|Other than my All-City "Fast is Forever" glass, this is my favorite!|
This winter I hadn't planned on doing the Gravel Metric. After Almanzo, the idea was to log on long road rides and also work on obtaining speed faster than a sloth. The problem was I had so much fun at both Dairy Roubaix and Almanzo this year that it pained me to say "goodbye" to gravel until fall. Have I become a glutton for punishment? Have I become one of those gravel junkies? Maybe yes on both accounts. Although there is a bit of discomfort in these events, and god knows I'm not fast, there is also a much larger reward for riding them than many of the paved road events. First, I love the idea of being unsupported, second, I really love the fact no matter how slow or fast you are, you are welcomed with smiles at the end, third I think it's really cool I never know what to expect on course, and I find myself constantly improving on my weaknesses.
|About a third of the riders lining up to start|
Today marked my first "real ride" in Illinois. Yeah, sure, I've ridden on the Jane Adams path south of the WI border, but I've never done a real ride there. I have to admit I probably wouldn't have even done this ride if it weren't for meeting some really nice guys from the area at both the Dairy Roubaix and Almanzo this year. Both guys, Mike and Stu, along with one of our cycling reps, Brendan made me feel completely at home.
At the line up for the start, I was so happy to see so many people--including some of my friends from Madison and Milwaukee. I later learned there were 360 riders, and with their donations to Axeltree--the folks who put the event on--bicycle advocacy for the area is now that much stronger.
|Spinning with the wind turbines|
As with any event I do, I realized what I need to work on. I will be back next year, hopefully with better handling skills and better endurance for the flats. Thank you North Central Cyclery and Axeltree for a fabulous summer day!
|This whole gravel dust cleansing is becoming routine|