shooters have nothing on this thing. One can up the ISO and pretty much capture anything you want. 
We had a long week at work pumping out product for the emergency vehicles that are in much need now. It was tense at work with gloves and masks and earprotection. Talk about feeling confined. We were all glad friday rolled around and that we have the weekend to recover and hide. I have a lot of projects due at home and I cannot wait to start working on some bike stuff. I think I will finally be getting back on the bike soon. 
It has been a long break that I needed for a looong time. I pretty much have cycled non stop since I was 18 years old. So after 40 years of pretty much uninterrupted riding my body said to stop for a while. I literally walked in circles as if pedalling! Always hunched over in the "drop" position. You know what I mean. 
I am pretty sure my re-introduction to riding will probably be on the fixed gear or single speed bike. That seems to always bring me back to some kinda shape. I do 1,000 miles on said bike and then move over to the geared bikes. Everyone have a good weekend. I guess we are moving into wearing a mask or some kind of covering when we go out. Buffs, I think are a good alternative if out riding. They come in different weights for different temperatures. The warmer ones are merino wool, the lighter summer ones are polyester. Ride safe, don't take chances and beware to not crash and have to go to an ER. They don't want you in there taking up valuable real estate. 
thank you for reading and be safe, 
Ari 

Friday, April 3, 2020

The gift of friends

Left to right. T.J. , Bonk King and I . 



I remember I used to be able to make a phone call and Voila!, we had a ride going. But times change and the main characters to our Slender Fungus have dispersed like you know what. Except for Gumby and Me  the rest have dispersed all over the country. It's a good thing because the will continue on their mission to instigate other people to ride and they will continue to be loyal to the SFCA. 
We love all riders and encourage people to get on bikes. It really doesn't matter what kind of bike you are riding, don't matter what you are wearing either. If you ride at night we might love you a bit more though. 
With all this free time and a almost complete stoppage to the annoying rat race some big minds are churning up stuff that will come at you pretty soon. 
The return to group riding, I think will be different. I think people will be more accepting, more generous, more tolerant. I hope to see some positive changes in the coming months. This has given me time to reflect on a lot of things. 
In the meantime I think it's important to stay in touch,call eachother, check on eachother,send a note. A huge hello to everyone out there. I hope you are all doing well. 
thanks for reading, 
Ari 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Riding with Hellmut.

This first picture is todays topic. 

The same day I was plagued by flats.



I don't understand where these photos are on the big black hole of the clouds and the internet. Somehow, and don't ask me how I managed to put them down on this blog and I hope they stay put here. I have a lot to figure out and I think this time, with the crisis, I will be able to. 
As y'all know the Slender Fungus had/has a a deep involvement with all things considered Trans Iowa. My training buddy Hellmut and I would routinely go on some pretty epic rides. We always thought how to make it the hardest posible so we would "temper" ourselves with the Spring Classic known as Trans Iowa. 
We both lived in quiet, unassuming town in the midwest called Sycamore. My house was typically the place of meeting, eating, thanks to wifey and departure. 
On this particular day the winds were blowing like insane out of the east. 25-30mph sustained winds. So we decided to head west to the Rock River in Oregon, IL. It is exactly 33 miles one way. We basically followed rte 64 all the way but the catch was we could not ride on the pavement. We had to ride on the gravel shoulder the whole way. 
I remember riding my Gunnar crosshairs and at the time I had those green Michelin tires, the ones kids lust over now. I flatted a million times that day and cursed those tires to hell and back a few times. Between our 8 eyes we were able to finally find a microscopic wire that had embedded itself in the tread. When pumped it changed angles and slowly ate away at the fragil innertube. 
We must have arrived to Oregon in less than 2 hours with the tailwind and all. WE laughed and hollered how much fun it was and how we were going to get spanked on the way back. We stopped at the BlackHawk Statue and then started on the way back. The moment we turned our faces eastbound we knew we were in trouble. The laughing was gone. Were we really that stupid? I guess so. 
We struggled with the wind and made no progress. Of course Hellmut was silent and that didn't help matters. At some point our bodies hurt bad and that is where image #1 comes into play. We took refuge in that ditch. We ate some food and hit the flask a couple times. 
We actually got comfortable and thought about staying there until the winds would subside. But that was not going to happen anytime soon. All of a sudden we heard a large vehicle come to a skidding stop on the gravel shoulder, inmediately a door slam as we look up a terrified gentleman approaches us. 
"Are you alright?", he shouted. The poor man had seen us in the ditch, laying there and thought we had gotten hit by a vehicle. We apologized for scaring him but told him we were just resting from the wind. He offered several times to take us home but at the same time we both answered a no thank you. 
He left at ease knowing we were fine. That gave us energy to continue and on it was to make it back to Sycamore. There were no places to take a break again and at some point we were hiding behind a tree for a few minutes. 
We arrived home with 33 miles covered in 3.5 hours. We were trashed but happy to have gotten another "good" ride in. I am happy, real happy to have found these photos. The first one means a lot to me. I remember that day so well. Hellmut was amazing that day. I would just look at him and laugh. I knew inside he was cursing me but no one would ever know. 
thanks for reading,
Ari