Saturday was the 5th, and last, running of the Inspiration 100 near Alexandria, MN. The race is put on by two solid guys that have become my friends over the years. I was super stoked I was able to partake in the events last year.
The weather was perfect! Cool, almost cold, at the start. It warmed up to 70 or so with sunny skies and a slight NW wind. Even the gravel seemed to be on board with giving us it's best! Many times the gravel has been loose, deep, with few good lines...but this time it was pretty dang solid most of the race.
The race started pretty chill with a few hard efforts but nothing to really break up the field. I'm guessing around mile 10-15 Nick Vetter put in a huge effort the strung the field out quickly. The pace did slow some, letting a few get back on. The hills started to come more regularly and that helped to thin the herd. For sometime we had a group of about 10 riders.
A small attack off the front that Ted and I did was quickly squashed...like in seconds! Nearing mile 55 or so Nick and Ted got off the front. Charlie and I let them go not wanting to drag other riders up to Ted if we were to try and bridge the gap. Another rider went off to get them and we let him go too. When Adam Bergman went we knew we needed to try and cover that. Not easy!!
We chased for a long time. It seemed the distance between us was closing some but it's hard to tell with hills. It appeared they took a wrong turn going through Clitherall so the gap was even smaller...so close but so hard to fully close!
I was getting pretty damn gassed chasing these strong dudes. One of the lead riders fell off and we caught him but he eventually would fall off from us too. I assumed they were gone but we eventually ran into Ted and Adam soft pedaling with Nick off the front. Ted was hoping we could help him chase Nick down. I tried but I was worthless at this point. Couple that with the head games that started for me and I was slowly letting them ride away. I'd catch back on but again they would put a gap on me. I was frustrated and somewhat threw in the towel after going through the MMR, minimum maintenance road. Pedaling at my own pace for 5 or so miles rejuvenated me. I started to get pissed I didn't just fight through the leg pain and head games. I picked up the pace. I could see them off in the distance giving me hope I may catch them. Ha!
I had lots of thoughts going through my head, as most racers do. I wondered if not eating meat was causing me issues, maybe I ride too much, maybe this or that, and on and on...
They did catch Nick and Ted took the win! Nick was 2nd, Charlie 3rd, and Adam in 4th. I came in a couple or so minutes later in 5th. I was bummed I didn't fight it out but also stoked I was able to be near such strong dudes. The last running of the Inspiration 100 didn't disappoint! It will be missed next early September for sure.
Thanks Derek and Scott for the memories.