Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Odin's Revenge Report: Back Into The Hills

Riders gathered in the early morning twilight for the Long Course start.
4:32am, Comfort Inn and Suites, Gothenburg Nebraska, Room 126: 

"Hey! You gonna wake up or what?!"

I poked Jeremy in the arm. His alarm had gone off and shut down already, but he hadn't moved a muscle. It was high time to get ready and find out where I was going to eat breakfast, and he was coming one way or the other. Fortunately, it didn't require anymore motivation than I had just provided to jump start the  man into action. In fact, we got ready probably too early. I wondered if the rumors of a 5:00am breakfast there at the motel were going to be coming true.

Fortunately, they were true, and I ate some scrambled eggs, a few strips of bacon, and had grabbed a bagel and a banana from the baskets for later. Tony joined us at the table as well. Then as we were finished with that, we went out and made our final preparations to leave. Oh! I forgot my drop bag! Good thing Jeremy remembered it then. The event allowed you to pack a drop bag for Checkpoint #3, so that helped lessen the load that I had to carry.

Then we rode over the Interstate to the KOA Campground front lot where the event was to start from. There were several riders already there, and folks were nervously chit-chatting with each other. I joked that the weather was so good we'd only have ourselves to blame if we didn't make the course.

Heading out! That's Jeremy in the center and myself on the right. Image courtesy of Scott Redd

The Sun cracks the horizon on a clear blue day. 
The road slowly winds up into the hills. 
The views are expansive and humbling. There is a herd of cattle running up the hill here, but they look like ants.
The event rolled out with no issues. Not like last year at all when we hit these very same roads and were met with wet, soupy gravel and derailleur wrecking mud spots. This time it was deep, loose, sandy gravel which made for tougher rolling unless you could find a line where the cars had thinned it out down to the more solid base. Some guys were wagging their rear ends as they crossed over deeper lines of sandy gravel, but my WTB Trailblazers just floated along with seemingly no ill affects.

Rustic roads with spectacular views dot the course at Odin's Revenge. Image courtesy of Scott Redd
Jeremy had planned on jumping up front with the leaders for a while then he was going to drift back to spend the rest of the day with me. Tony sped up the road as well, so in the beginning it was just myself plugging along at a comfortable 13-14mph and enjoying the early morning scenery. It was pleasant with little wind and the Sun was illuminating things in a dramatic way.

This is me coming up the same grade seen from the other way in the previous image. Image courtesy of Scott Redd.

I reached a familiar turn off to a grassy two-track road and was still amazed that we got to ride on this rustic, "barely there" road. I met up with Jeremy and Scott at the top and we all took off down a long stretch of minimum maintenance road that featured lots of climbing. No gentle grades here! These were steep, a bit longer than typical Iowa climbs, and in places, were rutted out a bit. These were the rollers that essentially killed any chances I had of making the checkpoint cutoff in time last year. That was when these greasy hills were wet with recent rain fall. This time they were of a very different nature. These were dusty, and at the bottom, were filled with silty runoff that was probably five to ten inches deep in places. Powdery dust flew up off of our tires and up into our nostrils. It was a bit challenging when the skinny tired bikes were swapping ends and I was overtaking them on my Fat Fargo, blasting by them as they grabbed a handful of brake lever. Scott referred to this dusting I gave him on a couple of occasions as being "GT-eed".

You can get a feel for how dusty and powdery the dirt roads were in this image courtesy of Scott Redd
This MMR ended in a steep, blazingly fast decent. Image courtesy of Scott Redd
These MMR's went on and on with one steep climb followed by a hairy, rutted, blown out descent, one after another. Jeremy, who doesn't have the "Tomac gene", biffed a few times in this section. I looked back and he was gone! Within a few miles we stopped and he caught back on, a little bloodied and dirty, but seemed none the worse for wear. The section was pretty technical from the standpoint of a gravel event, and was more in the mountain biker's wheelhouse, so I can see where things like what happened to Jeremy could  occur.

Somewhere along the way Tony was back with us as well, but I cannot recall how that happened now. Anyway, we were yo-yoing with a few others- John on a Carbon Beargrease set up with 29+ wheels, Mark on a sweet Potts Titanium bike with a lime green fork, and we saw Kevin a few times as well, who would later tweak out his leg on a crash on a rut and require some medical attention. (Heal up fast and well, Kevin!)

The event rolled onward to checkpoint number one, and Jeremy told me that it was pretty front end loaded with climbing. 5000 feet in the first 48 miles. I was feeling fine, eating, and drinking, but maybe not enough. It took us a little over 4 hours to get to the checkpoint, but I hadn't drank 4 bottles of water yet. Close, but I should have downed all six I had with me. Well, I figured I had enough time in the bank I could maybe take it easy during the warmest parts of the day and then make it through CP#2 and assess my day then.

Next: Burned


Go! said...

Man, I love the way you write.

Guitar Ted said...

@Go! Thank you.

youcancallmeAl said...

God, that's beautiful country! How can anyone say the prairies are boring??