If you are interested that gives a good sense of what we did, the conditions and also there are some good pictures. There aren't nearly enough pictures though- but that's for good reason... How do you capture riding in muddy hills in the rain for hrs on end while only being able to see 30' in front of you straight ahead? Or the feeling that no matter what breaks or goes wrong WE knew we were going to finish? This was an experience not easily captured with a camera.
What really sticks out in my mind:
Everyone was incredible- Nice people everywhere we went, awesome hospitality from the Shockey's and comraderie within the riding group. Basically, Decorah is pretty great and Ben made sure we saw the best of everything. He even got us timely service at t-bocks!
The daily routes were well planned out- the roads were beautiful, the right number of hills were epic and the right ones were rolling, the convenience stores were well placed (for our suffering).
All of our discussion about "nutrition" for endurance riding- as if you could call anything most of us were consuming nutritious. It was fun to argue about and seeing what others do/think will definitely help me into the future. Who is going to be the first to try to make organic aerosol pancakes IN THEIR MOUTH? Perhaps washed down with bacon and sour patch kids?
All our ranting and raving about the amount of climbing we were doing- there was just enough doubt as to the sanity of Kent's GPS to sustain this for the entire weekend. We never got anywhere, did we? I'll say it again... the metric seemed roughly comparable to the CIRREM, the century felt roughtly 2x as hilly as the Almanzo... since we can't accurately quantify the actual climbing or the effects of the road surface conditions and the wind vectors vs. the number of PBRs consumed vs. fake bacon and real freaking good sausage we will never really know.
All the Eagles- We must have seen 8 different pairs of eagles along the route. One even flew out o a tree and down the road no more than 80' from us- I think it was mad because Ben was threatening to steal the raccoon carcass it was having for lunch.
The Sattre store- The store was cool (full of the same stuff my great grandma's basement was full of), what was even more rememberable was how hard it was to get there. I was feeling pretty whipped at that point after a short break we were about to turn into the wind/rain and ride 50 more miles to the next stop.
Walking hills- Glad we did it! There were definitely times when it was the right way to go. I think deep into the century that Ben and Kent thought I was still feeling strong and could drop them on the hills... the truth was more that if I didn't stay on top of my gear I didn't have the strength to grind up those hills. I guess I'm a crappy SSer in that regard- I've sort of got to run a gear that I can sit and spin or at least turn over pretty well or I just run out of juice. Maybe that grinding strength will come with more time riding SS, I did start with it in November. Around mile 50 I would have been walking them all (they were all HUGE btw at that point) if it wasn't for the group. It got ridiculous out there!
Ben being tough- Ben had a mini-bonk about 8 miles away from the 85 mile stop. He didn't say much for about a mile, recovered, took the lead and hammered the pavement section into town. I was impressed.
Kent's post cramp sprint through town- Not sure who had the idea to do stoplight sprints, but I'm pretty sure Kent won them all? He may have cheated on the 2nd one, but at least on the first one he got off the line a whole lot faster than I did. Also, Kent's ability to finish strong on the last few climbs and windy sections despite those cramps. I'm sure he was feeling pretty crappy, but he was still more than keeping up.
pre-cooked bacon- the favorite use I heard for it was as a lip balm. least favorite was as food... it tastes fine, but I'd need something other than salty water to wash it down. I bet it would be awesome on the type of group ride that stops at a few bars.
The bumpy as hell snice (snow/ice) covered bike trail into town- what other way to end a 105 mile ride than to ride down a slippery, dangerous path as fast as you can? Well, unless you consider the "end" of the ride that last little rise where Ben attacked the group.
inspiration- This ride made me want to ride more. What's better than that? It got me thinking about new and better routes that I can take!
hanging out- Was pretty cool to talk and think about bikes and riding experiences for 3 days.
again- see the link above or a few pictures
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