At The End Of The Day: So I had CVO cart my sorry rear end to the start finish where Mike was waiting for me with a pizza in hand! Cornbread fetched me a beer, and we hung out with some finishers and DNF'ers. It was all good.
I'm not sure why Lincoln has so many "skeeters" since it was reportedly so dry and hot there for so long, but the monsters were out not long after I got back and Mike and I were getting eaten alive, so we "bugged" out. (Ha!)
We both were comatose by 10pm. It was a tough, tough day in the saddle for sure.
The next morning we hooked up with MG and Adam Blake at the Two Twins cafe for some killer grub and conversations. The restaurant owner, a fellow from Lincoln that rode in the race, picked up our tab! How cool is that? I'm tellin' ya, you can't beat the Lincoln cycling scene. It's as good as anywhere in the U.S.A.
What About That Course? I heard many folks say afterward that this was tougher than this year's Dirty Kanza 200. Maybe it was. It was dang close if it wasn't tougher. The hills never stopped after the initial turn on to Branched Oak Road, and of course, the heat. Wow! Folks back home were telling me they heard it was well over a 100 degrees with the humidity figured into it. Ouch! I'd have to agree, having been burnt by it.
The course was worthy of "Worlds" status, and in light of that, albeit whether it was meant to be tongue in cheek or not, this Good Life Gravel Adventure has set a standard of toughness that will be hard to match. The balance of MMR to gravel, the remoteness, the logistics, and the unique touches that the Pirate Cycling League brought to this event make it a must ride for any gravel aficionado. Add in the fact that the PCL/Lincoln Crew are as nice and accommodating a group as you could ever wish for and this is a no brainer.
Look. Here's the real deal: The Dirty Kanza 200 was swamped by entrants this year, and deservedly so. People paid good money to come to that event. Here is a free event with everything the DK had. Really. It is that good. No disrespect to Joel and Jim, or the rest of the DK crew. They are top notch, but this has a "low-fi" feel good nature to it that sets it apart from the Dirty Kanza. It is a "different kind of good", if you will. The Lincoln Crew "gets it" when it comes to this genres roots, and they are sticking close to them. I say good on ya. To my mind, the DK is like going to the theater nowadays. (pun intended) The Gravel Worlds is like going to a back yard barbecue. Both are fun, but in different ways. Anyway...........nuff said there.
If there was a legit criticism I could come up with, it would be that of Kevin Doggett, who told me something along the lines that 'Kansas rewards you with its vastness, where as Nebraska hides it in the folds of the land'. As far as the experience goes, I guess that is a fair observation. Both have their unique charms to be sure.
All I can say is that back in 2006, Jim Cummings and I were talking about a "Triple Crown" in terms of the "Grand Gravel Events". (Boy does this sound pompous to me now, but whatever....it is what it is) We were missing "one leg" to get the idea going. Well, the GLGA/Gravel Worlds has more than filled that bill. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the premier gravel events in the U.S. in terms of the "scene" and also in terms of how difficult, beautiful, and awesome the event has become.
Thank Yoose: Kudos to Troy Krause for designing a wicked beautiful course. Thanks to the Pirate Cycling League, Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey, CVO, and the rest of the "crew". The Lincolnites, Mike Johnson, Peter and Jane Reinkordt: You are top notch folks! So glad to have met you.(Thanks to "davidr" for getting their names to me.) The Star City Inn, Two Twins Cafe, Oso's Burritos, The Malcom General Store, The Phillips 66 in Valpo- (poor cash register lady!), and everyone that participated in the GLGA/Gravel Worlds. This was a highlight of 2010 for me.
And with that I bring my posts on the Gravel Worlds in Lincoln, Nebraska to a close. What an awesome experience.