It's coming up on a week since the 1st running of The Heck of The North Gravel Road Classic.
I've run through that GREAT September 26Th day many times in my head since then, and it played out the same way every time.
Me being very very slow compared to everyone else.
As we pulled into the parking lot early Sat. morning, I thought.............. cool, look at all the like minded people i get to hang out with today!! As I was getting my trusty bike off the back of the truck, and (while Cindi was tending to the kids), I started looking around at what other people were riding.......... hmmm maybe the guys riding the full suspension bikes aren't here yet??
well..... I kept waiting, and I'd still be there waiting if JK didn't say it's time to line up for the start. LOL
While we all were listening to JK give us our final race directions, before the start, a fellow rider came by me and said.... "Dude, your doing this race on a full suspension bike?? That's soooo cool!!!" Right then and there I knew it would be a long day for this guy. Splendid Isolation
I thought no problem, I just wanted to make the 5 hour cut-off to the halfway point, 54 and some odd miles away, and after that, the rest of the race was gravy to me!!
So we start...........damn these guys and gals are starting fast..... OK i can do this....... faster and faster they went. I see some dirt ahead, OK here we go.............. a couple corners and the fastest group is gone, I mean like gone in............ i didn't see them again that day gone!!
Now, i know I'm not the fastest rider out there, but i didn't think I'd be the slowest, well on this day i WAS the slowest rider by FAR!!
which I was really OK with, i settled into a good pedal and turned on the ipod, and Warren Zevon and I had a great 1st half ride together!! Splendid Isolation
I passed a nice couple as they were eating some food around the 15-20 mile mark. I would see these two all day, but they blew by me on the Fox Farm Rd. (Splendid Isolation) on the 2ND 1/2, and I never saw them again after that.
I also passed 3 really cool guys from down south somewhere, (sorry i forgot boys), this will be a recurring theme with these boys all day??!! lol
I pass these guys, and after some time (i think the longest was 2 hours), they'd pass me again.
I kept saying to myself, SELF..... no stopping til you hit the 1/2 way spot. Which i did fairly well with, but i had to really pee with about 3 miles to go before the 1/2 and i couldn't pee off the bike like I've done in past races, the rumble strips in the dirt roads were very unforgiving, and i was really happy i had my full suspension mountain bike!! so i stopped and did my business and continued on to the 1/2 way. i made it in 4 hrs and 40 min. i was very happy about that!!! It was very nice to see my family there waiting for me, you don't know how good that feels seeing the ones you love cheering you on!!! very very cool!!
So i spend 30-40 minutes at the halfway point. I refill my water bladder and my grab some Gatorade, along with the rest of my GU packs, and the 2ND 1/2 race notes, and head out.
2 hours go by and i see no one yet again...............Splendid Isolation!!!
I just have to say, this is how i ride.......... by myself, and I'm ok with that!!
actually it's was kind of nice to be taking the truly "EPIC" ride in all by myself.
The hardest part of this race for me was the Fox Farm Rd. to the Pequaywan Rd. this 9 1/2 miles killed me. it was total Unsplendid Isolation!!!!
Here's where Mr. Zevon and myself parted ways!!! Sorry Warren I said, but you are going bye bye!!
I walked the whole Moose Mile, (which was a welcome break), and this is where 2 of the 3 boys passed me. Way to go fellows!!!
I jumped back on my trusty stead and pedaled the two-track onward.
After the two-track the two fellows that had passed me were resting again. I said I'm moving on and see you guys in about 45 minutes, they laughed and said yeah yeah. lol
The next part of this race that did me in was the 7 Bridges Rd...... wow, wow, and wow!!! i rode the whole thing, but it was a struggle.
I knew i had one last climb at the end of Medin Rd. to Jean Duluth Rd. and i had to walk my trusty stead to the top. As i was pushing my bike up this hill......the race director drove by and asked if i was OK?? Yes, Mr. Kershaw i'm fine!!!! lol
10 hrs and 34 minutes after i started................ i finished!!!
I felt great, legs were good, knees were sore for about two days, but it was well, well worth it!!!
I will soon be building my very first Surly Pugsley for winter riding and beyond, after i do that, I'll be looking for that perfect bike to ride in the 2nd running of The Heck of The North!!!
Looking very forward to besting my 2009 time!!
Thank you Jeremy Kershaw for a most fun time!!!!