“In October, I had planned on a winter full of long rides to everywhere and training for Trans Iowa. At least, that was the plan until I didn’t make the lottery for TI. A good portion of me was relieved, and celebrated by sitting on the couch all winter longer. A little ride here for tacos, a little ride there for beer… but nothing super long or challenging. Then it was March, time for Land Run. I hadn’t done any training, and didn’t figure I need any… riding a bike for 100 miles was just like, well … riding a bike. I never really “trained” for anything anyway, but then again, I haven’t really taken a break from riding either.
Fast forward to Friday morning before Land Run.. I woke up that morning and said.. Stillwater is a long way from here. We could just stay home and work on projects around the house (napping on the couch). But, many of our friends are going to Stillwater, and what a great chance to catch up with everyone. So, we mustered the will power to load up the van and head to Oklahoma. Once we arrived and started running into all our friends we were glad we decided to not stay home.
The morning of the “race” we rode the bikes down to starting line and hung out there for a little while until the cannon fire signaled the start. Those mass roll outs are always sketchy, riders jockeying for better position, round-a-bouts, gutters, storm drains, and pot holes to dodge, without running into the riders around you. Sketchiest part of the ride at almost every large ride.
I forgot my iPod at home, so I picked up a cheap walmart MP3 player to help keep my mind off the pain. After the first 10 miles, I finally got to the point where I didn’t feel like i was gasping for air while riding… and then my MP3 player stopped. I restarted it but the shuffle mode was apparently set in stone, so I listened to the same 10 songs for the next 10 miles, then it stopped again. At which point I listened to the same 10 songs for another 10 miles. Eventually I came to an oasis along the route. Friendly folks handing out water, soda, sports drink of some variety and of course beer. I stopped drank a beer, jacked with the mp3 player for a minute and determined that listening to music in alphabetical order was better than the current “shuffle” .
At some point, I gained a riding companion from Big Pig Racing and rode with her for 15 – 20 miles until we reached the halfway point. Once we left the halfway point, she was able to lay down some power and climb the hills out town and then cruise at a solid pace down the paved road. I wasn’t able to keep the same pace on the pavement with my single speed, so I got dropped and once again was left with the MP3 player as my only company. Until mile 60… when the batteries died.
At this point, I am just grinding along with my own thoughts and the jumbled lyrics from the last 3 songs I heard getting intertwined in my mind. Then, around mile 70, my pedals started slipping on some climbs, and not engaging like I expected on the flats. No mud at all at Land Run, and somehow, I have managed to jack up the drive train on my single speed. What the hell.
I decided that I would push on, ride the down hills, spin until the free wheel engages on the flats (and keep spinning to keep it engaged) and carry as much momentum up the hills that I can.. then walk the rest. Can’t quit just yet, Salsa has setup a chaise for riders to stop and get their picture taken (chasethechaise.com) and I am determined to have my picture taken. So I limp along for another 12 miles before coming to another oasis where I have a double Jamison or two and show off my awesome drive train.. at this point I have become impressed with the failure of the free wheel. Another two miles and I have reached the chaise. Photo Opp time. Quick little wardrobe change and I have completed my goal of making it to the chaise.
After talking with the Salsa guys a little longer, I am back on the bike limping it up the next tiny little hill when the free wheel finally gives up the ghost. Now it is freely spinning in both directions, and will not catch at all. At this point, I had to call Emma to meet me down the road. I walked my bike the next mile on flat, super easy gravel.
After Emma picked me up, we headed back to the finish line just in time to see my Big Pig Racing riding buddy cross the finish line. We exchanged congrats and stories. Stopped for a few more photos, few beers, more stories and whiskey. Then it was off to get a Whataburger and take a shower.”
Cup O'Dirt Admin