Post- half marathon, fun things have happened! I know it’s getting close to summer when I have way more fun things to do than weekends to do them. I’ll go in chronological order, ’cause you know, that sorta makes sense.
1. River to river – annual running race across illinois. Team front running bastards (FRB) took 6th in the coed division! I was still a little tired from the half marathon, but managed to keep up (mostly). Plenty of hills on that course…
And we threw rocks in the river. tradition.
This is also the only event with many pictures, because my awesome teammate Mike is good about taking photos. I, however, am still a terrible blogger and forget.
2. Training for cedar cross! Since I decided I want to ride my bike more this year, and I bought the beautiful diego, I signed up for the cedar cross, a chill (hopefully) 115 mile gravel ride around jefferson city. Because, if you’re going to try a gravel race, why not make it 115 miles. On a singlespeed. It’s pretty much a binge motto, ‘go big or go home’.
I finally got the 48 tooth chainring off Diego and put on a more reasonable 42 (well, let’s be real, peat did). He was ready for a test! I also found some old 30mm cross tires in my basement – yay for never getting rid of stuff! On the down side, they’re a bit rotted out… but are holding air for now, so we’re gonna go with it. I put together a route that was basically just stitching together the big shark morning ride out to creve coeur park, then taking the Katy down to defiance for peat’s benefit ride route on some gravel back roads into Augusta, then back on the Katy into creve coeur, up hog hollow (!), and home. Did I mention I wanted to do this on my singlespeed?
Luckily, peat was in town and was game to join me, so off we went. It was a lovely day of warm weather and we threw in a little detour up to the singletrack on bangert island, which was awesome! Smooth and swoopy, but not super technical (save a few downed logs). After motoring down to defiance (I was feeling good), we found quite a few more hills on the benefit loop. I, shamefully, walked about 20 ft of the first big gravel hill we hit. After talking a lot of shit about not walking… I’m just gonna say my gearing was a smidge higher than I wanted. Regardless, my ego has been repaired by a Strava top 5 (overall) ranking for that section, so I’m over it. And obviously not over it, I’ll be back to fix that.
We rode into Augusta ready for a break, and met up with Peat’s sister for some beers (2 IPAs is maybe too many for 60 miles into a 100 mile ride, although I did feel great).
We also ran into both superkate and emily over the course of the day – yay awesome friends! All these people doing the trifecta (lost valley, matson, klondike) have me thinking that will be my next expedition. After chilling and chatting with peat’s sister on the ride back to her car at defiance, we rolled through the last few miles of katy trail.
Then… the dreaded hog hollow climb. On a singlespeed. I was intimidated, but, survived! At least my small amount of walking for the day was confined to gravel. We just cranked out the last stretch back into town on ladue, hitting 100 miles right around Hanley (can you say perfect!) at about 7 hours of ride time. Not too shabby, in my opinion! Post-ride, I’m thinking cedar cross will at least be possible, if not terribly fast 🙂
*Sidenote, my favorite moment for the day was when we pulled into Defiance for a pit stop, and a little girl there (eating ted drewes, nah I wasn’t jealous) was asking about our bikes. When we told her mine was named diego and peat’s was miss lady, she looked confused for a bit and then said ‘I think you need to switch, right? I mean, the girl should be riding the girl bike, and the boy riding the boy bike’. Peat then told her that diego was my boyfriend, and miss lady is his girlfriend. The little girl looked all confused and then sad and looked at us and said ‘no, but then you’re cheating on each other…?’ it was adorable.
3. OGRE – 150 miles of gravel. Peat (and other cool, intense people) were riding, and I decided to volunteer to see how everything works, and get an idea of how insane it would be to ride. Originally I had debated riding the OGRE as my first gravel race but decided instead to opt for the cedar cross… which I think turned out to be a good idea. The OGRE runs through some of the hardest parts of the chill bike course (which I had experienced firsthand)… then goes on to find the toughest hills and roads in the ozarks for another, oh, 125 miles or so. It’s intense. I was stationed at pit stop #2, where I checked in racers around mile 87 before they got to refuel with their support crews. It was great to see a lot of different fueling strategies, and general strategies (some people took about 2 minutes… some people took closer to 30). I also got to ride a few miles of the course before racers showed up, including a nifty little bridge. Definitely cool! But also a reality check, considering my pace (strava link – definitely not something I’d be able to maintain all day).
Summary: Yay for good weather, fun bikes, and cool people. Get stoked for cedar cross, and come play in the dirt with me!