Tony’s Almonzo

“Got up early and drove up to Spring Valley, Minnesota for the Almonzo 100. Arrived at about 0800 and found a parking place between the Start and Finish lines. Rode over and got my number and a few stickers and went back to prepare the bike and gear for the ride. As we were assembling at the Starting Line, I ran into Marty; we took a picture with our matching Bomb-Pop Blue Fargos. The race started at 0900 and we rolled out of town to the North and then East enjoying a nice tailwind. The temps were in the 30s, and the riding was pretty easy for the first half of the race.

At the bottom of one of the hills, I took a left and followed a group of riders, but we all stopped at the top of the next hill and turned to the next page of cues because we didn’t see bicycle tracks on the road. We had made a wrong turn, so we turned around and got back on course. It started getting hilly, but the Fargo climbed them well; we hit over 40 mph on one of the descents. As I rode into the intersection near Preston, MN, there was an aide station with water, so I topped off my Camelbak and continued on the course with Marty instead of going into town.
We were still riding southish until the course turned to the West and then North. The wind had picked up and it was blowing out of the NW at 25-30 mph. I love the scenery on this course and I got to see a lot of it because I was pedaling so slow into the wind. I reached the aide station at Forestville State Park, and topped off my Camelbak again. They had watermelon and boiled potatoes which were just what I needed. Marty caught up as I was grazing on the buffet, but he went to use the restroom and I had to leave because I had already spent 20 minutes at the stop.

As I approached Cherry Grove, I remembered that the Riding Gravel crew was going to be there this year. Mark and Jake were standing on the corner ringing the cowbell and Jake brought me some bacon. I ate some more bacon as well as a few pieces of watermelon. I was hoping to beat my time from the two previous years, but I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. The wind was too strong and I was riding into it whether I was going North or West, which was the general direction of the rest of the course. The water crossing was bone dry and I was able to ride through it instead of carrying the bike. I was feeling pretty good when I reached Oriole Hill and the road was in excellent shape for a change. I shifted into granny gear and ground my way to the top. I had less than 10 miles to go and I knew that there was only one more significant hill to go. I rode down into the last deep valley and thought about stopping to take a picture against the cliff, but I was hoping to beat 9 hours so I kept pedaling.

A few of the Royal 165 riders passed me in the last few miles; I was hoping to finish my Century before any of them finished their 165 miles, but I didn’t have it in me. I arrived in Spring Valley and crossed the Finish Line with 102+ miles and 5500+ feet of climbing. I grabbed a catfish basket dinner from the vendor and headed for home.”

-Tony M.


Cup O'Dirt Admin

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