Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yes: It Is That Hard

<==Post   "Night Nonsense ", October, 2010.

As I write this, over 12 hours after the Almanzo 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.

Take it from me: They are that hard!


Vito said...

I have never done an event like Almonzo or the others, but I have ridden a good deal of gravel. Gravel riding folks are one tough ass group. No, I am not including myself in that category.

Your words are truly spoken..."It is that hard!"

Courtney Hilton said...

I quit almonzo in preston 3:40 minutes to ride 41 miles in the rain and mud. It was fun but my cold toes told me to take the ride I was offered. And yes I agree it is that hard....but easy stuff is no fun

brian said...

Yeah, it was hard. I was one of the three riders still out on the course. I finished the Royal in 13hrs 50min. Beautiful course! If the race would have happened today, it would have been down right enjoyable. After missing CP2 at TI this year by 30 minutes, I bumped up from the 100 to the 162 this Saturday. After the long battle, i'm glad I did. Thanks to you Guitar Ted and Chris Skogen for all you do to make these events possible.