Tony’s Gravel Worlds

 

“Dirty Metric #13 & 14. Friday morning Guitar Ted and I loaded up our Salsa Fargos and headed for Lincoln. We checked into the Hotel and then headed over to Cycle Works to register for the race and meet and greet. It started raining, so everyone was hanging out inside the shop. After closing down the bike shop, we went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

We woke up at 0400 the next morning and ate breakfast at the hotel. We then drove over to the starting line and waited on the lee-side of a building to stay out of the cold, damp wind that was blowing. We rolled out at 0600 with a nice tailwind for the first section of the course. The gravel was wet, sticky, and sandy.

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The course appeared to be going clockwise this year and I stopped in Eagle to top off my water. GT caught up and we continued South and then West. We made a quick stop at the first checkpoint which is where I waited out a thunderstorm last year, and continued South and then West through Bennet towards Roca. We stopped at the bar in Roca and topped off our water. The course headed West and then turned North into the wind. The roads had dried out and the temps were perfect. I caught up with GT before the next checkpoint at a farmstead where we ate pickles and topped off our water. We then headed North into the wind and steep rolling hills.

I shifted into my small ring on one of the hills and discovered that my drive train wasn’t completely fixed from the wear and tear it received at the Dirty Kanza. It didn’t want to shift back up to the big ring which was the same problem that I had at Odin’s Revenge. Since the course was so hilly and the wind wasn’t letting up, I rode the rest of the course with the small chainring.

We stopped for a quick break in Malcolm and then continued North. The wind and hills were wearing on us, and we were happy to see an Oasis stop at Branched Oak Farm. We topped off our water and ate more pickles and some cheese. The course continued into the wind and the hills got worse. The course finally turned East towards Valparaiso and I stopped a few miles before town where one of the race volunteers was sitting on top of a hill with water and munchies. I knew we were past the tough stuff and I waited for GT to catch up. When he arrived, I could tell by his attitude and demeanor that he had this course whipped and that we both were going to finish.

We stopped at the convenience store in Valparaiso and continued East before turning South. The wind had laid down by this time, but we knew we were on the home stretch, so we kept pedaling. We stopped at the last checkpoint for a few minutes and then continued towards Lincoln. There was a stretch of B-road with a huge mud puddle that everyone was tip-toeing their bikes through. It didn’t look that bad, so I tried riding through it until I hit a deep hole in the middle and fell in the mud. GT was right behind me, but he was able to stop before he committed to the puddle. I wiped as much mud and silt off as I could and got back on the bike.

My goal was to finish with GT in less than 14 hours, and so far we were right on track. Kevin showed up in his van to see how we were doing and gave us some encouraging words. We were getting close to town, but the hills did not let up. We finally hit pavement and rolled downhill to the finish line in just under 14 hours for the 145 mile course.”

-Tony M.

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Jim

Cup O'Dirt Admin

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