Saturday, February 27, 2010

CIRREM - 100K Gravel Road Race = FUN

John and I ventured up to Cumming, IA for the 2nd Annual Cirrem. A 100K gravel road race. A great turnout for todays race with nearly 70 riders. Three locals headed up to compete: John Williams, Doug Long and ME.

Cumming Tap was the official start/finish of the event. Proceeds went to the Des Moines Bike Collective. Jed , Kent and crew did a great job of organizing the CIRREM.

Today was a good test to see if I am ready for this years Ouachita Challenge - my first big challenge of 2010. Today's CIRRUM is the same distance and has plenty of hills. The first 42 miles went very well for me. I was up front most of the day and even got away in a few breaks. I soon learned that it is not a good idea to breakaway with riders who do not know the course. After the third time of having to turnaround and rejoin the course, I learned to stay with someone who either had a map or knew the course. I quickly found the right guy to follow - the guy who designed the route....
Things went south just before the 45 mile mark. My bike stopped shifting due to the frozen mud accumulating on my down tube (and yes my bike has down tube cables routes). I was stuck in the 44 x 11 which is way too big of a gear to climb with. Especially with my knees. I stopped several times trying to fix the problem and beating some of the frozen ice off with my Crank Brothers multi-tool. After a few attempts I gave up and ran the big steep hills and then tried to ride. I was a little too fatigued to turn the gear effectively so I stopped again and used the limiting screw to at least get into the 15. The last 15 miles were all single speed. After awhile I got the hand of grinding up the climbs and my single speed skills started coming back to me. I slowly picked up some riders as I imagined I was a diesel engine and just chugged along at a low RPM.

Frozen mud build up was a problem for many during the day. One thing about frozen mud, it doesn'y come off very easily and can actually cause bodily harm if done incorrectly. I don't think my hand will ever be the same....

Big party after the ride.

John had a great ride and was right up there with the big boys during the first part of the ride. One too many boiled eggs before the start was his undoing :-)

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