Two really great things happened Saturday. Over $1300 was raised for a more than worthy cause and 60+ people came out to ride their bikes in some pretty awesome and extreme spring conditions. I hung out for a while after the race and I was impressed with Dillon and his family. It was great that they were able to come out and hang out with some of us riders. His mom wanted to know if any of us had achieved personal bests which was funny due to the nature of the route and weather but also silly when compared to what Dillon has to face. He said he would put the money toward college. At the same time it was also really awesome that so many people showed up, rode and finished in such varied/difficult conditions. This was a good event.
I wanted to win the race. Early, early alarm. Up before even six and stumbling in the dark. No soda... weird, how do I kickstart my day without my normal caffeine source? Powdered milk... really? Then screw it, let's get McDonalds as the sun rises. Unsweetened ice tea, woo! Off route on the way up to test the gravel, looking for the previous days car ruts. Two bike options. Ride the tubular cx tires on the CX bike or the 2.1s on the "touring" Flash, both on repaired 404s. What a couple of options! Best logic is to ride the bike that will be fast at the end in the muck, right?
At the check in got the old pep-talk... pushed to the skinny bike. Going light means better haul ass. It won't soften up out there until at least 1 right? That was the game plan then and I meant it. Pre-race meeting and winning time is predicted at 6, maybe 5.5 hours... well after the thaw.
We roll over the start line at about 8:15. Fifteen or twenty minutes in, staying out of trouble at the front. Ice and snow and ruts. Kick on a hill and it's just me and Hollywood is on a thin string. I miss a turn, group of 6 catch us. Screw it, just ride right past them again. Not interested in keeping this thing together, need to get back before the road melts. Another wrong turn, map trouble... figure it out. Auto-zoom is no good for following the purple line on the Garmin.
Have to sit in while sorting Garmin and be smarter. We hit a hugely ice-rutted section and my bottle cage falls off my bike. Turn to retrieve and hit the deck hard, not good. Bent derailleur and hanger. More sitting in/jumping off bike over and over again while fine tuning it with the frozen fist. Find the sweet spot and start pushing the pace again. We shed riders. Small group, Hollywood, Roeser, Ezra a couple others close. Push the pace on the little hills and test.
Mile 28 and I push on another rise, no real attack but the group strings out and I do not wait. Hollywood reacts but doesn't really close and I decide to do my own thing. Just over 20mph average for the 14 miles to Milltown (thanks again guys for supporting this) and a short stop for donut holes and maps. From there on out it felt a lot like a regular Wednesday these last couple months, just with a lot more glances over the shoulder. Easy to make a mistake, 50+ miles alone with your own head. Count-down began in earnest around mile 60 but so did the melting. Had to pee but made myself hold it in case I needed to "flush" the drivetrain.
Finish line at 12:52 and very happy to be back. Ready for a great rachel sandwich and a couple of fine beers at Harry's.
Full results and information are here
Results - Thanks to all who came out to make the 2017 Dirt Bag another good day for the gravel community. The previous days rain made the course a little soft and put...
1 day ago