My initial reaction that my postcard was not drawn from the bag was pretty ugly. I got over it and decided the best thing to do would be to do what I could to help support the race. Chris and I got to talking and made a tentative plan to head over there on bikes, get some solid miles in, have some fun and also support the race.
Three of us left Rochester at 5:30 Friday afternoon on what turned out to be an awesome ride. I was pleased to see that all my Almanzo kit had shown up earlier in the day- very happy with the fit/finish of this years stuff and absolutely love the light jacket. Weather was as good as it gets (even a slight tail wind) and the pace seemed to work for all of us. We started down highway 63, but with each subsequent turn we got further and further into the beautiful back road county and away from heavy traffic. 50 miles and 2.5 hrs later we rolled into Red Wing and headed straight to Fiesta Mexicana for some refueling, then caribou and finally a bit of a tour of downtown. Then the group retired to my parent's place to watch Leno and Craig Ferguson with a bottle of Darkness. It was as good a ride as I've ever been on.
About four hours later my alarm was going off and it was time to head down to Bev's for a breakfast of Biscuits and Gravy or Chorizo with eggs and potatos. The chorizo would stay with me for at least the next 4 hrs, but I did my best not to let it hold me back (my failing rear wheel would do enough of that). We were able to watch the start of the race, follow the racers over Lehrbach "pass" and then we took off for some Hills Dr., some rogue offroading in Frontenac State Park, town line sprints to both signs in Lake City and then a huge elevation gain back to the top of the bluff to the location from which we would set up shop to watch the race.
Photos (thanks Jony- I forgot my camera)-
We spent about 7 hours there beside the road cheering people on and offering our style of support- "beer, wine, coke, salami, brie, water, cigarettes"???. I hope we made some of the racer's days a little bit easier. I have a feeling we had the most fun of anyone involved. Maybe even more fun than if I'd been able to race.
I made it home around 8 pm with hopes of still getting out for the Revengeance ride to Millville Sunday am. I knew I'd have to rebuild my bike in order to do so. By the end of the ride Saturday I felt like I was dragging a sled and the rim was wobbling at least 2" from center. I unbolted the axle, pulled the wheel out of the dropouts and the guts of the hub slid right out to the drive side. I was still pretty buzzed. I took about a 10 second look at it and put it out of sight and out of mind. I did wind up getting the bike converted over to regular gears (attack gripshift with xtr/ultegra derailleurs similar to my 29er) but missed the group ride anyways, I was just too tired. I'm pretty scared to look into the situation with the nexus hub at this point- but would love to be able to use it for next winter as well.
Got in my first dirt singletrack ride of the year today! Eastwood is in surprisingly great shape. Thinking maybe I'll try to make it to Decorah on Sunday (racing Durand Sunday).
Searching for Snow. - Slowly snow is starting to cover the state. Here in St. Cloud I'd say we have 1-2" with 3" in spots. Hearing reports of more snow up North in Brainerd (...
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