Monday, May 19, 2008

Fixed/Fixing on the Almanzo 100

Hot Damn what a great time with great weather and a great turnout. Shit how can you pass up FREE ENTRY, AND FREE BEER AFTERWARDS:) Chris brutha you ROCK!

Welcome to the 2nd installment of thee Almanzo 100 Gravel Road Race from good ole' Rochester Minnesota

Friday afternoon:

Rick and I drove up to Rochester MN Friday afternoon too hang out with our promoter and crash in his backyard. After arriving we tooled down too Bicycle Sports the start of this shindig and a very short 5 min putt-putt from Chris' house. Rolling into the parking lot sitting on the steps were 3 mates sipping on some Red Stripe, I believe they we're the shops wrenches. I was offered a bevey and obliged the mate with a hell yeah bro. Some bs'ing was had before we rolled to the liquor store for thee over all winners prizes. Yup you win this race and it's fine whiskey you go home with:) Makers Mark to be exact, and of course a jar of gravel for good measure:) I picked up a sixer of me newest favorite bevey Shiner's Bohemian Black Lager for Rick and I to have with our rice and pasta dinner. Shortly after eating we we're down and out for the night.

Race Day:

Woke up at 5:30am as Chris was making waffles for his yard guests before he left for registration duties. Once again Chris you ROCK! With coffee and waffles gone it was time too suit up for the days adventure. At the starting point around 7:15am lots of mates already tally by start time 59 mates...much larger from last years 12. A short few announcements and we're lining up for the beginning of another "mechanicals day" for me:)

Seeings how I was rolling this here race with the fixie, and running the ultra cool brake less show, I lined up right on the front where I suspected I had the best chance of not running up someones ass:) It was a short 2 or 3 miles of city urbanna before we hit the gravel. Of course the first hill was the pack breaker I'm sure... steep and a grunt for my 42X18. Once too the top the lead group of animals had gaped me easily and I was never too see them again. It was now time to find a groove and settle in for the day. 15 miles in maybe....everything is a little blurry as I was soaking up the scenery and sucking wind:), Rick comes by me then the next thing I know we are shooting too thee left and the right too split a fallen mate:) Crazy I tell ya, totally flat....still have no idea what happened. Thee only crash of the day I believe.

I rolled with Rick for little longer before he was able to find a bigger gear then I and just slowly pulled outta sight. The first of 5 chain drops happened on the short,steep but very loose gravel downhill with a hard right turn. My chain line isn't perfect but I've ridden it this way for 5 yrs or so and never had a problem. Upon trying to slow myself the chain came off and wrapped around the rear hub locking it up and sending me into the coolest loose gravel high speed skid of the day:) At the bottom (thinking to meself please don't be one of those days) I just threw it back on and kept rolling. The chain was a "little" loose but not that bad. Dropped the chain 3 more times along the route before Ruby 2 Shoes caught up too me. We would ride another 30 miles or so before the last and final chain drop but not before getting off course for a couple of miles after we'd just finally reeled Rick back in. Once back on course (I'm sure some mates got in front of us while off wandering the country side) we picked it up a little bit. A huge downhill (funny the only time my chain would come off is when I was flying brake less going downhill) and for the last time my chain comes off, this time it'd spun my lock ring off along with my 18tooth cog....WTF!! I stopped at the bottom pissed!! Flip my bike over (more like throwing it over) seeings now I have too take the fucking wheel off, and hope my threads aren't mangled from the spinning of said cog, chain, and lock ring. Ruby and Rick are now history along with many more that flew by while I was cussing and fixing:) Thee all too familiar "I've just joined the fucking tour (meaning not racing anymore) feeling came over me". Mechanicals on a single speed then the fixie....what in the hell did I do? Unbelievable I tell ya. I get the cog back on along with the lock ring only now I really have to be careful as not too try and brake or I'll for sure spin it all right back off as the lock ring is only finger tight. Soft pedaling it to thee check point at mile 65 was my only hope, then hope someone had a fucking hammer and a screw driver:) I roll into the check point at 12:30 I believe....first words out of my mouth are "who has a fucking beer, hammer and screw driver"!? I recieced some very funny looks:) But alas Chris' buddy that was running the check point had all thee above, well it wasn't a hammer but the crowbar got the job done. The Highlife put everything back in perspective along with a short safety break. I had still made decent time with only 38 or so miles to go. Rick was just leaving as I was going to Kwick Trip for a canootor valve break. I should have stayed a little longer and ate something along with some stretching, but I didn't want Rick to kick my I mounted up and began AGAIN too try and reel him in. This last piece of the puzzle was a windy bitch. As soon as we turned north that 20mph wind kicked me in the junk. Not 8 miles from the check point and I had too stop and take a strech legs were tore up. By now Rick was no longer in my sight...and I'd just accepted he was in better shape then I. I sat 10 minutes along the road with only 4 mates going by me. Now my legs felt better. Off into the wind I go. Long, straight and the only piece of pebble sized fresh gravel on the whole kinda sucked, ok it really SUCKED:) 110th ave was a blessing..... finally the wind at our backs.....short lived though. Not long after that I came across a mate with a broken frame....that really had too suck. He had made the call all was good. Onward young man.. the rest is purdy cut and dry with the exception of me making one more wrong turn while inside the last 3 miles....took a right instead of a left and went about 13 blocks x 2 out of the way:) Finished in 7:58 with a ride time of 7:15 for 32nd overall and I think 8th in the fixed gears.....Rick had beat me by 4 minutes:) Here's a link to Ricks GPS of the route he took:) Almost 6600 ft of climbing and the same going down without brakes:) Its all just about the ride!

Ricks way of saying "this ride rocked my world"!

Lots of cool scenery on this course, Chris has big plans for this race, with many more years of its running. Next year lets take a group up....perhaps a Friday night Alley Cat:)



Fxdwhl said...

way to solider on and finish man. maybe spring for a new bb and get that chainline a little straighter...

Buckshot77 said...

It was a blast riding this with you man. I can't wait until next year and hopefully we can do a little ass kicking instead of getting kicked.

jason said...

crazy! must have been the weekend for mechanical failure. I popped a spoke... way to keep it goin' my friend. see you soon.

Steve Fuller said...

Way to solider on dirt-rat. If you'd bring gears to Kanzas you'd be fine. You KNOW you want to do it. :)

Pete Basso said...

what's up with all yer mechanical probs lately, did you steal some of my bikes to race with?

Nice job Squirrel, sounds like you and Rick had a great race and great time. I've got to start doing some of this long distance crap and get over my fear of cramps!

Steve Fuller said...

I need a riding partner next weekend. You can take Squirrel's place on the list. :)

Rueben said...

Way to go man. That's an impressive finish time considering the technical problems. Hope to ride with you again.

-ruby 2 shoes

sue said...