I am starting to see why Dicky tends to re-hash his events. I find that I have a lot of things bouncing around in my head during and after a ride/race. I start blogging with more detail and at some point I hurry up and finish writing with out saying a lot of things that I was thinking. I know it really does not make any difference as this is just a bunch of words I spew out in to the interweb for whom ever takes the time to read. But, it is not fully what is in my mind. I guess it explains why I am not a writer.
So, I will say a few more random bits about my experience at the Gravel Grovel this year. First off I want to take Mike Sharp for taking the time and effort to put on this event so all of us nut jobs have a reason to ride off some of that turkey. I also want to say thanks to all of the volunteers that spent their day out in the cold trying to help out the riders as much as they could. I did not use the rest stops as much as some others, but they were very friendly and helpful when I did stop.
The night before I checked the web for the weather. It was supposed to be 28 degrees at 9:00, but when I pulled in to the lot, my car showed 38 degrees. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it sure was nice to see that it was 10 degrees warmer then I thought it was going to be. I know I was not alone in the tossing and turning about in my head as to what to wear. I didn’t want to be too cold and I didn’t want to put a lot of stuff on that I had to carry at some point. I observed what some others were riding around in and made a decision. I ended up putting on a little less then I figured I would, but overall it worked out. There were some times that I was cool, some times that I was hot and some times that I was just damn cold.
I could not feel my toes for at least a 1/2 hour after the ride. They were not numb the whole day, but the down hills were frigid and everything would get cold. I don’t know what I would have done different on my clothing decision to make the day any better. I do wish that I had some winter shoes to wear, but since I don’t it really was not an option.
Since the SS class started last and I was probably the slowest SS rider out there, I spent a lot of time by myself. It was nice to see little carrots up ahead and reel them in, but normally they didn’t stay with me long enough to make a difference. It was just good to know I was still on the right course. It was also cool to have the out and back at the start so I could see the whole pack heading back the other way. Later in the day I started to see some familiar faces as we would yo-yo back and fork and keep passing each other.
I did have one corner where I was not sure where to go. I should have known to just follow the wood sign, but the paint on the road was pointing the other way. All of the other sections that had paint pointing in the correct direction. I think the paint was from the breakdown. I sure was glad that someone came along and told me to go right. I was looking at the map and it looked like I needed to go left. Go figure, me getting lost in Hickory. Humm… seems to be a pattern there. My goal is to spend more time there so maybe I will have a clue as to where I am, but that might not be good either.
Doing some looking at what other people put down, it seems there is a discrepancy on how far or how much climbing was out there. I don’t really know who is correct, I can just put down what my computer says. It was not real expensive and I can’t print out a bunch of maps and graphs, but it is all that I have.
I hope that one of these times I will be able to finish in time to see the awards ceremony. I better get to training now for that to happen. I made my stop at the Story Inn bar for a beverage and something to eat. The beer was good as usual, but the burger was just ok this time. There was nothing wrong with it, but last years burger was one of the best that I have had. I was looking forward to having another. Maybe I was just not as far in to the tank as last year. I might have ate a piece of cardboard and thought it was a steak, hard to tell. If I would have to guess, I think this race is one of the busiest times the bar has every year. The look on the locals faces said is all. At least I didn’t head in to the bar with everyone one their way home already.
Here is a little video someone did if you are interested in getting a feel for the ride.