A retro update from Jacob S.
“Way back in August I needed to redeem my confidence after my defeat at the 24 hours of Cumming. Luckily I had the foresight to get signed up for PCL’s Gravel Worlds in Lincoln, NE. I met my buddy Logan in Des Moines and we headed for Lincoln Friday afternoon. We were staying with my cousin and his wife which makes for a cheap trip.
Logan was with me at DK this spring and took a spill on a downhill, spraining his wrist in the process. He managed to limp into CP1 but decided the pain was too much to keep going for another 130 miles. That night was pretty casual and everyone wanted to go to some fancy Ramen restaurant. I’m not a big fan but whatever, I went with the crowd.
The next morning came early and we made our way to the staging parking lot. I’m not sure if it was a YMCA or Highschool, either way there were no open restrooms that early in the morning. I headed for the start line at least three times before I finally had all of my lights and everything I wanted to have with me. Once there I fed straight for the back of the pack and the line for the two port o pots. By the time I took care of business and found my bike again they had started the race! I got my jersey zipped and mounted my trusty Raleigh in time to take off with the tail end of the pack.
It was a pretty cool sight to see the long line of blinky tail lights snaking off into the distance as the leaders stretched the field from the start. As dawn broke I remember feeling pretty good about my self and the pace I was keeping. Then we turned…..dammit. Head wind was to be the story of my day. I fought it, cursed it, at one point I think I fell in love with it? Either way my motto for 2015 was still in play here, Just Keep Pedaling. I traded pulls with people that passed me and people that I passed but never really fell into a good rotation with anyone and mostly rode by myself. I got my lottery ticket and a coke, gave G Ted a $2 for novelty and took off from the first town.
The short punchy climbs made themselves known. I get it, you’re not long but you’re steep as f….
About 60 or so miles in I saw a familiar jersey taking a nap under a tree. I’m not supposed to see any of the Bike Rags guys that I ride with until the finish and seeing Logan here means something was wrong. Turns out Ramen wasn’t a good idea was it? I woke him up and talked him into pressing on with me. We limped along for the next 25 miles or so and came to the neutral water stop. After a few minutes break from fighting the wind we exchanged knuckles and I left him to continue my war with the wind.
I stopped at another gas station and had a delicious orange Sunkist and some nutter butters. I smiled because a turn was coming up that would mean a tailwind!! Luckily for me, I am soo slow that by the time I turned the wind had begun to die down. Sweet, all that work and no reward. Thats a lie, the sweet sweet gravel is reward enough for any amount of toil.
Somewhere around 125 or so I was still feeling decent when some of the District boys from Oklahoma caught up to me. I’m not sure if it was them or the brief rain that sparked my fire but I started crushing it. More wind/hills until finally a turn back towards town. I passed a couple of guys towards the end and got heckled for my late burst of speed. I cruised into the finish over five hours behind Niel Shirley and I was at the same time completely spent and completely stoked. I’m never going to win one of these things, but a good gravel crush always puts me on cloud nine.
My work done for the day, I found Logan and we drank beers, talked to friends, talked to strangers and reveled in a great day”.