As I write this, over 12 hours after theAlmanzo 100 and Royal 165 started, there are still folks out riding the course. It is raining, cold, and windy.
It's funny when you talk to people about these events like the Almanzo, The Good Life Gravel Adventure/Gravel Worlds, Dirty Kanza 200, or Trans Iowa. Some folks can't begin to grasp what it means to be on a bicycle for that long, or even what it is like at all to ride on gravel. I get that. I mean, not everyone is going to even have that on their radar, much less think about what it might be like.
<===Look Out! Big guy coming through!
Then there are those who have maybe raced a bit, done some ultra stuff on roads, or running, or whatever, that make some comments about this self-supported, self navigated gravel road stuff. They seem to think that taking more than 5 hours to do 100 miles is "going slow", or that the terrain is flat, what's the big deal?, and that it isn't near as hard as maybe what myself and others paint it out to be.
Then maybe some of these "big talkers" come and try it, or see/hear first hand what folks are going through out there. I've seen this happen, and it is rather interesting how the tune being sung afterward is of a different tone. Yes, it is quite comical sometimes.
<===Bundled up and sportin' the frosty beard at the checkpoint in '11's CIRREM ride.
But some folks don't get close and still turn their noses up and deride the gravel scene. I guess ya had ta be there! It's all good. Those that know.....well, they know.
Doesn't matter what the cycling world at large thinks about it. It is what it is, and it ain't easy.
And thirteen and a half hours after the start of the Royal 165, there are still three riders out on course. I'm thinking they don't give a rip what I, or anybody else thinks about their finish in that time space. They have something the naysayers will never understand. And that's maybe the way it should be.
I know I've been through pouring rain, walked muddy B Roads, been frozen, baked within an inch of my life, finished, come close, and utterly failed at all sorts of these events.