It was a gorgeous fall day. In the 50s and sunny.
Having learned my lesson from Heck of the North, I enforced my traditional carb-loading the day before. However, instead of apple pie, I found this delicious walnut-cranberry bread from Whole Foods. Quantity will not be disclosed. (Otherwise I will see my name at the next food competition roster)
About 300 racers lined up at the start line. It will be a fast race.
For the first 30 miles I was staring as far as the wheel in front of me, my tongue collecting the dust and my legs in huge argument with its biggest enemy namely lactate. I didn’t dare to make any movement that didnt cause forward-motion.
I could get dropped any second.
When I looked up I found myself in a group that was way too strong for me. Why the hell was I here? I was a marionette and played along until someone would cut the strings.
The playground became a cemetery when my legs died at 32mi on a climb: Nature Road. Once on the ridge, it was time to chase. Head down (I was told the course was very beautiful. I missed out on the scenery but I can tell you all about the dust collection on my stem). I caught a few stragglers along the way.
With about five miles to go I could feel the gravel under me more pronounced than normal.
Do I have a flat?
Wait, do I want to know the answer?
No. Ok, then keep riding and just don’t look.
After a few miles it became too apparent. I had a leak in my front tire. How inconvenient! Even more inconvenient for the wheel because I am not going to stop!
When I hit the pavement the last three miles, I was riding the rim. No air in the tire. Nothing. Nada. Null.
I must say, it is quite strenuous to ride uphill on a flat. The constant banging of the metal against the tarmac attracted some attention on my way to finish line. But it’s all good. My HED wheels don’t even have a scratch.
Congrats to all the finishers of the race! I hope everyone had fun! Huge thanks to Trenton for a phenomenal race. With his entire family, neighbors and great sponsors as support, the race was a well-organized event and suited every kind of rider. A 50 miler is the perfect distance for newcomers to try out gravel racing and for veterans to change up the pace.