Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Almanzo Gentlemen's Ride: HC version

I decided to join Team Four-Foot Meat Rope for the Almanzo Gentlemen's Ride. With the event commencing first thing Saturday morning, I had to leave very early Friday morning to get there on my bike.
Rolling out
4 AM roll-out from HC. Ron joined me. For Ron's sake, I did my best to keep a stiff upper lip in spite of sleep deprivation, heavy winds, and cold, driving rain. If I was on my own, I probably would have started crying and headed for home within 10 miles. But we pressed on and the weather (and my attitude) gradually improved.

We made shockingly good time to Northfield, where we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Ole Cafe. I love that place. As we approached Nerstrand, Ron picked up a nail in his tire.
Ron fixing a flat

Near Dodge Center, we encountered miles and miles of wind turbine installations:
Wind turbines

Finally, in our overnight town of Stewartville, we were greeted by this bustling adult entertainment facility. We decided to scrap the race and just look at porn all weekend.

Just kidding.

Almost 112 miles to Stewartville:
Day 1 mileage

The next morning, we rode 20 miles to Spring Valley for Almanzo. If you are not familiar with Almanzo, it's 100 miles of gravel, with lots of steep hills.
Almanzo hill climbing

A lot of people found the water crossing to be scary/invigorating:
Almanzo water crossing

In the end, Four-Foot Meat Rope finished the race, though not in any danger of being mistaken for a fast team. We all had a great time. The Almanzo route is one of the prettiest cycling routes I can imagine, but after 125 mostly gravel, hilly miles for the day, I was worn out. Believe it or not, I didn't want to ride uphill 20 miles in the dark and cold back to my hotel, so I caved to peer pressure and accepted a ride. I settled in that night feeling a little uncertain about riding alone back to Minneapolis.

The ride back was uneventful, and I took few pictures. Here's one of downtown West Concord.
West Concord, MN

After navigating the southern burbs under darkening skies, I rolled in around 8:30 PM feeling good, but tired. 351 miles in 3 days on my odometer.

9 comments:

TOMMY GUN said...

nice work, Jim. You're a beast!

Chris Skogen said...

A beast indeed! Great to have you down again, thanks a lot for coming!

Joshua said...

Way to go man. Thanks for being part of the team and the navigator. I had a great time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jim's either crazy or a beast, for now we will go with beast until I can prove otherwise :)

Jim, I feel bad after I thought about it, but I could have offered you a ride back to Hiawatha, Ron and I were going there anyways, and you guys had the bikes loaded so they fit fine in my truck. It kinda seemed like you wanted to ride back, but I think I was too tired to realize I could have just asked you if you wanted a ride back home, so I apologize for that.

A great route indeed, the best I have ridden.

Jim(HC) and Chris Skogen are definitely two of the class acts in cycling.

Mark W.

Boones Farm said...

Congratulations and from the previous comments, I think you have a new name: 'The Beast'.

I wish I could have joined you.

Apertome said...

Incredible! Very nicely done ... that's a lot of miles.

rigtenzin said...

Nice report, Beast.

wjcstp said...

Great job on the ride, it was a pleasure to be part of the team.

Anonymous said...

Jim - that is a nice mileage tally for the 3 days. What was your average speed?

David
New Hope (I rode a group ride with you last year)