|Deek giving instructions at the start line|
|At around mile 40 we were still a big group|
|A lot of rollers.|
|Some “technical” double track|
I realized all of a sudden that I was VERY tired. “Monika, you are riding a bike, stay focused!” It became harder to hold the grip of the handlebars. My body told me to stop and sleep. I slowed down to seemingly walking pace. The only songs that came into mind were the German and American anthems which kept me upright for the last seven miles. That was a tough race!
|Yep, I was thirsty.|
|We were all exhausted.|
|Deek handed creative awards out.|
Results are here.
Thanks to Deek Surly and the volunteers for a great event and for taking pictures!
|Thanks to Ian Hall for the maps|
|Not even 300 yards into the ride and we had to ask for directions.|
The ﬁrst 80 miles were on ﬂat, nice smooth gravel. Did i mention ﬂat?
|Fish and Chips in Wawanesa.|
I went naturally on the nicely paved roads when Corey pointed out we had to look for a gravel road. We asked for directions.
Salami rolled chocolate chip cookies hit the spot
|Keeping ourselves entertained.|
Corey, is this a cheap version of hide and seek?
|Professor Monika studying maps.|
|The sun didnt set until 10:30 pm.|
Once having reached the bar safely we ordered burgers, sandwiches and the notorious Poutines, a combination of fries, cheese curds in gravy. Everything tasted great.
Poutines, chicken burger, cheese burger and melted cheese.
They tried to convince us that the next 200mi might be easier with one Jaegerbomb or 10 – Corey believed it.
Only option at 3am on a Sunday. I couldnt ask for a better meal.
My bike and I needed a nap. Right here, right now!
Keep on moving otherwise we became breakfast for the mosquitoes.
This was the second part of our route:
- Thanks to Hal for creating this great challenge.
- Thanks to Lindsay and Ian for giving us a ride to Virden plus the maps and the recommendations! What a great Manitoban cycling community!
- Thanks to Foundry, especially Matt, for a giving me the privilege to ride such a great bike! The bike is made for this kind of adventure. Very comfortable and no mechanicals!
- Thanks to HED Cycling for sweet gravel speciﬁc wheels! With 25 mm light rims that made the ride very comfortable. The wider rim fulfilled its promise for fewer flats. I had none!
- Both the bike and the wheels cushioned the impact of the gravel. My back felt great, which is usually the ﬁrst affected area from rough terrain.
- Thanks to Corey for joining me for this adventure and for taking these great pictures and listening to all my stories, at least nodding at the appropriate moments.
- Thanks to Thomas from Angry Catfish for getting my bike ready and for his patience with all my bike adjustments.
My next challenge – Operacion Muerto – a 300mi gravel challenge across the Canadian Province Manitoba – is now posted on my website:
You can follow this challenge via spot tracker:
Racers at the start line, Photo by Corey Godfrey
|Working my way through the hills of Kansas|
|Flats are common in this race, Photo by Corey Godfrey|
|Only few trees on the course that could protect us from the wind, Photo by Corey Godfrey|
The challenge was sweetened by the beauty of the landscape. The rich colors of the sky and the grass made me feel I was riding in a painting.
|Corey and I climbing up on one of those “small hills”|
|The awards ceremony the following day|
- Thanks to the race promoter, Jim Cummins, and his crew for a phenomenal race! Fun, challenging and very well-organized! It’s a must-do for every gravel racer!
- Thanks to all racers for making this a great race.
- Thanks to Sunflower Outdoor and Bike shop for setting me up with a bike! Without you guys the race would have looked very different!
- Thanks to Pablove Grub for the crew support, especially to the girls at checkpoint 3 for cleaning out my dirty pockets!
- Thanks to Jennifer and Natalie for a great hospitality!
- Thanks to the Emporia bike police for finding my car.
I was really looking forward to race the Royal 162 because that gave me the chance to see so many people who I met at Trans Iowa. It’s like a re-union of sorts. In fact that is why I love gravel racing – the community creates such a laid-back but still competitive atmosphere. Chris Skogen, the race promoter, is the incarnation of the gravel racing spirit. His race was a perfect example what gravel racing is all about. “Be nice and enjoy the ride.” That was his mantra for this race.
|Photo courtesy of Corey Godfrey|
Easy peasy tempo the first 20 or so miles chatting it up through the first few rollers. But I always had an eye on my chosen wheel to follow. Early in the race I give all racers a secret ranking from stay-the-heck-out-of-that-draft to potential-wheel-sucking-opportunity to start-appreciating-the-racer’s-sweat-odor-now…. I found my chosen wheel.