Another great weekend in the books at the Dakota-Five-O in Spearfish S.D. I rolled out of town in the space capsule Sprinter van courtesy of Midwest Cycling Community, with Mark, Anne, Rox and a few other folks. We arrived Friday evening greeted by WarAxeSam, and some of the Lincoln crew. The gathering was just beginning however, as people trickled in most the night giving the Omaha/Lincoln Wrecking crew over 20 members.
The following day found us waking early for a ride into Common Grounds for some espresso, and their tasty bagel sandies with egg and bacon. Shortly after that we donned our spandex racing suits and piled back into the sprinter vans with race map in hand headed for singletrack and a little pre-race ride. I was completly over-geared for the ride with a 36:17, straining up hills and pedaling out of the saddle.
Following the ride Sam helped me out by putting on the big boy 22 tooth freewheel,(which seemed ridiculous to put that big of a freewheel on), but these were freaking huge hills. They call these sections hike a bike, I thought going into the race that these would be no big deal and I could just grit my teeth and power up em. But that was clearly wishful thinking as the pre ride proved.
The race began Sunday morning around 7:30, I had a nice frontline start with the rest of the crew, initially the stomach was in splish-splash mode causing me to get a slower start than I had wanted in the gravel grind to the singletrack. I entered the dirt with the second group from the lead then found myself with MOD, Nate and Jesse as we steamrolled through and started to reel in riders left and right. The course was sneaky technical at times with a few creek crossings and descents that made my bones rattle. I stayed with Nate and Jesse up until the second checkpoint, when my biggest fear going into the race had begun to creep up on me,how the body would handle riding rigid?
My hands now had blisters popping up beneath the knuckles and on my palms, my grip was suddenly not as strong causing me to ride differently and cautiously for the next 10 or 12 miles. It also killed the rhythm I had been in, resulting in getting passed instead of the once great feeling I felt of passing others. After stretching and relaxing the muscles in my hands while pushing the Surly up those hike-a-bike sections, My hands seemed to rejuvenate enough to ride more aggressive and try to pull in those pesky riders now ahead of me.
After The grueling climb up to HoboCamp at mile 38 I began to pick things back, through sections of red clay, and back down to the final section of singletrack where I passed up one... then another and another. Suddenly the dirt spewed back onto gravel and I knew the race was just about complete. I rolled in with a time of 4:38, good enough for a ninth place finish in the singlespeed category.
Could I have gone faster? yeah I think so.
Does it really matter? Nah
Was it fun? Oh yeah
I had a great time, riding with the crew and meeting other folks who enjoy much of the same things, like getting hopped up on coffee, camping with large fires, gorging on food and racing bikes.
photos ripped from MOD