Monday, December 12, 2016

Riddle Box IV

Saturday was the 4th edition of the Riddle Box Winter Ultra in Sioux Falls, SD.  I, along with two friends (Charlie and Matt) headed down Friday to jump into our 2nd Riddle Box.  Last year the roads were snow and ice free with temperatures hovering around freezing.  This year the roads had some snow, with more through out the day, windy, and temperatures in the teens.

It's a bummer more people don't do this race as it's well run and they take great care of the the riders.  Start for the 75 mile ride was 8:00.  I think there were about 10 of us.  Everyone was on fat bikes (which I used last year) but we were on gravel/cross bikes.  The start was uneventful and causal.  About a mile in Charlie got a flat!  Getting a flat right away is always discouraging.  You're in a race ready to go and boom...stop.  The three of us stopped and helped get the flat changed.  We were able to regain the lead in about 5 miles.

The wind was to be a big factor for the entire race.  Rarely did we ride side by side and chat, but instead we took turns upfront cutting the wind.  We weren't red lining ourselves but we kept the pace pretty constant through the first loop.  The race was two different loops with a checkpoint in the middle at the start/finish.
For me the first loop went by fast.  We got to the checkpoint (35 or so miles in) topped off water and headed back out.



About 6 miles into the 2nd loop we jumped onto a paved road.  It was snowing well and the wind was sending the snow at us like knives.  It was a crosswind that pushed me a bit too far to the edge.  I caught the hidden lip between the pavement and gravel shoulder.  Bam...I was down fast and hard.  Usually when I hit the deck I jump up right away to let others know I'm fine and to brush off the embarrassment.  This time however I hit my chin and head.  It hurt.  I was a bit woozy so I laid there assessing myself until I felt moisture on my chest.  My hydration pack nozzle had cracked in the crash.  I was on all fours with water spilling out.  Charlie and Matt thought it was blood from there distance,  ha!
I managed to minimize how wet I got pretty well and determined I was good to continue on.  I did have a headache for about an hour but that went away and never returned.  I must have tweaked my right wrist somehow as that still is tender.

My jacket got some custom ventilation.

A few miles past my crash we were just about back into our groove (warmed back up) and Charlie got his second flat.  This flat was taken care of pretty quickly but not before our hands tuned to bricks.  The next few miles were pretty silent as we pushed it up the hills to get the blood pumping and feeling back in our fingers.
We knew it was coming but hoping it would be shorter than it was...the headwind section.  We tackled the wind for what seemed like an eternity...up and down the rollers at a slow, but solid clip.  Nearing the end of this section Charlie got his 3rd flat.  It was windy and we just wanted to be done.  We were now on to my supply of tubes.  We had issues with the valve freezing and the CO2 not working in the cold.  This one took more time that the others but we finally got it done.  We jumped back on the bikes and within the first pedal stroke Charlie said his front tire was flat too!  There was nothing to do but laugh.  That was a painful flat change but we got it done.  We were now out of tubes and CO2 canisters.  Easy does it!

About 15 miles left into the race, enjoying the head wind, Charlie's rear shifter stopped working.  He was stuck in the easiest gear in the back but was still able to use his front shifter.  I monkeyed with it some but it was determined it was too cold to mess around with this and we would just push on.

About 3 miles to the finish Charlie got his 5th flat!  We were out of tubes so he decided to hoof it in.  Matt and I made the last turn to the checkpoint and started up the grassy hill to the finish.  Jokingly we ran into each other trying to get to the finish first.  They gave it to both of us.


The Riddle Box Podium.

What a great event!  Bagels and fruit at the start, cheese and crackers at the finish, and later a meal!  All at a vineyard.  Put this on your radar.  Yes the racing was fun but the "guy" road trip was a hoot.

I was excited to see the snow when I got home.  I really wanted to go out and play on the fat bike but the wrist still hurt.  It gets better everyday so maybe tonight.  

Onto Monday.

3 comments:

Christopher Tassava said...

Hilarious! What a comedy of problems! What the hell kind of rims is Charlie running - ones with sharp rocks built in? This sounds like a fun race, though; I'm putting it on my list for next year!

M Skarp said...

2 guys on top step are beardless,coincidence ? I think not

mj haf said...

Boy, all those stops and you still won & more importantly, had a blast with friends! Nice! No headache anymore? Get checked for concussion if you do