We had 12 show up for the ride: Barbie Miller, Larry Thomas, Barry Meitler, Don Daly, Mike Jacobs, Stoney Cranmer, Tim Riekena, Mark Jenkins, Stan Saunders, Brent Kline, Dan Venner, and Mitch Bernskoetter. Of course Doug Long was a rider also as he had completed the course a week or so early since he was in Louisville, KY at the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships.
Jan Pyrtle was our SAG and I am so grateful he was willing to help out, his services were needed several times through out the day. Thanks again Jan, I really appreciate you helping out!!!
The weather originally called for mid 40's for the high but ended up being backed down to mid 30's, I had hoped this would keep most of the course solid but as it turned out it did not. We started off riding North and Northwest to Gilman City, we fought our way into a cross/headwind, from there we were on our way to Coffey and our trek heading West was all but straight into the wind. It wasn't the worst wind but of course it wears on you. The roads were a mix of snow, snow/ice, and bare gravel roads for the early part of the route. As the temps increased we went from the same conditions to slush/ice, slush, and mud.
After Coffey we took the scenic route to Jameson, the dirt (I mean mud) road heading into Jameson was brutal and totally locked up my front wheel. I knew the road had the potential to be a mess but didn't realize it was going to be that bad. Below is a pic after the ride of my muddy, icy fork and it was actually cleaner here than at many points.
From Jameson we went along the route to Gallatin and this is where some of the leg burners came into play, there was quite a bit of elevation gain here and a couple hills that would really get your attention...actually they kinda hurt. After climbing hill after hill we finally made our way to blacktop and had a nice downhill but you guessed it, then we got to climb our way back up to Gallatin.
From Gallatin we took paved roads for a couple miles and then back to gravel for the last leg of the course. This climbing was more subtle along this section until the last big climb just before the gravel turned into paved road again, this hill was brutal (especially being at roughly mile 60). Then nice paved road the rest of the way into Jamesport, it was still 2-3 miles and I know my legs were feeling the days efforts.
As most of these rides do the riders split into groups, I spent the day riding with Mike Jacobs and Stoney "Tough As Nails" Cranmer. Stoney and I used to chase each other around the track in high school so it's pretty cool that we can chase each other around on bikes as adults (when I say we are chasing each other I mean I am chasing him!).
Thanks to all the riders that came out to participate in our annual ride and congratulations to the 5 that finished the course. It was a tough day out there and a tough course, especially under those conditions. My bike was so heavy afterwards as I'm sure everyones bike was. I picked up a post ride treat at one of the local bakeries, it really hit the spot when I got home!
I hope that everyone that was there this year and many more will join us again next year for Chucky's Challenge!