|Hunting Unicorns (Image by S. Auen)|
The Gents Race is always looked forward to by myself and probably others. For me it is really not so much of a race as it is a great bike ride with loads of like-minded folks and four great guys I have come to know as teammates for this event. Our team is pretty unique, and in our four years together, we have forged some traditions which we all adhere to and have fun with.
But before all that can happen I have to get down to Kyles Bikes in Ankeny and meet up with those four guys. That meant getting up at 4:30am and packing up the "Truck With No Name" to get me and my bike there. The day was looking like it would be good, but at 27°F it was chilly! The drive down was uneventful, and I arrived at 7:30am to get kitted up and see who was out and about. Our team was not scheduled to go off until 9:08am. Sign in was a half an hour earlier than that, so I was plenty early.
|It was a perfect day to ride bicycles!|
We got the traditional "Team Photo" on my camera, and then we started out. The course runs a couple miles on pavement until we reached the outskirts of suburbia and escaped to the sandy gravel that is characteristic of this part of Iowa. On the way there, something rather ironic happened concerning my camera. You know the one I just wrote a post about last week? Yeah.......that camera!
I was grabbing it out of my left pocket, (not my usual way of toting it, by the way), and I lost the handle on it. I watched as it tumbled down and smacked the pavement. Of course, I am doing about 20mph at this point, so the camera is out of my view for a few seconds while I slow down and swing back to pick it up. I grabbed it and hurriedly caught back on to my team. After I calmed down a bit, I tried it, but.......nothing. So, I figured I finally killed it. Oh well. Sam offered to stow it in his frame bag and we continued on our adventure.
|Unicorn Avenue rest stop. (Image by S. Auen)|
The flatness of the course is perfect for the format, as it tends to keep the groups of five together, and your only real issue is going to be wind and weather in this event. On both counts, things could not have been much better. Sure, there was a mild Southwesterly breeze, but considering the time of year, it could just as easily have been a gale. Again, things were about as good as it gets. The Sun was out, and spirits were high. Those that wanted to get after it did, and those that had other agendas, (like my team), did what came natural to them and had a lot of fun.
In the end, we got in 67 miles of great riding and fun times. I cleaned up a bit afterward and headed over to the local bar/eatery that was hosting the after-ride party. There were a ton of cyclists there, and I found my good friend MG along with Trans Iowa finisher Tim Ek, Dirty Kanza directors Jim Cummins and LeLan Dains, and many others there. I sat and had a couple IPA's and then MG and I went out and swapped over my wheel set on my Tamland so he could take the American Classic wheels out and test them.
Oh, and my camera- Sam handed it back to me afterward, and he said that I had lost the battery. What?! Yep......it was gone. It must have popped out of the battery door and then the door somehow closed up again in the tumbling on the pavement. Maybe it will live on!
Afterward I made the trek home to go see my family with sore legs and a smile on my face. Thanks to the Renegade Gent's Race crew- Rob Versteegh, Kyle Sedore, and Kyle's Bikes along with all the volunteers. Thanks to my "Careless Whispers" teammates- Bob Moural, David Cornelison, Sam Auen, and Steve Fuller.