Monday, June 30, 2014

Odin's Revenge 2014: The Madness Part 1

Friday, June 27th:

Everything was set and I awoke for the trip out to Nebraska for Odin's Revenge at the comfortable hour of 6am. Not so my traveling companion, The Bonk King, who had to get up at 3am to drive to where I was from the suburbs of Chicago. He arrived a wee bit late due to a traffic incident involving a burning semi tractor-trailer  rig which blocked his passage for about a half an hour. No worries though, as our rendezvous with Mike and Amy, who were the couple that were ultimately going to be portaging The Bonk King and I with all our gear, were running late anyway.

The view out back of Mike and Amy's rig
Once we made contact with Mike and Amy, we were busily loading gear up and chatting excitedly about Odin's Revenge. The Bonk King had never been to Nebraska, so he was extra excited to see what it might be like. We regaled each other with tales of riding and more as we trekked South and West towards the Western Plains.

The weather was turning rainy, and we ran in and out of rain quite often along the way. At some points, it was raining so hard it was difficult to see, but Amy, being the champ driver that she is, handled it all with aplomb and The Bonk King and I were totally trusting of her driving capabilities. It was really nice to have to not worry about anything and just to enjoy the company and the sights as we traveled. (Thanks Amy and Mike!)

We discovered that my bar tape was being worn through, so Mike made an impromptu patch at a refueling stop.

An interesting script on this fire truck. Not sure I'd want them putting out my fire!

We decided to make a pit stop in Lincoln, but before we arrived, I had texted my buddy, MG, to ask for some gluten free dining spots in the city, as Amy is gluten intolerant. We were directed by MG to check out the Bread & Cup, so that's what we did. It turned out to be a wonderful suggestion, and we all enjoyed the experience. But we had a long way to go yet, so we got back on the interstate and Amy throttled up the Ford and made great time to Gothenburg, where we were to check in at the KOA Campground just outside of the town.

The DSG crew getting folks checked in.
We arrived late in the afternoon and we made new acquaintances and re-connected with old friends. I really like this aspect of events like Odin's Revenge, which are always part gravel/back road adventure- part reunion of old friends. It is hard not to spend a lot of time just chatting up folks!

We got checked in, but we had to scoot over the interstate and check into our motel, download our gear and bicycles, and then come back later for the pre-race meeting, which was to happen at about 7:00pm. The Bonk King and I were to shack up in one room and Amy and Mike, of course, had their own room.

It's always a bit comical when I go anywhere with my bicycles and I wheel them right into the motel. Most folks wouldn't give a second thought to leaving their bicycles outside for the evening, but then again, most folks don't travel with such expensive gear. So there are always "the looks" that one gets as you wheel your bike across the lobby and into a waiting elevator.

The door to our room was right below this sign!
Our accommodations were really nice, but the door to our room was right below the "Ice & Vending" sign, which made us wonder if we were going to get a lot of noises during the evening, or a random knock on the door. Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened all weekend.

We were all settled in, and it wasn't time to head over yet, so we just chilled for awhile and chatted about the coming event, rain possibilities, and where we might be dining for the evening. The highest concern was with weather. There was some question to whether we would get to ride the originally planned for course since there were a lot of dirt only roads in it which would be made a mess by rain. The final word would be given at the rider's meeting.

Captain Chad holding forth at the Rider's Meeting

We sauntered over to the rider's meeting and there was already drips falling randomly from a grey sky. Radar showed a cluster of thunderstorms bearing down on the area. Chad Quigley, one of the heads of Odin's Revenge, called the meeting to order. He went over the conditions of the course and said it was up to the long course riders whether we should go for it or no. With (almost) one accord, there was agreement that we should buckle up and head into it as it was planned for. There was one, minor but very notable, exception.

A loud voice piped up from the throng of riders decrying the decision to ride the long course due to the "over average" amounts of rain the area had seen previous and with more on the way, surely we shouldn't be riding the long course as planned. Then this individual asked what tires were recommended to be run if we were going to go ahead with the madness. Chad, a bit dumbfounded by the outburst, paused just long enough for my buddy MG to quip, "The ones on your bike!". This brought out a round of chuckles and with another question quaffed by another quick witted MG reply, the gent went silent and we closed up the proceedings with a bit of a word from fellow DSG'er, Matt Bergen. Matt said some kind things about Jeff Kerkove, myself, and Trans Iowa, which I appreciated greatly. (Thanks Matt!)

Red sky in the morning......
We hung out for a bit afterward, talked to a lot of people, and drank a few awesome craft beers from Nebraska brewers. Then, since I was so busy jabbing away, The Bonk King, Matt, and Amy left to go eat and made a deal with MG to bring me over later when I was done being social! We caught up with them at the local Mexican restaurant where I had a "Manny's Burrito" and more good conversations. Much comedy was made from the bloke's outburst at the rider's meeting which was to be a continuing theme throughout the weekend. 

Afterward we went in search of our beds and tried to get some shuteye for the 4:00am wake up call. We were pretty stoked and it wasn't easy to fall asleep. I think I vaguely remember wind driven rain against the window as I drifted off to sleep...........

Look for The Madness Part 2 tomorrow!

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