36 riders towed the line at Colville Park in Red Wing, MN, 7:30 am on Saturday, April 12. With winds out of the northwest all day, it was destined to be a hell-ride. It was...
I made the mistake of overdressing at the start due to the cold. I should have known better, but when the lead group got to a T in the road marked County Rd. 21, instead of Flower Valley Road, like the tulip notes stated, I took the chance of shedding a layer. By the time I got going again, the leaders were off. I followed their tracks... The surface went from slushy snow, to gravel/dirt roads. What looked like your average wind-swept snow-covered dirt road actually had a gnarly glazed coating of ice. WIth each pedal stroke, the potential for slip-n-slide disaster was imminent.
Right before the first checkpoint, as in right beyond this damn train, I get caught up by said train. Just like the 2006 Paris-Roubaix. And how fitting, as we were in for some true Spring Classics weather...
After refilling bottles and downing a double-shot espresso, at the Lake City Kwik-Trip, I was off. Rolling into Millville, home of the Spring Creek Moto track, it was all I could do to not stop at the Stumble Inn for a hamburger. Then it was straight up good ol' County 72. This is a steep road, and kid on a Matt Chester single speed was killing it on the climb. I rode with him briefly, but by this point he was just steadily pulling away. While we were in the river valley it was sanguine and offered some beautiful scenery, but the climbs were not short, and the wind was murderous. I was downing the margarita Clif Shot Bloks like mad, interspersed with Espresso GU, and Gatorade Endurance.
I caught and passed a few folks, and mostly rode solo, bombing down 597th Street, a "minimum maintenance" road, all the way to the Zumbro Falls checkpoint. Here I drank some hot tea and switched into a dry wool base layer, with a wind-proof longsleeve shirt over that.
I might look like I'm going to weep, but dammit, Bobby, I just rode 105 miles in 9.5 hours, in some real gnarly weather. Hats off to the Ragnarök crüe, Jake, Issac, & Larry.
A quick rundown of the equipment:
Surly Cross-Check w/7-speed bar-end shifters.
WTB 700x38c Interwolf tires
Ibex short sleeve wool tshirt
Ibex long sleeve wool shirt
Swobo long sleeve jersey
Craft gloves (Patagonia liners)
Patagonia Wool 4 long sleeve
Sportful windproof long sleeve
Ibex wool knicker
Smarwool wool tights
Patagonia outer knicker
Lake winter boots, circa 2000
6 bags margarita Clif-Shot Bloks
1 bag black cherry Clif-Shot Bloks
6 espresso GU
2 Starbucks double-shot
5 bottles Gatorade Endurance
214 songs on the iPod-"Death March Playlist"