Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 this past Saturday. I’m trying to think of a theme name for the ride for a write up for the Woolly Blog. I’m leaning towards the Howl of the Mammoth right now.
There was a lot of excitement around the shop in the morning as the 100 milers were getting ready to go at 8:00. The 70 and 30 didn’t start until 9:00 so it was mostly just the crazies at that time. You can see from the pre-race briefing photo that there were something on the order of 40 people for the 100.
Next is my HR for the next 7.5 hours. You can follow the HR graph with the description to come. The weather was beautiful temps in the 70s, with mostly sunny skies… and a 20mph wind out of the south. The ride goes north for 50 miles and then… south for 50 miles. This will play a factor as well.
The roll out is about 12 miles of pavement headed north. We had a pack of probably 25+ just cruising at 20 mph. Then we hit the gravel and IT got real. The pack blew up in a hurry and I was working hard to find my place in the mayhem.
I ended up with a good group once we made it out of the worst of the sandy section including fellow Woolly Bike Club member Nate. We rode this group all the way until Granstburg for the first stop. We spent 2 or 3 minutes there refilling bottles and were back on the bikes.
We continued to ride HARD all through Crex Meadows. I was doing my share but I was hurting. Just before we hit the Gandy Dancer and started the southward slog, a group of 3 caught us and it got all punchy. A mile or two onto the Gandy and Nate and I both decided it was time to take it down a few gears and make our own way back.
The first stop was Siren at another Holiday gas station. 2/3 of a liter of Coke and a refill of water. Both Nate and I weren’t feeling too hot. Actually we were probably both cooked already. We sat for 5 or 10 minutes after everyone else left just to be sure we didn’t get stupid and try to hang with them again.
The roll from Siren to Luck was a real slog. We had ridden hard for 65 miles and now we were riding a false flat uphill into the 20mph wind on a mostly arrow straight rail trail. After averaging 18mph for the first 65 miles, we were now averaging 12.
At luck we stopped at Cafe Wren for a good sit and some coffee and sugar. @shufflingalong was riding the 70 mile course and we just happened to be there at the same time.
Nate and I finally decided to roll on and were rejuvenated plus we could smell the barn a mere 15 miles down the trail.
All in it was a great day. I knew from the time we hit the sand and gravel I was pushing too hard, but did it anyway. I kinda wanted to see what would happen. I’m signed up to ride 156 miles in a month so a little suffer fest was in order. Considering my long ride this year prior to this one was 50 miles I came out feeling pretty dang good. I was expecting more pain in the butt and aching quads. Yeah, my butt hurt and my legs weren’t happy, but I could have kept riding for sure.
Box Dog is, to many a dismay, primarily a steel shop. We’re trying something a little different here. Bringing in Salsa’s aluminum gravel racer. The Warbird boasts standard cross geometry but with a slightly lower BB so that it rides wonderfully on pavement too.
The frame is stiff and responsive, a real racer. The oversized aluminum tubing and carbon fork make for one of the lightest bikes we carry. The frame takes three waterbottles and works great with the frame bags we carry. It’s a serious mover. Built for long days of gravel. Still a great option for those curious about disc brake road bikes but with a bit more clearance.
It’ll be on the webstore soon but if you’re lucky enough to live nearby stop by the shop and take it for a spin!