Melissa adds some more miles at the Dirty Lemming. Enjoy!
“I rode the Dirty Lemming 100 miler this past weekend. I’m cashing in all my dirt rides regardless of distance as metrics and not going for the full 100 miler cup. This makes metric #10 for me for the year.
My Dirty Lemming race report goes something like this (warning: foul language alert) — I had big goals @ the start. Sub 6 hour gravel century, stay with one of the aggressive chase packs, and, well, win. 😉 None of these came true! Haha.
The important message: Last year I did my first gravel century in the fall and was on the course for 8 hours and 30 minutes and was utterly destroyed when I was done. Compare that to the Lemming, where the elevation profile was very similar and we were done in 6 hours and 30 minutes and I was definitely not destroyed!! So even though I met NONE of my original goals I still blew away my “flat gravel century” time from last year AND felt awesome at the end!! The after-party at the organizer’s house is amazing – free beer, brats, cookies, camaraderie. I can’t recommend this race enough!
Now for the details —
The entire group of 100ish riders stayed together as we biked down Luce Line, dodging tree branches and such. At one point, there was a GIANT tree limb over the trail with only one way around it. The group lined up single file and started heading around. Someone jokingly said “hey, this would be a GREAT time to attack!” and sure enough, after I got around the tree the leaders had reformed a pack way up the trail. I joined a second group of chasers and we rotated and churned to try and catch the leaders. They were almost always within sight, until one corner around mile 17.. The leader of our group charged down a gravel road and we eventually found ourselves at a “dead end” sign. Holy shit, I had followed someone off course just like a … lemming!! How fitting, I thought, as I dropped a few f-bombs and turned my bike around.
By the time we got back to the course a huge group of riders was rolling through. Not only had we lost sight of the lead pack but we also were now blocked in rolling with about 30 people. The pace was decently high and I kept leaving the draft to try and get further up our line in case someone surged off the front. No dice. I hated my bike, hated riding, and hated everything about the day. I slowed down and fell off the group around mile 30. At that point, I asked myself whether I wanted to chase my goals for the day and the answer was a resounding “no”. Apparently having a shit week at work took too much out of me mentally to be able to really dig and I made peace with that.
I floated backwards, letting people pass me. I rode alone for a long time and my spirits gradually improved. I met up with another rider and followed him off course too around mile 50 (dammit). After we were back on course I surged and he couldn’t hold my wheel, so I was solo again. I actually pulled up the route and directions on my Garmin at this point, vowing to not have another “lemming” moment.
At the second checkpoint, around mile 60, I met up with a group of mountain bikers. I asked if I could roll out with them and draft for a while and they said sure. We rode together for about 10 miles and I was feeling good so I offered to pull for a while. They fell off my wheel, so I slowed and asked what was happening. One of the guys said that his friend was struggling, they were going to stick together, but that I should go on without them, saying “this obviously isn’t your first rodeo”. That made me laugh — I still feel like a rookie out there but apparently it doesn’t show!
I charged on solo and at mile 90 who do I see but my teammate Pamela!! She was sitting on the side of the road while one of her group was changing a flat. I muttered something incoherent about not wanting to stop since it took me so long to get my mood back up in the first place. I was shocked a few minutes later when I heard someone behind me. It was Pamela!! Her buddies told her to leave and ride in with me, so we did, taking turns down the final stretch and rolling in together around 6:30. It was great to be able to finish the race w/ her and hear how her day had gone. She was smiling despite still dripping with blood and covered in gravel chunks. It ended up being a great day on the dirt!”