Monday, May 17, 2010

debacles, failures, successes, almanzo and a few more pictures

finally getting some pics up now that i have time and my camera was graciously mailed back to me by gersib after my inability to keep track of it during post transiowa recovery.

recovery in said hotel room after t.i. with bonsall, scotty and mg
bailing on sugar bottom with adam after the rain picked up last monday. headed into town for some local dirt
thirsty? this is what last tuesday's metric was like. the bike was worse and so was i.
scotty. says. hi.
mere seconds before scotty and i both passed out headed back to the hotel after being saved sixty some miles into t.i.

yes. following transiowa i cry dirt.
the breaking point. bonsall walking the b road that officially ended transiowa v.6 for me.
scotty and i with a shred of optimism remaining at the starting line just before t.i.
the almanzo setup: fisty fixed at 37x16 with mary bars and foam grips


verbage: almanzo was a throwdown and a beatdown, as expected. if was glaringly obvious from the start...everything was perfect. the weather conditions as well as the gravel conditions. throw in an eppen tandem and the stage was set...people were going to hard and fast and it was going to go off like that from the start. the best part about this is that i'm an idiot. and i will go with them. as long and hard as i can. fixed. and. i. will. die. so we go off and about 3 1/2 miles in we come screaming down a winding descent and there are bodies and bikes EVERYWHERE. scary doesn't even come close to explaining the scene. nobody seemed to be screaming anything other than "slow down!" so it didn't seem anyone was hurt too bad but you couldn't even tell who was hurt and who was helping or what had happened. it was just carnage. continuing on, the race was pretty much the same the whole way. i was going way faster than i had any right to but it felt good so i went with it. rode with some great people, hooked up with gunner and wes from time to time as the yo-yo effect of trying to ride fixed with geared guys did its thing. chose to blow through preston 40-some miles in and rode up on a lady from geoff's in iowa city (sorry i suck at names). she had ended up solo and didn't know where she was at on her cue sheets. we rode a couple miles and she was frustrated by a stem that was off center and i needed to stop and rest the legs anyway so we pulled off and i straightened things out for her while a group caught us. we hooked up with the group and rode into the checkpiont 65ish miles in. knowing how these things can play out i quickly refilled 2 bottles, grabbed a sandwich out of my camelbak and the new cue sheets and was out as fast as i could. best estimate is i picked up 20 spots on people just hanging out. i'm no expert but a lesson to people new at this...the single easiest place to cut time out of long events is at aid stations/checkpoints. its so easy to get lulled into relaxing. get in, get out and don't get stuck there mentally or physically. back on the bike, up a big paved climb, down into a valley, up a big gravel climb, down into a big valley, POP!!! there go the legs. third big climb right out of the checkpoint and i was a bit toasted. got my shit back together for a while but had to solo to the finish. about 80 miles in i was beat up from the effort i was putting out. i had considered the realistic possiblity of a sub-7hour century fixed and i would have been ecstatic with it. after passing 80 miles and feeling the body start to fail the math was becoming simple. i would be close but would have to ride as well as i did at the start to make it under 7. i just didn't have it in me. came to a very cool water crossing that i cleaned which i think should take 20 minutes off my time thus giving me my sub-7 century. anyway, somewhere around 90 miles in the cramps hit hard and i walked 3 pretty big hills and was stuck pedaling in the flats through cramps that simply alternated legs. limped in just shy of 7hrs20min and finished in the top 100 of a field almost 300 deep. pretty sure one guy fixed behind me and sounds like maybe one guy killing it fixed ahead of me. kinda hard to compare myself from a competitive standpoint so i try to find other measurements. happy, not ecstatic, but happy with my time. happy with how long my body held up but disappionted it wasn't to the end but considering how hard i rode from the start i shouldn't complain too much. food/water was well planned and effective (minus the cramping). i will be stronger because of this.

the race itself was incredibly well put together. many have said much about chris skogen and what he has put together and pulled off with this race and i would simply echo those setiments. not gonna lie, i had my doubts with the size of field but i was beyond impressed. well done chris. as usual, the number of people i got to see and ride is a list beyond my capabilities. but i'll try: gunner, wes, kirk (all from decorah), squirrel, rick, steve, kent (dsm boys), HUGE iowa city/geoff's/q7 crew, dennis the grelk, cornbread, charlie, drew, mr. skogen, shively, moffit, paul jacobsen, joe meiser, i'm sure i'm missing people and i apologize. it was a long, beautiful day and i got my ass the course, the bike, myself and a whole lot of crazy strong riders.


Charlie Farrow said...

Ben....Great to see you!!! Hope to see again...maybe at a WEMS event.
Best regards,

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Buckshot77 said...

Killer job riding that fixed. I know Kent was cramping just on single towards the end. Agreed on the checkpoint deal. I spent 20 minutes there and that was an improvement over the past 2 years. Still about 15 minutes too long though.

the technIAn said...

Thanks for stopping and helping the Geoff's lady. That was Amy Martin, wife of Nick Martin. I will let her know who the helping hand was as we just discussed that at the shop last night.

Good work out there. I knew the dark side would call you back eventually.

Paul said...

Great job out there Ben! It was great running into you around mile 85 or so. I am sorry I didn't stick around, but I was chasing that 7 hour mark myself. Didn't make it!

I hope to see you at a race soon!


Cornbread said...

Yo Ben! Great seeing you again, man. Almanzo was the shit!

See you at the Gravel Worlds in August unless I see you sooner.

BTW, glad you got that camera back.