Monday, August 19, 2019

Gravel Worlds '19: Part 1

Pared down the load to the bike and one bag for 2019.
Friday morning I was ready to go. Everything was ready from a gear standpoint. But you readers who have been paying attention know that my outings in the country have been sparse in 2019. Long rides? Ha! That hasn't happened with the exception of the Solstice 100 and the GTDRI for me, neither one of which I managed to finish.

So, the goal going into this Gravel Worlds? Just have fun and go as far as I could go. That's it. Realistically I knew going in that finishing a brutal 150 mile course was pie in the sky thinking for 2019 on my part. I pretty much figured that finishing would be a very low percentage point wish on my part. So, I just wanted to get as far as I could with no issues until there were issues. If that makes any sense. I wanted to do things smartly, which is the #1 reason I chose the Fargo. It fits me perfectly, and it has a triple crank, so the widest gearing range I have access to was on that bike. I knew that would be a boon to my chances of going far.

I also was counting on the water bottle capacity to be a big advantage, as I am a heavy sweater, and Gravel Worlds is typically very humid and hot, in terms of weather conditions. Finally, I just tried to have a very casual approach to the event, because I knew it wasn't going to be easy for me, or likely an effort that resulted in a finish. I just didn't put in the proper amount of time to expect anything more than a fun ride in the country. I knew that, and accepted that fact ahead of time.

So, my friend Tony picked me up and we were off to Lincoln, Nebraska. The drive went well, we actually made it there in record (for us) time and had time to kill. Fortunately, Gravel Worlds had a bit of a vendor expo that we viewed and, as it turns out, was profitable from a perspective, although I was not expecting that at all.

Schwag from Gravel Worlds- (t-shirt was optional upon registration)
Tony and I eventually went in to get registration completed, got our t-shirts, and the "schwag-bag" of goodies, including a sweet coffee cup and "spork" dealie-bob from presenting sponsor Lauf.

My brother MG was there, and we hung out for a bit until it was time for MG to head back to tend to his children. That was the cue for Tony and I to get some grub. The "homebase" for Gravel Worlds is SchillingBridge Cork & Tap House. So, we ate there, which was a wise choice. My meal was awesome and I would highly recommend the place. Gravel Worlds had a special Radler-type beer brewed by SchillingBridge and I must admit, it was the best Radler I have ever had. 

Then after all that Tony and I retired to the Graduate Motel in downtown Lincoln, and we downloaded our stuff into our room for the weekend. Upon getting everything unloaded, Tony noted that my rear tire was soft! Oh no! But I pumped it back up and it seemed to be okay. Now this was the same tire that went soft Tuesday last week on me. Crap!  Just the thing you need to have on your mind before a big ride. Well, there was nothing to do about it late Friday evening but to forget it and try to get a good night's rest before the 4:00am wake up call. 

The night's sleep was "okay", interrupted as it was by loud children in a room across the hall and by fireworks later in the evening after a University of Nebraska baseball game. 4:00am came and Tony and I quickly went about getting dressed for the free breakfast the motel was providing. As we were munching down scrambled eggs, and perhaps the best bacon I've had, a young lady came over and asked about sitting with us. Of course, we obliged her and had a bit of small talk before begging our leave and going to our room to kit up and get down to getting down. A minor deal? I would think so, on the surface of it, but later on, this small, seemingly insignificant meeting would have a bigger impact upon me. 

Next: Gravel Worlds '19 Part 2

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