|Beautiful, Tough, Fun. Odin's Revenge was all of that. Image by W. Kilburg|
I had been out to the area back in '09 to scope out what was to be the failed and final attempt at a bicycle festival dubbed "The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo". I found out back then that Nebraska was actually really hilly and absolutely gorgeous. Any excuse to go back was going to be met with a positive response. Well, lucky for me, the Odin's Revenge gravel grinder was cooked up, and I decided after hearing what Mike had to say, I was going to head out that way and give it a go.
Now, I'm not going to go into all the details of the event. Heck, all you have to do is go back in the blog here to any June from 2013,'14' or '15 and read the reports on this event. There you will read all you need to know. Odin's was my one of my favorite events of the year, one I would not miss, (except this year due to my Mom's surprise 75th birthday party), and was probably second in line to the Renegade Gent's Race in terms of my all-time most favorite event to ride in. I was planning on going back next Summer for sure, but the organizers have called it quits for now.
But, at least I got to ride it three times. I've never managed to finish that event, and now it looks like Odin's will have "his revenge" forever upon me, but man! It doesn't matter to me, really. I am just so glad I got to ride Odin's Revenge at all. So, I decided that I would share some images and memories they stir in this post.
|The roads in this area of Nebraska are breath taking and brutal. That's Craig Groseth on a single speed in the image.|
|Another crazy road. That's Craig again, I am pretty sure.|
Then there was the element of where the event was held. Gothenburg Nebraska is situated far enough West that it drew riders from the Colorado and Black Hills areas. That is why I met several folks I am so glad to have met. I doubt I would have ever become friendly with any of those people had Odin's Revenge not existed. People like Craig Groseth, whom I met at my first Odin's Revenge, and who I hope to ride with again some day. Craig was just crushing it on a single speed, and he is an amazing rider. Just one example of many folks I met out there in Nebraska in the middle of no-where.
And of course, there are the organizers and volunteers of Odin's. The "DSG" group. The main folks were Chad, his wife Merrie, Matt, Bob, Nate, Paul, Kyle, and Garrett. Thanks to these people, their hours of work, their care, and their dedication, Odin's was a great experience. The core group kept that event fun, tough, basic, and one of the best run grassroots gravel events that I am aware of. That was no small feat either. How they kept a balance of sponsorship, down to earth feel, and honest, heartfelt care for everyone that came to ride is beyond me. The experiences I had were second to none.
|That's Chad on the table, the "Odin" of Odin's Revenge. This was the pre-race meeting in '14.|
|Merrie, Chad's wife, checking me in to CP#1 in the '14 Odin's event.|
|Paul playing the hammered dulcimer. Yes, you even got serenaded at Odin's pre-race gathering!|
|My resting place after another "vision quest" at Odin's in 2015|
Like the first Odin's Revenge where I got so overheated I stripped down to my birthday suit and laid in the cool grass several yards off the course in a secluded grove of trees. I got the job done, cooled down the core, and continued onward. There were probably two other times I was really on the edge at that first one too. Sitting at Potter's was a Godsend and that running water from the hose. Heaven!
There was the time I had to bail out early at Mile 47 and ride back to Gothenburg. On the way there, I was falling asleep on the bike, so I stopped and rested under a huge shade tree in a pasture. Or the last Odin's, where I was so bonked out and overheated that I saw fog when I looked around me and there was none. Odin's may have been a ton of fun and good times, but maybe it also damn near killed me. I'm not sure.
I guess it was a combination of the terrain, the heat, and my understanding of myself, or lack of, I should say. That's another thing I owe to Odin's Revenge- I learned an awful lot about myself and also how I needed to prepare and how I dealt with heat. I learned what to eat and keep myself fueled. The lessons gained from Odin's were used in my finish at the Gravel Worlds this past Summer. Had I not tested myself so severely, I likely would never have gotten to that finish line at all.
|Matt Wills grinds up a long hill on his single speed Soulcraft in the '13 Odin's. Probably my favorite shot I've taken at any gravel event.|
There may never be another Odin's Revenge, but I will go back there to ride again someday......