Who'd a thunk? The start of the Ragnarok 105 would be colder than the Arrowhead 135 this year! It was about 18 degrees or so at the start this past Saturday in Red Wing, MN. The sun was out and predicted to get to the upper 30's, flirting with 40. Kind of hard to dress for. I was good with my choices overall. My hands, big surprise, were pretty cold for the first hour. Later in the race they would be too hot!
I worked to warm my hands during that first hour or so. Pulling my fingers in one glove at a time. Doing so somewhat renders that hand useless. The Ragnarok is a hilly course so having both hands on the bars to climb is helpful. During this time I missed a gap the lead group put on the rest of the field. My goal was to stay with the lead group as much as possible. I figured it was early and we'd join back up again. Nope!
It would have been a matter of time before I was popped off the back had I made the jump. I felt good on the flats but my legs felt dead on the hills...and yeah, there were a lot of hills.
I fell into a group of about 10 riders. That dropped to about 7 by the first checkpoint, 37 miles. We were joined by a few others as we took back off with new cue cards. Again the group would lose some riders and gain some. By the second checkpoint, 81 miles I think, we were about 6-7 strong. Some stopped to refuel while I and two others rode on. I wasn't looking to make a gap on the riders I just wanted to finish!
Shortly after the second checkpoint we hit "Heath's Hill", a minimum maintenance road (B road). It was a bit mushy and slick in spots. A week earlier and we would have been walking it. I'm running a 1x11, 42 up front with 11-36 in the back. I could have used easier on this hill. Shortly after this hill we were joined by another rider making us four strong...not for long. At mile 90 my legs threw in the towel. I eased up and rode my pace. Another rider and I'd been with most of the day had the same experience around mile 92. He and I had done a lot of the work up front earlier in the race and it was showing. We rode together most of the way to the finish. At the last climb of the day he rode away from me.
I ended up 13th with 6 hours 47 minutes, if my memory is correct, for 107 miles and almost 8000 feet of climbing. This was my first Ragnarok race. Well run in a gorgeous part of the state. Although it's pretty dang early in the year for me I hope to do it again. It's truly fun doing a race just to do a race and not have any "high" expectations.
Sunday my brother in-law and I headed out for a spin. However the wind had a different idea. It was no easy spin but more of a death march! Crazy gusts had us on high alert. The cross winds at times had me skipping sideways on the gravel! Nonetheless we got about 2.5 hours in, and still had fun!
It appears this week is going to finally be a decent weather week, starting Wednesday! I'm ready.