Gravel Grunts Cycling Squad

Tim and Ryan write in…

“The inaugural ride of the “Gravel Grunts Cycling Squad” (Ryan Haug and Tim Bauer for now) took place on Saturday, March 5th in rural Hawley, MN. The forecasters weren’t as accurate as they predicted other than for the strong southerly wind (20mph with gusts to 32mph). Ryan had been riding all winter. I was 3 weeks removed from my last foot ultra at Actif Epica (Ryan rode 100 miles on his 907 at Actif Epica).

The day was cool, but not bitter. I rode my Surly Pugsley with 4.25″ tires. The Pugs and I are destined to become one in 2016 as I train for the Trans South Dakota Bikepacking event (698 miles). With a number of shorter rides in the flats of Fargo, ND it was time to get in a metric century. 

The initial 25 miles went smoothly, as I had expected. The hills were taking a toll, but nothing too critical. Ryan was always in the lead on his Surly Straggler. He was kind enough to come back to meet me on occasion. He’s always trying to get more miles! However, once we began to head south for about 15 miles, the ride became brutal for me. The winds were steady and the gusts were frequent. I began to find mild enjoyment climbing hills in that it blocked the winds. My attitude was slowly decreasing as the winds were increasing. We came to a point of decision: 2 more southerly miles or head onto a snowy, icy, sloppy minimum maintenance road.

Being considerate of Ryan’s narrow tires we pushed on south. I never was so relieved as when we turned west and had some wind behind us. 

My pace quickened and my attitude began to climb as I headed north. Ryan was behind me now, as he failed to remember where I told him to turn. That’s what he gets for being so darn fast. He soon caught up to me and we sailed along on hero gravel with the wind to our backs. 

The final 3.2 miles dropped me quicker than my first high school date! I had pushed the pace wind aided. I was running low on calories, but didn’t want to stop. My focus was 62 miles and the finish. However, as I turned east to wrap up the ride, I realized that the wind was going to fight me every revolution. As the Garmin indicate that I could push the Pugs faster than I could peddle it and Ryan was cresting a hill more than a mile in front of me, I had everything I could do to keep moving forward. I eventually stopped for calories and hydration. A car pulled up to check on my condition. Friendly conversation, standing on my sore feet, and the fuel and fluids finally kicking in made the rest of the ride much more pleasant.

My first metric century of 2016 was in the record books!” -Tim B.

 “I had a great ride with my good friend Tim this past weekend.  We were riding in the Hawley/Rollag area which is 20 miles east of Fargo.   It’s a great area to ride, with scenery and one thing Fargo severely lacks.  Hills!!


  I was using my Surly Straggler, which I picked up last fall, and it hasn’t seen a whole lot of gravel time yet.  I also put on a new Brooks C17 the night before.  This was going to be a good test!! 


We headed out and the temp was in the mid to upper 20’s and eventually warmed up to around 40.  There was a healthy south wind that provided some additional resistance on the hills.  I’ve been riding my 9 zero 7 for the past few months and was used to a fat tire.  I had a lot less tire to move with the 41 lards and the bike handled great.  I made a couple adjustments on the Brooks early on, and I think it’s going to be a great saddle for me. 


I ended up with 70 miles and am looking forward to more adventures with the Straggler and Tim!!”- Ryan H.


Cup O'Dirt Admin

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