What you need to know:

-the dates: march 26th and 27th, 2011
-the place: decorah, iowa
-the plan: ride a gravel century saturday followed by a gravel metric sunday
-the reason: i prefer company while training for spring gravel racing
-who's invited: anyone that gets it
-lodging: free to the first 8 that register
-registration: send me an email at springtrainingdecorah@hotmail.com
-what to bring: every cycling related thing you own and a willingness to suffer
-food: far less organized this year...we'll figure it out

Thursday, March 31, 2011

another std defeated...

short version of the story...
as i've come to realize is going to be expected there were some last minute cancellations of people i was expecting and hoping would be here to ride. all are understandable and i hope everyone the best that wasn't able to make it. so drew and scotty made their way to the bar friday night and then headed to the apt where they were well asleep by the time i got home from work. 6a.m. wake up call and a trip to family table where we caught the first glimpse of the machine that would make a habit of burying us for the next two days. dennis rolled up on his new fisher cronus carbon cross bike with some ridiculous deep v zipp wheels. the bike looked sick even in the dark sitting outside a cafe. finish breakfast and head home to get ready to ride. trevor and o'gara joined us and we rolled out.

the first loop of the ride is about 35 miles and it was obvious that dennis felt good. really good. the pace we were pushing felt a little hot to me but with 3 guys on gears and 3 single speeds all geared differently it was hard to find a comfortable pace for everyone. and the weather was cool but the roads were still super fast so i wasn't surprised. and of course those damn zipp wheels were destroying the world. at one point i used my bike to throw a rock straight into one of those carbon rims but it just laughed at me.

we dumped the unicorn just before the 35 mile stop at the sattre store and i'm pretty sure he was happy to go. apparently unicorns are more into rainbows than hundred mile gravel rides. refeuled a bit at the sattre store and then it was on to the meat of the ride. 50 miles through a collections of hills in allamakee did a number on the group. conversation slowed a bit, as did the pace. the wind seemed a little stronger, the air a little colder. the only one who really seemed unaffected by it was dennis. if you're reading into a theme here, you should be. i'm pretty sure dennis is out to conquer the gravel world this year. i've ridden a lot with dennis over the years and he's always been a strong rider but i've never seen him ride like this. the effortlessness with which he would just pedal away from the group on these massive climbs was nothing short of impressive. for his efforts he has been crowned the 2011 std overall champion and showered with gifts. a huge stack of cash, elderly prostitutes and a baby hippo.

anyway, the second loop of the century passes near town around the 75 mile mark where drew's bike/pack setup finally did him in. his back was destroyed and he split and rolled back to town suffering through a total of about 83 miles. honestly, you could tell something was off from pretty much the start of the ride. always hate losing people that far into a ride but knew it was for the best.

so dennis, trevor, scotty and i headed south for ossian and the hopes of warm food. 85+ miles in and we hit the caseys in ossian. just like last year there was no hot food until the clerk told us the pizza was over an hour old and he was in the process of throwing it away but we could have it. it tasted an hour old. it tasted like heaven. we sat too long. my legs hurt.

back on the bike struggling to get the legs going but then it all came back together and we put in one last push getting home at around 107 miles in just under 9 hours. i'd expected faster but its hard to quantify the toll that the stretch in allamakee from about 40 miles to about 65 miles takes on you during this ride. i'm pretty sure dennis could have done the ride in about 7 hours if we had let him go.

scotty, drew and i headed for the bar for dinner and grelk joined us. dennis had dinner and hung out for a bit then headed back to a foam roller and some decent sleep. should. have. joined. him. sometime after an appetizer, 2 dinner and way too many drinks the three of us stumbled our drunk asses home. waking up sunday morning was borderline terrifying. i knew we were riding no matter what. at least we postponed the ride til 10a.m. instead of 8a.m. but hangovers affect my stomach first and i was pretty sure i wasn't gonna get any calories in before we headed out for another 66 miles. but we struggled our way to tbocks and i was able to do some work on some french toast and hashbrowns.

we headed home to get ready and left just the four of us this time (drew, scotty, dennis, me). it was pretty slow going as we headed out to harmony. by the time we hit bluffton about halfway out we were starting to move a little better. surprisingly well from my perspective considering the 107 and the shenanigans of the night before. dennis again was riding like a machine. drew was on a different bike with no pack and riding like i'm used to seeing him ride. scotty seemed mostly comfortable to sit back and pedal with me as i was now the lone single speed riding a pretty easy gear in some very fast conditions that held the geared guys back a bit. coldwater creek brought a 42mph downhill and a minefield of potholes that almost ruined my day as drew tried to nascar pass me at the worst possible time. lunch at kwik star was predictably amazing. found a spot out of the wind but in the sun and again got way too comfortable. leaving harmony sucked. re-froze the fingers riding straight into a cold and stronger-than-expected headwind left everyone miserable for the first few miles. but then we turned back south and a very comfortable ride for the next 30 miles back to decorah. dennis stopped at the apt for a bit then rolled out while scotty and drew got packed up.

showers were skipped understandably to get to the mexican restaurant sooner. 2 beers and a big ass steak burrito and i was feeling better. better but a little bit tired. the weekend was a complete success and i got exactly what i wanted out of it. i knew i was fit but i didn't know how fit and the weekend got my mind right. i know i'm fit enough to ride into the depths of misery and ride out the other side. that confidence is as crucial as anything going into transiowa. i don't care how fit you are or how well you manage your nutrition/exertion on a huge ride like that, there will be times that you are in hell. you will be buried in pain, hunger, bonk, and paralyzing pessimism and the only thing you can do is quit or keep pedaling knowing that you'll come out the other side. i hadn't been there in a long time but somewhere in the hills of allamakee i found myself there again. between coming out the other side of that and the way my body recovered for sunday's metric i am plenty confident in my ability to push through another transiowa. of course that doesn't take into account the weather, mechanicals, getting lost....

huge thanks to everyone that showed up and rode. trevor's looking strong again, scotty looks more than ready to battle the transiowa monster, drew looks like he could ride forever and showed glimpses of his strength/speed when he chose to ride off with dennis a couple times, and of course dennis just looks like he's on a mission while simoultaneously looking so ridiculously comfortable and effortless. just over a week until sylvan island, 3 til transiowa, 4 til the time trials and 6 until the royal 162 and i'd say i'm pretty happy with how i'm feeling right now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

sunday metric photo dump

no...we didn't actually ride at all. we just sat outside a gas station and ate. or i was too hungover to risk using the camera while on the bike.

saturday century photo dump

Thursday, March 24, 2011


saturday breakfast 6:30a.m. at family table. then heading back to my apt to get ready to roll out at 8a.m. feel free to join.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


pouring buckets outside right now but last time i looked at the weather we might luck out. rain for a couple days then a couple days without should leave the gravels in decent shape and probably can't be worse than last year. also, if they hold off on dumping new gravel AND it dries out we could be moving very quickly. i will have cue sheets if you're concerned about falling off the pace. we do cross highways a couple of times so don't be an idiot. so...here's the agenda:

-wake 6a.m.ish
-ride THIS ROUTE 8a.m.ish

-ride THIS ROUTE 8a.m.ish (totally subject to change based on saturday night activities)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


but finally getting things updated for this year. we're gonna ride 100+ miles on saturday and 65ish miles on sunday. come if you want. i've still got some room to crash. thinking there will be some locals joining us one or both days. hoping to be on the road by 8 saturday morning giving us almost 10 hours of daylight. if you expect it to take longer than 10 hours bring lights. last year was sloppy and took just over 10 hours. after the century we'll head to a bar for food and sleep at some point. the timing of sunday's metric is up for discussion but i would expect most of us to be around 4 1/2 hours. cue sheets will be available for both days and i will link to the routes on mapmyride.com for anyone that can figure out those gps thingies and download the route. routes will be the same as last year unless i change my mind. saturday's century will have a refueling stop around 35 miles and around 85 miles. sunday's metric has a refueling stop at the halfway point (its an out and back). anymore questions email me at springtrainingdecorah@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


thursday: kent and steve show up, unload and we hit tbocks for some food. drew rolls by the windows so we head for home to meet him. pick up gunner and head out for about 33 miles of pretty soft nighttime gravels. pick up a stray spinner back at my apt and head to mabes for some grub then walmart for breakfast necessities. nothing too exciting just good to stretch the legs and let people get to know each other.

friday: wake and start cooking eggs and hashbrowns and burning the shit out of some honey and brown sugar sausage links that were still ridiculously awesome. even softer gravels but surprisingly no rain. wind was noticeable but not much of an issue. same 5 rolled out and we rolled into harmony (midpoint of the out and back) without gunner but he made it there before we left. friday meant $1 fish sandwiches at kwik star which seemed like a great idea. so good i ate two. not such a good idea. once gunner was ready we rolled out and kent decided to attack the first hill into a headwind with legs that hadn't loosened back up from the rest we took. total dick move and blew up the group. so kent, drew and i continued to push the pace until a rotweiler and a couple other farm dogs decided to join our group. i pulled off the pace a bit for a photo op of one of the dogs running alongside kent and drew. they took this opportunity to attack another hill attempting to leave me (and the directions to get home) behind. dick move #2. i burned a few matches, caught up just in time for the biggest climb of the trip. all was in fun, even the supposedly unknowing attacks made by kent. got back to my place and cracked a couple beers while steve showed up and eventually gunner after heading to his place first. pasta and steaks at the oaks and a couple more beers then replenishing breakfast necessities before an early night to bed.

saturday: 5:30 breakfast came early and identical to friday except i failed to burn the sausage. the first 12 miles were into the wind and shattered the group instantly. wes held on with kent, drew and i as we battled about a 20mph headwind and still softer gravels. a light mist was just enough to add ambiance. about 20 miles in kent broke a pedal. we planned to have support meeting us at 35 miles but i called julie and asked her to throw in another bike (bringing the decorah bicycles shop truck-thanks again travis) and necessary tools. along the way we met back up with gunner who had made a wrong turn at some point. julie caught us at about mile 30 and a quick pedal change was performed and we continued onto the sattre store for our first scheduled break. ham sandwich and blueberry pie left me feeling pretty good til we rolled away from the store into an actual rain shower. thus began the "middle 50". lots and lots of climbing, a bit of walking, drew's broken saddle, my loose brake hood, some wind, some softer gravels and increasing quiet time. the quietness brought on by the suffering was broken periodically by the ongoing argument as to the accuracy of kent's gps in terms of out total climbing (still not sure its accurate). along the way i had convinced everyone in the group that bacon was the key to endurance riding. everyone tried it, not sure everyone is truly convinced. think maybe if they would have rolled up a candy orange slice into a slice of bacon they would have fully understood the power of the precooked bacon. digressing. murderous, murderous hills especially given the conditions and their timing during the ride. rolled into casey's in ossian at mile 85 with dreams of pizza dancing in our heads. WHAT CASEY'S IN THE WORLD DOESN'T HAVE ANY PIZZA AT 3P.M.?!?!?!?!?!?!?! total bust, settled for roast beef sandwich, glazed donut and a pepsi. steve had pulled the plug following an explosive water bottle cage and some nasty back spasms so he and julie met us at the gas station. this provided an opportunity to dump camelbaks before the final 20 miles. we left ossian knowing the final 20 was back into the original headwind but it turned out to be not as bad as expected. sensing the end the pace would occasionally pick up despite kent's verbal protests. thinking he knew something we didn't as he started to fight cramps about 95 miles in. still not sure who decided to attack the final hill or who won or whose idea it was to stoplight dragrace down water street to my apt or ride the bike trail that was still ice packed when we were already over 100 miles in...but all of these decision truly seemed appropriate at the time. finished out 105 miles in just over 10 hours but was simply thrilled to have finished them

ended with about 203 miles in 18 hours of ride time in less than 48 hours. huge thanks to kent, steve and drew for making their respective trips to join me in a very selfish attempt at getting help training for transiowa. good to have gunner join us everyday as well and a couple more locals start out with us on saturday. drew is an incredibly strong rider and i was constantly impressed by his efforts. huge thanks to brad/carborocket for sending us out some samples. pretty sure they went over well with all the riders. maybe better than the bacon. lots more stories that i've failed to share, including 2a.m. pugsley and steelhead adventures in the sideyard following bar time after the saturday century. drew's already planning another big ride near rochester and we're already talking that this century will be battled again later in the year with hopes of better conditions. definitely looking forward to seeing all these guys around at a number of races this year. and barring some catastrophe, this WILL happen again next year.