Ronde Van Skandia

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I've been wanting to do this race for a couple years. It's basically a "spring classic" style road race featuring the occasional gravel and sand roads, some bad pavement, but mostly just back roads cruising for 80 miles. 

But hey, I have a new bike.  And you know what I like to do when I have a new bike- race it in an inappropriate setting!  I knew I was in trouble when I took the start line surrounded by 25C tires.  General consensus was that yours truly was either crazy, stupid or both with his 29x2.1s and a 29lb mountain bike.

Really, I was kind of using this as a test to see how comfortable it was over the long haul before the Chequemagon 100. I was expecting to get dropped hard and spend the rest of the afternoon out riding by myself.   I managed to hang on through the neutral rollout, but when the race started- sure enough, I established my residence in good ol' Offthebackistan.   That was cool. I had 60 miles to spin and stuff my face with fig newtons. 

Only problem was, the SAG wagon driver wasn't going to let me....  

He'd told me to get in my biggest gear, get on his bumper and he'd give me a draft to the tail end of the pack.  I seriously considered whining my way into staying in beautiful, yet incredibly windy Offthebackistan, but... well... he was very convincing.   So I let 'er rip in 44x11 knowing that I was on the fast track to blowing up bad, but after a mile or so, I managed to catch a group of riders who had fallen off the main pack. 

Honestly, I'm glad I I did that. The wind was bad. Fighting it with my 710mm bars all by myself would not have been fun.  It was so bad, it literally blew a lady in front of me right over.  I'm glad I had disc brakes. The Jake never would have stopped in time and rolled right over her. 

So now I had myself a pretty jovial group of riders who had no expectation of winning and were determined to help eachother through the nasty wind.  There may have a been a rider or three who bailed on the race early- perhaps to avoid the stigma of finishing with some dude on a mountain bike, but I won't name names. :) 

Towards the end, out little group fell apart.  I was hurting bad.  Really bad.  It's been a while- if ever that I've hurt this bad in a bike race.  But hey, I finished.  Quite possibly dead last or very close to such. But, given the competition at this race- I'll take it.  And I was quite happy to note that I had no comfort issues at all with the bike all day.  Mission accomplished, I guess. 

Maybe next year I need to do something harder.  I'm thinking single speed. 

1 Comment

For the sake of your blog, you should bring the wrong bike to races more often. Anyway, everyone roots for the weird guy (unless you win). So we have some kind of solidarity there, you know, if you consider rallycrossing the Town Car to be at all similar.

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