Oh, hello...10:21 AM
So, I sort-of took a year off of the blogging thing. No story there, but I'm starting to feel like getting back into the writing groove.
What have I been up to this spring? Gravel!
I jumped into a spring gravel campaign this year with glorious and detailed training plans...which were, of course, drastically derailed by the cold that grips Minnesota each and every winter. C'mon, it's not like I could have predicted this...
So, my training in March was a bit of a bust - just a few rides here and there in addition to my daily commute. It was really starting to stress me out because the Ragnarok 105 was looming on April 11 and I didn't feel like my legs were up to the distance and elevation (8,000+ feet of climbing). Two weeks before the race, I called it. Just admitted to myself that I wasn't going to do it.
Then, a week before I got a great 65 mile training ride it in which I a) felt good, and b) didn't die. I figured, why not? The weather forecast was looking sunny and the Spouse would be at the ready with a car ride home, if needed.
I've now finished three gravel races:
- The Ragnarok 105 was painful (so much climbing...), but ultimately an amazing experience. I partnered with a friend at the 32-mile check-in and we worked together the rest of the race. By "worked together" I mean we: whined repeatedly about the climbs, exclaimed over the beautiful countryside, and commiserated over our growing list of aches and pains. I realized that the longer the ride got, the more strong and determined I became. After Ragnarok, the rest of my races looked a lot less intimidating.
- The Dickie Scramble was also a new one for me this year - 83 miles of rolling countryside just north of Rochester. Oh, and this wonderful innovation: potluck rest-station. One more time: potluck rest-station. It was a cornucopia of everything you crave: peanut butter cups, bacon, beer, waffles, licorice. Mmmm... Again, I found a nice group of three new-friends, and we worked together through the windy open sections and brutal climbs.
- Finally, we went back and completed the Almanzo 100 just yesterday. Another beautiful day (ok, a little rainy, but the wind was perfect), and as my experience grows, so does my confidence. I started strong and kept going. I took the rest I needed, but didn't stay off the bike too long. In the end, I dropped nearly an hour from my time last year!