111 miles

sorry about the picture quality and lean- I was heavy into the pain cave at that point (more below)

Got on the road at 7:40 this morning. The weather report was calling for temperatures in the high 20s, 17-22 mph winds and plenty of freezing rain. I believe there was also a winter weather advisory and a travel advisory on that was a carry over from last night. All in all it was almost ideal January conditions for the Nokians on gravel. Things had iced over a bit and the road was relatively fast. Was able to maintain a 13.6 mph average for the first 30 miles or so despite often quartering into the wind.

Then I made a mistake reading my "Gentleman's ride" cue cards (backwards in freezing rain mind you) and rather than coming into Spring Valley at around mile 36 I just pressed on. The conditions at that point were atrocious. It was to the point of often having to ride with my left eye closed and my head down or else deal with the freezing rain snappers going directly into my eye. At one point in that stretch I was even startled by a dog, tapped the brakes and went straight into a baseball slide. Anyways- somehow I rode on for about 45 minutes before recognizing my mistake when I hit a dead end and stopped long enough to check the mileage (47 miles). I was in uncharted territory both on my cue cards and so far as where I'd ever ridden before...

Decided I would never be able to finish the full course within the constraints of daylight if I traced my steps back. The only possible solution was to press on and try to find a back way onto the course (perhaps near Chatfield). To that end I somehow only continued due south. Eventually finding myself in very hilly country around Forestville State Park. I checked out the "mystery cave" and snapped these-

The "mystery cave" was pretty lame, in the winter anyways. That was the happiest I would look for a long time...

Having never been to the "mystery cave" before I still thought that I was somewhere near Chatfield and attempted to press on (choosing turns that would take my further to my east). However, none of those turns actually went east or anywhere near Chatfield. By 2pm or so I had been out for 6 hrs non-stop with nothing but inadequate amounts of hammer gel and sports drink, and I continued to have no idea where I was (kept trying to turn and get the wind at my back). Somewhere near here...

I decided to call my Dad for help with directions. No phone. Full on bonk, no food left, no phone, lost, 66 miles on clock. I ate everything I had and pressed on.

Somehow found my way back to Spring Valley (talk about a mystery cave... mystery cave of pain and detachment) at about 3:30 pm with 84 miles on the clock. Subway city! It was like getting a mushroom in mario. Rode the rest of the way home as "big Drew".


111 miles
8:40 of actual pedaling
10hr elapsed time
1 fall
1 trucker who stopped to see if I needed help- then almost got stuck himself on the ice...
2 kids at the Subway who made the mistake of asking how long I'd been out (should have seen their faces)
40 minutes (approximately) longer than the official hrs of daylight that I was out
40? wrong turns

Hoping things go a bit easier in February... I knew this was my last chance to get this done for this month.

A big part of what kept me going today was thinking about my brother and his situation. He has been an inspiration to me with regards to trying to give cycling a serious shot- if my brother can get in good shape and compete at such a high level why can't I? (same goes my sister with her soccer and for the stories my Dad tells from both his own and my mom's younger days). In a way it has provided me with a level or reassurance that all this effort will probably not be for nothing. I've lived vicariously through his successes, used them as motivation and felt a bit jealous that I never put that much effort into anything... I see cycling as something that I can try to put that much effort into now and am only more motivated because of my failure to do so in the past (with skiing). I don't regret my decisions, but see nothing wrong with using them to motivate now either.

Anyways, with him hurt and facing the prospect of months or rehabilitation and potential hard times/self questioning... I'm hoping/dreaming that maybe I can help support him in the same way that he has helped me. I know he doesn't need it, but in a way I feel like I owe it to him. It's going to take some fast riding to impress him...


  1. wow drew, you've been hammering out the miles. your gonna kill it at hillside on sunday

  2. probably not... haven't been practicing the snow singletrack really at all this year. More importantly though my training has been all about endurance. Should help in about August, but for now my 'high end' is likely desperately suffering. I'd bet my heart rate will be 25-30 higher for that entire race than it ever was yesterday. I WILL have an awesome time though- which is what matters, right? I'm pumped that you are going to show up for this one.

  3. awesome ride.

    unrelated: thumbs up on your post on the morc board about the north shore ultra cancellation. heard anything?