So at 5am the morning of, I'm trying to find a local tv station to get the local low down on the weather. Nothing but infomercials. Including one for spinning.
"You can do it in the privacy and convenience of your own home!"
I just drove all the way to Red Wing, MN to parade my spandex-clad ass around south eastern MN.
"Miss Kansas uses spinning to maintain a healthy lifestyle!"
A bunch of ugly dudes with beards use gravel road racing as an excuse for excessive beer consumption.
"Act now and get the 'Tour of Ireland' DVD!"
I gotta admit, replace the falling down castles with falling down barns and it's almost the 'rök.
The irony of it all was just too much.
Prognosis on the weather was looking good. Looked like pretty much the worst of anything would hold off until later that afternoon. A good excuse to keep on the gas and not get caught out in bad weather.
We started in a brisk mist. One where you can't really guess which way the weather is going to go. As such, many were packing a rain jacket or some such as a contingency plan.
Start went as per usual. Cold legs into a hard climb kept the pack together for the first couple miles. Later on though, my impressions of the Fargo as a poor gravel road racing rig were reinforced. It was just really tough to find the right pack to hang on to. Usually, my approach to this event is to find a pack I can barely hang on to and stick it out until the first checkpoint. This year, I kind of bounced from group to group.
And got passed a lot.
I mean, A LOT.
I guessed that some of the faster guys had missed a turn someplace and were now hammering their way back up to the front. Looks like I was right, but man- it's demoralizing to get passed by the same dudes twice.
While no speed demon, the Fargo is still a great bike to really enjoy this type of riding. Sitting upright and rolling on big rubber let me enjoy the scenery a bit more. And those fat tires with disc brakes just made the descents crazy, crazy fun.
But of all the weather scenarios that could have played out- the one I was unprepared for came true. A beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine. I'll be nursing a case of sunburn for a few days.
Finished just 7 minutes later than last year. But at 12.5mph average as opposed to 13.1 on last year's longer course. Things went pretty well during the event and training leading up to it, so I'm gonna go ahead and say it's the slower bike.
But now I'm in a quandary about the Almanzo. 100 or 162? I know I can knock out the 162, but with only minutes to spare before the cutoff last year, can I do it this year on a slower bike? Or will the lower gearing and better traction help me through some of the big time sinks last year? Should I just dust of the Jake? Should I just buy a proper friggin' CX bike rather than race weird crap?
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!