Sunday, May 16, 2010

Follow up on the 2010 Almanzo 100

EDIT - it's Almanzo, not Almonzo.

Riders forming at the start in Spring Valley, MN; about 30 minutes prior to race start. Don't get used to that pavement.

0900 start; went about 200 yards before gravel indoctrination, pavement won't be seen again for many long miles.

Gravel was at times thick and mushy, sometimes densely packed, to everything in between. The rule of the day is to keep a good line, sometimes switching a few times every minute.

mile 4.4 (by my record): a long, steep, downhill turning to the right. It's early in the race, people are anxious for action; some guy is running up the side of the road screaming "slow down, you'll crash!" There's a sharp left hand turn at the bottom with people hitting it at breakneck speed, on cushy gravel mind you. There's people on both sides of the road down in the brush and ditch; this is the crash people were talking about during and after the race. Word here was someone got a concussion. [edit - Skibby got an ambulance ride to Rochester - crash report with gnarly photos here]

mile 7.5: Riding at a brisk rate, 22 mph along a narrow section of gravel, plowed field to the right with a bit of grass on the shoulder, woods on the left. I'm at the front of a pack of about 8 riders when a bit of movement is seen out of the corner of the right eye; at the same time somebody from behind yells something immediately indistinguishable, looking over I see a deer running sprinting alongside our group; "deer" is what the guy yelled. I looked over and was close enough to see individual hairs moving as the deer's thigh muscles flexed. This isn't going to be good. A second goes by before the deer does exactly what I was expecting, a sharp left cutting directly in front of the group, cutting about five feet in front of my front wheel and running into the woods. I instinctively look back to the right and behind, expecting further deer, perhaps running into one of us; turns out it was a solo scout.
Epic hills: legs went into oh-eff-eff mode on nearly every climb. Hitting 35+ mph on the downhills, pushing 40 a few times, but the ascents were not in my legs this time; I admit to walking about 75 yards up Jay Road at mile 42.9, not my proudest moment.

Was expecting the town of Preston at mile 42, as listed on the Almonzo blog late last week, but the cue sheet said 38, which I didn't realize until about mile 41. The number 42 was stuck in my brain the first half of the race and now I'm about to run out of water, which is hurting my mental game. A farmhouse at mile 54 had a garden hose where several riders were filling up. DQ? If you wish.

Second 50 miles: second wind, rode much stronger, with the exception of the hills of course. Hauling on the straights and gradual climbs, lost everything on the steep hill climbs.

mile 62: Pick up the cue sheets in order to finish the day. Stopped for about five minutes before moving on, big hill on paved Maple Road before switching back to gravel and a grander ascent. Pain.

Crossing the river just past the 62 mile mark:
Mile 80: water crossing after running down the "low maintenance road." Two guys cross in front of me with their bikes on their shoulders, feet submerged through the creek. Three other men (Jeremy Norton is one) taking off their shoes and socks in preparation to cross. I get off my bike, pause for a second to collect my thoughts before going back a few feet to get a running start before riding across. Someone says the right side looks better, I take his word as gospel and don't look back; right foot went under but the left one stayed dry, hey, can't win 'em all.

Miles 80-93: don't see another rider, the best part of the ride; rider, bicycle, gravel, cue sheet, clock.Mile 82: three kids standing in front of a modern farm house, all about 50 yards apart; the first girl is standing in the tall grass on the left shoulder, just looking and not responding to a greeting, the second girl is doing the running water hand-off, as she passes the cup she excitedly says "just throw the cup at the little boy down there;" I slam a bit of water and dump the rest down the vents of the helmet, this made the boy laugh very hard. I tossed the cup near him, not at him. These kids get the spectator award.

Pass three riders at mile 93, and another at 94. The remaining part of the race was solo. Mile 98 gave sight to the water tower next to the finish line; yes!

100.6 miles overall, I'm guessing the accumulation of about 2 of those were not on gravel. Beautiful countryside, rolling hills, quarries, farmhouses.
Not crazy about the overall time, but we're just gonna blame it on the rain, and the legs. Wouldn't change anything on the bike build; tires, gears, saddle, bars, it was all perfect. Bring climbing legs next time.

Huge props to Chris Skogen, the winners in each category, anyone who started whether you finished or not, and a shout out to Jim and gang of the Hiawatha Cyclery crew who rode down Friday morning (left at 0330), with a 1700 arrival at Spring Valley, oh, and did the race.

435 entries, 268 finishers. [edit - results here]

[edit - the cornbreadblog write up]

That's it for now. Over and out.

1 comment:

jnorton said...

I wanted to follow your lead across the water, but since my goal was to avoid (most) stupid risks and ride w/in my limited abilities, I watched you ride it, then walked it myself (shoes & socks on, however). Nice ride.