What a fun weekend. Charlie, Matt, and I decided sometime ago to head to Sioux Falls, SD and the the 3rd running of the Riddle Box 120k. It's dubbed as a winter race but riders can use any kind of bike. They have categories for fat and skinny tires. I opted for my fat bike (Salsa Beargrease) for training purposes while the other guys took cyclocross bikes.
The race started at 7:30 on Saturday morning. We did a neutral roll out to a creek crossing and gathered on the other side for the start. It started up a decent hill. I punched it a bit and got a sizable gap on the field. I knew there was no way I was going to hold this but found a solid pace and waited for others to join on . Soon Greg Gleason, Charlie, and Matt jumped on and we were off. We chatted, took turns pulling, while furthering ourselves from the chasers. During a crosswind section Charlie took a monster pull. Matt, who recently has been sick, fell off the back and it was down to 3. During a long tail wind section Charlie and I punched it hard (I as out of gears on my fat bike) putting a small gap on Greg. Even though it was in the mid 30's and I was dressed appropriately I was dripping sweat trying to keep the pace up. The fat bike was hauling but dang I was spinning! At the first check point (17.5 miles) Greg caught back up to us and we rolled on together.
The pace relaxed a bit and I was glad. Being on the fat bike I was struggling at times to match Charlie's efforts. We came upon our first B road (minimum maintenance). I knew the fat bike would shine here. It started out just fine. It was a bit sloppy but the tires floated and I was moving ahead of the other guys on the skinny tires. This wasn't too last! Soon the road got muddy and I knew I needed to get to the side and ride the grass. But just 10 feet was all it took and my bike seized up in mud...stupid, stupid mistake. I was pissed at myself but I'm also proud I didn't let it get to me. As I struggled to get my bike rolling again Greg and Charlie cruised past me. I caught back up a couple of times only to have my chain drop, chain suck, or the der. seize...that mud was crazy. At the end of the B road I cleaned my bike some more and took off for the chase.
I knew before the start that I most likely wouldn't be able to keep up with the skinny tires but I wanted to stick with them for as long as I could. I put in some hard efforts to catch back up to those guys. The course turned into a sea of rolling hills, very similar to Gravel Worlds. I would descend a hill as they were climbing the other giving the allusion I was gaining. Slowly, but surely they were distancing themselves from me. Finally they were out of sight. Again I was happy I didn't have any mental issues! I kept the pace as hard as I could and made my way to the second checkpoint at about mile 55.
From the checkpoint the course flattened out but took us into a headwind for long stretches. Having ridden in the wind a lot this fall/winter I just dealt with it and kept pedaling. Again no mental break downs!
While only 75 miles I was super stoked to see the finish line. The hills, wind, soft roads, and hard efforts had me tired!
I ended up 3rd overall and 1st Fat Bike. I scored one of the coolest trophies ever! Overall it was a top notch event. Food at the start, finish, and meal at awards. Tons so swag and all racers got a stocking cap too. Kudos to those that made this happen. I hope to make it back next year!
Thanks to all that made this event happen.
Because of the race I had an easier week of riding.
I'm not 100% sure but I think I netted something like 12 hours of riding.
I would like this coming week to be my biggest week of riding but the schedule isn't looking too good. Lots of school stuff going on. Go with the flow!