1200 Miles & a Cup O' Dirt & a little Mississippi Mud!

Take the year long challenge of completing a dozen or half a dozen dirty centuries and join the fun in December! Everybody who completes this challenge will be rewarded with a custom hand-made stoneware mug as well as be in a drawing for other prizes. Read the FAQ for details, and welcome to the fun!

I've increased the fun to give some more folks a shot at the cup - a bit 'watered down' - We'll have the 1200 Mile Cup O' Dirt and a 600 Mile Cup O' Mississippi Mud and new in 2008 is the 1/2 Liter O' Dirt - earned by completing 12 metric centuries in the year! A special award will be presented to anyone completing either a dirty century or metric century in each month of the year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Our first, our only, our own Cup O'Dirt recipient Steve GPickle Goetzelman! His story here: Enjoy his tenacity, discipline, courage and determination. Congratulations!

The Pics
The report:

I rode my last century of the year yesterday. I promise. It was a nice bookend to the season of centuries. The first gravel century for me was at the Dirty Kanza where three of us kicked one out in six hours. We were flying. Yesterday I was alone and I was not flying. We had gotten six inches of snow the day before and the paved roads were sloppy. The gravel roads were not gravel , they were snow and ice. I bet I did not ride even five miles of dirt. Maybe not even one.
I left early in the morning and the temperature was twenty-something. I had no plan on where to ride and first turned north. The roads in town were in terrible shape and the cemetery I rode through had not been plowed at all. Slow going. Conditions improved on the edge of town and I was making good time. The first gravel road was hard pack snow and some ice. It was surprisingly fast. I took a nice loop up near Solon again and then went out East for some exploring.
I got off track and wound up on the pavement of one of our regular road training rides near the Cedar River. I followed the road a bit and found gravel again, about 30 miles into the ride now. This road was a mess. It looked as if it had only seen tractor traffic and it was soft and drifted. I had switched my gear on the Bridgestone to 34X17 anticipating some slow sections and was able to keep moving, but just barely at times. The first climb had my computer telling me 4.5 mph! I was happy that I was able to stay on the bike but I started to worry about being able to go the distance on this day.
Eventually the road improved and I rolled into West Branch for the usual break with just over 40 miles done. Some loud mouth asked me if I had wrecked much today. Nope, I said, lots of slipping and sliding but no carnage. He laughed and walked off to his warm truck. I rode away and just two miles later biffed it. Crud. I turned South and again the road was in bad shape. Better than the tractor road but soft snow and many drifts. Plodded along, had to clear the road to let a road grater by and in its wake I found decent road surface but still not fast.
I was trying to avoid all B roads, which led me to some silly route making between West Branch and Lone Tree. I tried to go to Hills but many roads only connect with a B section or (even worse) pavement so I weaved around and doubled back on myself and got no closer to any stores of convenience but I did finally get that dratted computer to tell me I had ridden 60 miles. I started to believe I could make it then. I was some miles Northeast of Lone Tree and decided to take one more trip over the tri-county bridge and then head for home.
The road to the bridge was sketchy, lots of parallel grooves in the hard pack snow and slick, too. It kept me paying attention and I almost crashed a couple of times but it was fast. I crossed the bridge and into another world, the worst road I had encountered so far. Deep snow and just a couple of truck tire tracks. This road has a few curves and it was really hard to keep the bike from sliding sideways. It kicked around a lot, my speed was slow and I had to stop a few times to switch tracks, get out of snow banks, pick myself up after crashing and such. I was thinking this section to Riverside might never get better and would take me an hour. Not to worry, the next turn found me on another road and it was in better shape.
The bank clock in Riverside told me it was a balmy 25 degrees. Took a short break and watched an old man in an old car miss his turn completely and ram his boat into a snowdrift with a telephone pole sticking out of the middle. Not to worry, he took a moment to think and then floored the accelerator. As I rolled out of town his tires were still spinning like mad on the wet pavement, going to push through that snow and mow down that telephone pole I suppose. Scary…
The roads between Riverside and Hills were in good shape and for once I did not need to wend around all over to get mileage so I bee lined it. Hit the pavement over to Sand Road and turned for home. I saw a group of three jolly men on mountain bikes roll out of a B road and we had a wave, they looked like they were having much more fun than me. I turned off on gravel and rode gravel into town. 104.97 miles covered! I have
ridden further in colder temps but always on pavement. That was a tough ride.
There you have it, twelve gravel centuries in 2007. I rode two in one day in May at the Dirty Kanza, one in August, three in September, one of them on my single speed townie, four in November and two in December on my Bridgestone single speed.
I am glad it is done and I am glad to have stuck it out. I look forward to taking that computer off my bike and putting it back in the box it usually lives in. I am looking forward to more “fluid” rides that don’t take all day. I am looking forward to getting my dirt cup. I hope it doesn’t really have dirt in it, I would really just like a cup of coffee.

As Dave the cup creator would say, Peace!


We're all waiting and wondering?

The rest of you? It's not too late to log a last minute century - or tell me about your quiet quest for the Cup O' Dirt - you've got until midnight, December 31 to nail that hundy!

Friday, December 28, 2007

GPickle Nears The Dozen Mark!

Left the house Wednesday morning, Dec 26th, at 7:15. Two more gravel centuries required for the and just a week left to get them. It has been snowing a lot and in general just being cold and wintry. The skiing is great. And warm. I like it. As I was backing my bike off the porch I biffed it on a sheet of ice that used to be our front step. Swore, threw my bike, etc. Wondered why I was doing this and so on.
I rolled out and headed North. It was about 20 or 25 degrees. Hit the gravel and rode up Solon way before turning East. It was cold and the roads were actually in fairly good shape as long as you avoided the glare ice sections. After 18 miles or so I rode onto such a section while traveling down a hill and attempting to stop. I crashed.
Continued on and enjoyed the beautiful morning, moon still hanging in the sky to the West and a beautiful sunrise to the East. Turned South and went to West Branch for a quick Casey’s stop. I continued South towards Lone Tree with my usual swerve through Downey. Lots of aggressive doggies today, one bit my rear fender and I had to kick another one in the face to get it to back off. I feel bad about that. Many dogs that gave chase crashed when they left their snowy yards and hit the icy roads. Tee-hee. There was much beautiful snow! Pretty drifts and in some places it was piled up higher than me on both sides of the road. Stopped in Lone Tree for a water refill and bag of chips.
The sun was working hard now and my previously frozen and fast roads were thawing out and getting quite sloppy and slow. I had installed full fenders the day before so I was well protected but I had put them on my single speeder which was now feeling over geared at 34X16. Went down to the tri-county bridge and headed to Riverside. The B roads I passed were either completely untouched or had seen only snowmobile traffic so I chose to avoid them as the mission for today was mileage. Arrived in Riverside after 70 miles and took my last break. The bank clock told me it was 35 degrees.
Back on the road I went West again and North almost to Iowa City before looping back down to Hills. Saw Jean Gilpin of Team Skin fame there and she asked if I was getting my last gravel century, sadly I had to answer no. Always nice to see a friendly face!
I was pretty tired but kept it moving pretty well for the last miles. Had to ride a bit out of my way to avoid B roads and still be sure of getting the 80 miles on dirt, which I did.

Got home with 103.91 miles ridden, just over 80 on gravel, snow, ice, slush, muck, etc. Some of it got stuck on my feet and lower legs. To all who poo-poo fenders I can say that otherwise I was clean and dry and warm. Fenders work. A front mud flap should improve things, I hope to attach one before my next (and last!) ride.

Hundred, hundred, hundred more miles to go, I want to feel elated.
Photos: Click Here


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Yer Riding For!

Cup No. 1

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mad Maxwell Quietly Earns His Cup!

Matt Maxwell, a wrench from Ames, has been steadfastly working all year towards something he didn't even know existed! Alas! He has quietly earned his own Cup O' Mississippi Mud! 7. Count em -7! Just like Lance! 7!

Matt is a glutton for long distance pain - I mean challenges. He is one of the only finishers of the cold and gruelling Arrowhead Ultra (www.arrowheadultra.com). 135 mile bike, ski or running (?) race through waaayyyyy northern Minnesota in the middle of the freakn' winter. Yep. winter. February. Groundhogs day to be exact. 2007? 10 finishers out of 46 starters. He did it in 2006. Finished 7th out of 16 finishers. Crazy. I checked. He signed up again. geez!

This year, Matt earned his miles in the Trans-Iowa race and in the training leading up to it. He didn't finish the TI-V3, but had 4 dirty centuries to his name by the time he went home from Decorah in late April. He added 3 more, most of em gravel hundys, over the summer for a total of 7.

Matt, welcome, unwittingly, to the cup chase!

Now, reguarding slugs like me. Seems that I've but one chance... and that is the week between Christmas and New Years. Work? What's that? I still need 2, and could throw a "Hail Mary". Such a throw would most likely be an overnight trip as far south as possible, nail a dirty one, sleep, nail a 'nuther, then head home. Beyond that - a couple of 55 degree days after Christmas would be a gift... maybe an excuse to break in the new X bike!

Stay tuned! Remember - we all have until midnight on December 31 to log that last mile.... So, Cully - GPickle - Let's go!

Peace - Dave

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lax Logger...but not chasers!

Well, I've been lax in logging both miles and updates! There certainly has been some action in my abscence, however - with Paul Jacobson completing one more dirty ride for his official Cup O' Mississippi Mud! Congratulations Paul! No slacking there, lemme tell you!

All the while our little friend in Iowa City has been clicking away the miles! He's collected FOUR since our last update - for a total of 10! 10 down - that's a thousand miles of dirt, folks! He currently leads all cup chasers and at this point, appears to be the only one in the state... nation...WORLD to have a true shot at the full Cup! Read about his latest rides below!

Meanwhile, a High Hamstring Tendonopathy has kept me from running and from any hope of some really long rides in the near future. I am hopeful that the ingredients of recovery, time and weather will come together to allow me to earn the Mud - but we shall see - 35 days left - we shall see!

From Steve Goetzelman:
I am fortunate enough to get a week off work for the celebration of our ancestral continental thievery. I decided to use two days of my break to roll out two more gravel centuries for the dirt cup and just to keep it "real" I did them back to back.
Monday morning I met Brian at College Green Park for the 9th gravel century. It was very foggy and around 40 degrees. We rolled out at 8 and went to the Northeast for starters. I really like the gravel roads up that way and the moisture of the last couple of days had made the gravel and B roads very user friendly. The fog was projected to break at 9 and that was a lie. We got good and wet as the beads of water soaked into us.

Near Solon we turned to the East and went North of Cedar Bluff and past Buchanan to cross the Cedar River and head into West Branch for Casey’s. Nice conversation and no views. We had some tasty vittles and went back for more, around halfway done. Brian was feeling tired as most of his training lately has been townie riding to school and back so he turned into Iowa City and I kept going alone. Again. Sniff…
Finally, as my on-bike computer told me I had ridden 68.1 miles, the sun came out! I was well on my way to the wilds found Southeast of Lone Tree at this point and the accursed mass of incandescent gas had me sweating and gulping all my water in short order. I removed a layer or two and soldiered on to my intended turnaround where I was able to let the wind push me back to Lone Tree and a store of convenience. A quick fill of the bottles and the last leg back to Iowa City was a breeze. 101.3 miles ridden, 85 of them on gravel. I felt quite spry!

Tuesday morning I found myself in a large pickup truck heading through another helping of dense fog out to Parnell. Eppen and the Thrillah are building a house out there and they gave me a ride out so I could hit some new roads. The house is surrounded by B roads and after a quick look around the job I was off, wondering what I had gotten myself into. The fog was thick, the wind in my face and my legs were already feeling the previous days ride. I figured they would settle in.
I had a vague plan of action that would lead me to What Cheer, appropriately. The roads were hilly and deserted. I did not see a car until I had ridden 32 miles! I missed What Cheer and set about to the Southeast with no map and no idea where any towns might be found. The fog stayed thick and I hit some awesome B roads. At some point I happened upon Webster which has no Casey’s but did have a sign that informed me that Wellman was 8 miles away by Hwy 22. I was low on water, food and morale at that point so I found a nice gravel road to parallel the highway and rolled it in. Casey’s found, and only 62 miles into the ride! The grumpy staff could not sink my soaring spirits and I left filled with hope and pizza. The gravel to Riverside was a treat and I found myself on some of the roads I had ridden back on the single speed century, the first familiar ground of the day.

I took a pass on the Kalona 4-wheeler trails that have eaten so many derailleurs and quickly found Riverside, just where I had last left it. Finally got some tailwind as I turned north. One mile from town, about 85 miles done, disaster struck. Flat tire! I had a good cry and changed it, my first flat on one of these dirt cup rides. Back on my way and at the crest of the first hill I could see that the sky ahead was a large dark cloud. At the top of the next roller I entered the fog again and the temp dropped significantly and what do you know, the wind switched to the north! Yeah! It sucked, actually. My legs were pretty spent at this point and this change of fortune did not please me.

I rode through Hills and out to the gravel East of there to finish up the 6 miles of rockin’ I needed. The late start and flat tire delay were coming to play here as the daylight started to fade in the foggy gloom. I only had one small light with me so I strapped it to the drop of my bar hoping it could be seen from ahead and behind. I got into Iowa City just before 5 and there was a bit of rain coming down now. The good motoring commuters cared little for my plight and it was a nerve wracking trip across town but in the end I got a hot shower and had a beer. 104.5 miles and 81 on gravel and I was plenty tired but happy to have my goal accomplished.
Ten down, just two to go!

Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/7538232@N08

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Lurker Emerges From The Shadows!

Paul Jacobson (http://happytraining.blogspot.com) has been working all year for the Cup - and with some very impressive rides! - The dude loves gravel! What's not to love? We live in Iowa!!! - anyway - on to Paul...

In his training for Trans-Iowa V-IV (that is confusing... 'Version Four') he hit a 107 miler - for his first log towards said Cup. He also put a 94 miler in - ooooo soo close - let's have a vote - to count or not to count? You decide! Vote with a comment - your vote will be public, so Paul and his 'thug' friends will see just how we all voted. As keeper of the Cup - I will refrain from voting, except in the case of a tie. Vote by 10/31/07. Editors note: This voting thing was MY idea!!! Paul had nothing to do with it - didn't ask for it - In the spirit of Leadville - where it is always up to the finishers to allow a 12:01 (or close to it) finisher the honor of the buckle, and last ass over the pass - this was my idea to allow a 'so close I could taste it' ride into the cup chase - so - you decide!

Next - 200 miles at the Trans Iowa - impressive. And finally - 200 miles of Dirty Kanza. I call that 5 (rules stated that you can do them in quick succession)

So - Paul - welcome to the chase! The rest of you - sound off!

Peace and happy riding (and when - oh when - will this rain stop??!!?) - Kercove - you laughing? Hey - it's snowing in Colorado!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mike Johnston Hits 'Pay Dirt'!

Mike got some of his friends - LT 100 partner John Adamson, Kat - I'm always ready for a hard workout Porter, and Jeff the grips pimp Kerkove to join him for his 6th dirty hundy. Our fast and friendly 100 miles of gravel took us south to Dike, Reinbeck and Trear. The best part of the ride was on Ridge Road - which snakes along the ridges west of Trear with great views to the north and south.
On the way home we dropped Jeff off at his place and wished him well with his Ergon adventure in Ft. Collins. Jeff has been a real asset to our biking community. Kathleen had an excellent ride - her 5th gravel ride. Her comment was "it sure makes you appreciate the pavement." John got his 7th dirty 100 and declared that Mr. Pickle is the man. Mike enjoyed the ride, training, company and considered the ride as the start of his preparation for the LT 100 in 2008. Ride on, Mike. He didn't enjoy the last 15 miles of the day when he rode in the pouring rain.

Editors Note: Congratulations on joining a very elite crowd, Mike! You, Big Johny and GPickle are so far the only ones to have earned the coveted 'Cup O' Dirt' - a bit muddy, mind you, but a Cup, none-the-less! Cully? BenG? what're you two up to? Come on, let's go! It is high time that I got my sorry rear off my chair and onto my saddle for a couple more hundys to join you in a toast to dirt! - Dave

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Second Cup Awarded!

2 weeks - 200 miles - lots and lots of good ol' Iowa gravel!

GPickle earned his Cup O' Mississippi Mud on Saturday the 29th of September - on a beautiful sunny early Autumn day, when most folks were watching the Hawkeyes loose thier 3rd game of the year, or drinking themselves silly - GPickle was out on the gravel roads west of Iowa City - pedaling his way to the infamous Cup O' Dirt! Below is his story and a photo of his steed - single speed steed! Impressive!

"Yesterday (Sept. 29th) I rode another 100 miles, my sixth gravel century of the year! In order to keep things interesting I rode my single speed townie.

This is my Fuji Del Rey 1 SPEED. I got it at the bike library of course. The fork is not original equipment, it was purchased years ago in an attempt to turn my Bob Jackson into a cross bike. After the failure of that project it did nothing until last fall when I built up this bike. For the ride I swapped the pedals and the front wheel and added the computer. The rear tire is very old, it was also purchased for the aforementioned Bob Jackson cross experiment. I have long been anticipating its death and was hoping this ride would finally do it in so I brought along a spare tire which was not needed. I really hate that tire.

I left early yesterday and it was still cool and not yet windy. I rolled far to the east and south through the greater metro areas of Downey, West Liberty, Nichols and Conesville before heading back west. I passed by Lone Tree and finally took a stop in Riverside. I love Caseys! Back on the road then and I kept going south and west (strong wind out of the south now) and somewhere out past Kalona I was able to turn back towards home and enjoy the tailwind. I loved the single, my gear was 40X18 and at times I was wishing I had the 42 on but overall it worked well for me. Total mileage was 101 and some change with 84 on gravel. I took a photo of the computer total but it has gone missing. I can still get one and maybe I will.

I am enjoying the 1200 mile challenge very much. I have ridden lots of roads already that I never have before and with six centuries yet to do I look forward to more exploring. I am going to take a week or two off now and then get back to it, hopefully with my old Trans-Iowa companion Jim. He said he would like to ride six and I would love to have some company out there! Thanks for the challenge Dave, its been fun!"

ed: Steve, thanks for playing... now, I've just gotta get out there and log some miles!!! -Dave

Friday, September 28, 2007

GPickle Is One Away From Some Mud!

Yesterday (Sept. 22)I rode another century mostly on gravel in pursuit of this. It was a beautiful day so I wore my new Ira Ryan long sleeve jersey. I looked cool. I also wore an old pair of ATLAS shorts. I may have looked cool but I had a chaffed up butt by the end of things. The chamois will be retired.
I rode to the Northeast of Iowa City and hit up some gravel and B roads I had never ridden before. After rescuing another turtle and being offered a job at a rural Casey’s I turned south to meet up with Jim’s rolling 40th birthday party. I was amazed that I got to Lone Tree exactly at 4pm when they were supposed to be there but was not amazed that they were late. I rode north to meet them and rode in with the boisterous crowd. Happy Birthday Jim!
We left Gin’s a few pitchers of cheap bear heavier than when we arrived and I had to break ranks to get the rest of my gravel miles done. I needed 6.5, I got 8 and rolled up to Iguana’s in Hills with exactly 101 miles, 82 of them on gravel. We drank some more and Jim began slumping a little further into his bar stool and it was a fine time.
The ride into Iowa City was wobbly for most of our group. We took over El Ranchero for dinner and Cody came down with clean clothes to get me out of my chamois (10 hours!) and when Jim went to the bathroom to puke we bolted too- for home.
A great day on the bike and just seven more like it to pass the test. I think I will do next weekends on my single speed. With a seat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Labor of Dirt....

Hi Dave, another exciting gravel adventure today, (Monday, September 3rd) this time over roads I know well so I was able to concentrate on the riding rather than the
navigating. It was hot. I came in with 100.63, 85 on gravel and of those
85 probably 15 on b roads and 4 wheeler trails and snowmobile trails and the
like. It was a treat and I even got some pictures for you, but none from
the ride, maybe next time...

Some pics are a click away!

the mileage

the bike

Monday, September 03, 2007

Squirrel's Nuts or Squirrels' Nuts? You Decide.

If you've ever riden at Seven Oaks just west of Boone, you'll know the answer. Both.
At the recent 24 hour race, held Sept. 1-2, Squirrel A) signed up for the solo (he IS nuts) and B) held off the dozen or so competitors to win with 126 miles (he's GOT nuts!) If you have never had the priviledge of riding the 7 miles of tight, hilly singletrack, you may not grasp the depth of either of those lables (the IS and HAS nuts thing). Believe me - that is one tough course. I like distance, mind you, but the thought of doing even 2 laps in a row sends shivers up my spine. It is a HARD, demanding course - almost every foot of it. Even the best cyclists that the midwest has to throw at the thing end up on the ground - ask Cam, ask Ben, ask Andy, Ask Jason. It IS tough.

Starting with the explosion of a tube (watch the start here)the race began with a LeMas style run to the bikes and then into the woods - at high noon on Saturday. Squirrel wound his way through the woods on the first lap and found himself in the lead by a few minutes as he checked in before lap 2. He never looked back. Staying on a 50-55 min. lap pace (the relay team leaders were turning 40-45min laps in daylight) throughout the afternoon, he stayed in the lead - but by dark, had yet to put a full lap into his chaser.

Through the night- lap times lengthened by about 10 minutes, but consisency won. He slowly put some laps on his chasers, giving him the opportunity to take a break in the wee hours of the morning. Back up at 5:46am and on the trail - a few more laps is all he would need to secure his victory. By 9am, it was mathematically impossible for 2nd place to finish enough laps to over-take Squirrel. The two called it quits, and took a nap!

126 miles - a HARD earned dirty century - a cool grand - and a deserved afternoon nap - Squirrel proves that, while he HAS the nuts to take on such a daunting challenge of 24 hours at Seven Oaks - he is also nuts - just crazy enough to sign up for the thing!

Way to go Squirrel!

Monday, August 27, 2007

G Pickle Makes It 3

"Morning Dave, I did the deed yesterday, (8/25) 124 miles and change in about
8 hours, 90 or 95 on gravel. Saw lots of dogs, a few Elk (really!)
saved a large turtle from certain death, rode a good and nasty B road
for fun, got lost, realized I had not needed to ride so far south from
Pella to insure 100 miles, had a pickup truck spray me with gravel and
got home just after dark, really dirty. All in all a fine day, I look
forward to rolling more gravel this fall and getting one of them cups!
The digital camera is on the fritz so I may not be able to get a
picture of the cyclo-puter but I assure you I did the ride!"

ed. - Steve - no pic necessary - your word is a good as dirt! By the way - nice bike - send us a pic for all Cup readers to salivate over!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Adamson Attains The First Cup!

Saturday, August 11th, John Adamson completed his sixth dirty century, earning him the coveted Cup O' Mississippi Mud!

The occasion was the Leadville 100, an epic adventure for anyone, much less a grizzled old man in his 60s.... not only that, but he completed the race in an astounding 10 hours flat - and this was his 9th buckle earned! (earned by those completing the race in 12 hours or less). John is a master of the bike, a spirited young man and an inspiriation to us all. Congratulations, John, on your accomplishments and being the first one to earn a Cup O' Dirt!

Others who gained a notch in the stick at Leadville include Mike Johnson, from Cedar Falls - He rode a strong race and took 20+ minutes off his 2005 time! He is one century away from the Mississippi Mud. Dave Mable, who, along with his wife, Dee, rode a tandem to 2nd place at Leadville. This was Dave's 4th century and Dee's 2nd. Dee may complete one more century this year, but it will probably be on a road bike at the Dr. Bob Double Metric in October. Another coffee mug in our cupboard is not much of a motivation for her, though it is for her husband!

Jason Alread, who rode a strong 9:26 and Brian Benson, who took 11 min off his previous time, both earned another notch.

Ben Garrett hammered the course at Leadville logging the fastest time by an Iowan ever with a time of 8:34! An astounding feat for anyone, much less a boy from Iowa! In the results, Ben was definitely in elite company, mostly from Colorado and the surrounding mountain states!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Leadville Nearing!

Well, off tomorrow to Leadville for the Leadville Trail 100 - North America's highest 100 mile mountain bike race! There should be a good number of updates after this weekend as more than a handful of Cup Chasers are toeing the line at Leadville.

Notable this year is Tour DeFrance Champion Floyd Landis is scheduled to compete. Lance Armstrong has been rumored to be racing, but has denied it. Some speculate whether that is a cover.. or not. His friend and long-time coach, Chris Charmichael will be racing in his 2nd Leadville, and the two have talked of a bet - dinner to the winner!

Other notables are 3 time winner Dave Weins and Mountain Bike Marathon Pro - Nat Ross.

Should be some good competiion up front... as well as the race against the clock - as one (or two... tandem) must finish under 12 hours in order to earn the covetted silver belt buckle. Typically only 50-60% of starters make the time cut - It is a tough race. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Observations of a Dirty Hundy on RAGBRAI

Duffy lead me to believe that NW Iowa is flat.
"You want flat? You got flat." His printed words in the Des Moines Register on Sunday, the 22nd of July.
What? He didn't hit no gravel roads in NW Iowa.
They ain't flat.

Loose gravel sucks.

Another confusing issue - the B-roads. I participated in the 2006 Trans-Iowa race... and the B-roads were basically dirt paths cut through corn fields that would become a soupy mess in 4" of rain. Some had ditches, most didn't. throughout my Monday Hunday (or is it 'Mundy Hundy'?)I would end up on many B-level roads, but they were graded gravel with fine ditches? Where were they in April of 2006? And I was in the same basic area as the T-I??? Funny thing is, that with the dry conditions of NW Iowa right now, the dirt paths would have been easier riding than the loose gravel that graced most of the roads I traversed throughout the day.

100 miles alone is a long way.

Beagles are weenies. Well, maybe they're smart. You decide.
I'm riding up a hill, about to encounter the only dog of the day, he's by the shallow ditch, under some pines, just waiting. I prepare for battle (?). He stands and just starts barking - backing into the yard as I near. I laugh, tell him he's just a loud weenie, and ride past.... in another 50 feet, I look back to see his bigger, faster friend charging full speed down the road after me! Thankfully I'd had enough of a head start to make a clean get-away.. but the last laugh was on me!
Beagles make GREAT alarm dogs!

Criss-crossing the RAGBRAI Route was good and bad. It certainly gave me something to look forward to when out in the middle of nowhere, but it was hard to leave the social/companionship of the ride. It would take me 2-3 miles to get out of the RAGBRAI frame of mind and into the mindless churning of the pedals that a long solo ride becomes. Both good things, but hard to make the transition.

I did feel cool as I turned off route onto gravel, thinking what a stud (idiot) I was, but that feeling quickly turned to loneliness as I transitioned into the long-distance mindset.

MP3 Players Rock.

Loose gravel sucks.

One must make a nutrition and fluid plan for a gravel 100, even on RAGBRAI. I didn't plan well - thinking that I was on RAGBRAI and food and drink is plentiful. I bonked a solid 3 times, running out of drink and having NO traveling food 5-10 miles before my next town. That was just plain dumb.

It was cool entering back into RAGBRAI, all dusty and dirty, and seeing friends whome I had seen earlier - and I was keeping pace with them.

It was cool riding into the overnight town, and our camp, all dirty and tired and sunburnt and spent and bonked, to the cheers of the Bike World Charter tent. That made my day. As did the solar shower set up my my supportive bride... and the dinner soon afterwards!

Was it worth doing? Yes. One more down towards that Cup O' Dirt and great Leadville prep. I felt strong the whole day (except for my last section of gravel that was freshly laid 2' limestone stones... I nicknamed that section just plain 'Hell'.)
Would I do it again? Not alone, but with friends, you bet. Could even make it an annual tradition... but again - not alone!

And finally - Loose gravel sucks!

Dirty (well, I'm washed now) Dave

The Dirty Half-Dozen

Score another dirty hundy for Mike Johnson, John Adamson, Ron Saul,
Chris Congdon, and Jeremy Fry is now on the list, too. We
met downtown Cedar Falls Sunday morning (7/22) with
the intention of riding 'till we didn't want to ride anymore. John
and Mike are in the final stages of their Leadville prep, so this ride
was an important gauge of their fitness.

We spun out of Cedar Falls through George Wyth State Park, past the airport, then right down through the heart of Waterloo. Yeah, that added a little bit of
pavement, but that's how we hooked up with Jeremy, and then made
straight for the gravel of Ansborough Ave as it heads due south out of
town. We stayed on Ansborough for miles. It was a glorious morning
for a ride: not too hot, blue sky, and a light, but strengthening,

Somewhere down in Tama County, our road T'd and we started
winding around to get across Wolf Creek and into Traer where we
stopped for coffee, doughnuts, burritos, etc. The terrain had gotten
surprisingly hilly, and we'd lose Paul on the climbs. He knew the
route, so we kept going, and sure enough, he showed up before our
coffee got cold. We left Traer to the north and west on an
aptly-named road called Ridge. Ridge Road climbs west out of Traer,
and then stays on the ridge-top, following the terrain instead of the
compass. It is really strange - this pocket of hills - there's
nothing else like them for miles around. With great views in all
directions, it is worth doing a dirty hundy just to find this road.
Eventually, Ridge Road peters out into the regular grid and we find
ourselves flying north with a great tailwind. We crank up the pace
and have a little fun attacking the hills and each other and we cruise
into Reinbeck at about Mach 5.

A short break for more food and drink,
- free pizza samples! - and Mike discovers a broken spoke to be the
cause of a new wobble in his rear wheel. He disconnects the rear
brake and rides the next 50 miles without it. Paul rolls in, decides
he doesn't really need to stop, so we all move out together. It seems
like it's taking a while for the legs to start spinning again, so the
pace stays a little more subdued than the before the break. There are
hills and we lose Paul again. A dragonfly perches on John's shoulder
and rides for several miles. We arrive in Dike for another stop.
Paul follows a few minutes later and decides to head directly back to
CF. He'll get a decent 80 miles for the day. The rest of us leave
Dike going west and north to our favorite Chequamegon-training hills
near New Hartford. After a lap of the hills, we hit our final stop
in NH. My legs are really tired, and it gets harder to get going
again after each stop. We're 10 miles from home and Mike and John and
Jeremy charge the last three hills on Westbrook Road while Ron and I
lightly spin it in. So, a hundred miles for the five of us, but more
importantly Mike and John both look to be in excellent shape for


Chris Congdon

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dirty Century on Monday - RAGBRAI!

Kids, I've mapped it all out - now join me in a day of fun, dust, dirt and RAGBRAI!

Meet in Spencer at 6:30am at the Casey's at 800 S Grand. Just south of the park that cuts through town. We'll ride the first 6 miles on route, then hit the gravel. We will pass through Marathon, Albert City (on the Century Loop - appropriately) Laurens, Rolfe and into Humbolt.

Here's the route: print yer own! I'll have one for me... if you don't print one, then you can just ride with Mapboy... or get lost, find the paved RAGBRAI Route and finish out the day - choice is yours!

RAGBRAI Dirty Hundy

Enjoy the weekend!
Dirtfully Yours - Dave

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Dusty One!

Watch for them dogs - it's so danged dusty that when a car passes it reduces visibility to almost zero... provided a stealth advantage for the dogs! We were chased only a few times on our Cup chasing, Leadville prepping 100 yesterday. Though the dust clouds may provide an advantage - a lazy July afternoon on the porch seemed enough to keep most dogs home!

Duffy, BenG, Fish, and Alread joined the tandems, Logans and Mables in western Urbandale for a long ride through Polk, Madison and Dallas counties at the wee hour of 6am on Saturday.

A gentle but consitent tempo lead us through Adel, and south, past Van Meter and into the hills of Madison County. The troubles for Duffy began here as his seatpost would not stay put. We must have stopped a dozen time to raise and tighten that darned thing - wiping off the grease - and even giving it a coat of dust... still moved and frustrated him as he kept slipping and falling behind to adjust it. He stayed strong, though, persevering through the challenge and making his way up the long and steep hills even when his positioning was less than ideal.

A highlight of our Madison County tour was the detour through the Hogsback covered bridge. A romantic side trip back in time. The Logans and Mables had to be pulled back on thier bikes as the romance got the better of them and they had to stop for a kiss (not really, but we talked about it!!!)

Earlham was our firt stop - 58 miles into the ride. Van Meter was our first planned stop, but a bridge-out forced a detour.... The local grocery store provided the opportunity to refuel and enjoy a 45 min. break in the shade.

On north, through the hills of the Racoon River Valley, and finally past Redfield and north of Adel. Again the Racoon River Valley (North Fork) kept us in the hills, at least until our final climb to Dallas Center. Our final stop at Casey's at mile 88 and then the last 13 miles to the parking lot. BenG and Alread could smell the barn at this point and kept quite a tempo - it was a strugle to hang onto there anxious wheels, but it was good to be able to after so many miles. One long gradual climb - very 'Boulevardish' to go and we were off gravel for the last time.

We reached the meeting spot = 102 miles, 6:59, a great day, a great pace! The Mable Tandem and BenG had a final few miles to home - 7:19 and 107 miles.

A Good day - the entire gang is looking good and well on their way to their Leadville goals - BenG sure wants the big buckle and he's riding strong. Alreads' shooting to better his best of 9:48 and was right with BenG on the climbs. Duffy is looking strong for his first, He, Fish, Logans and Mables... really just want the buckle and come in under 12. Mables would like a little more distance between themselves and the cannon this year - as 4 1/2 minutes was cutting the hair pretty short last year! Maybe we can enjoy the ride up the Boulevard this year!

Next hundy? Monday of RAGBRAI! Spencer to Humbolt - 100 miles of gravel intersecting the route many times to enjoy the flavors of RAGBRAI! Join me if you can!

Peace - Dave

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cully is on a roll!

Cully Todd isn't just earning a Cup O' Dirt with a bunch of gravel road centuries... He's racing them! He just finished an impressive 14th at the Lumberjack 100 in northern Michigan the weekend of June 16-17. His time of 7 hours 49 min is impressive given the challenging course.

Mark your calenders as Dee and I are hosting a dirty hundy on Saturday, July 15th here in Central Iowa as we prepare for the Leadville 100 in August. Watch here for details. I have also mapped out a gravel century for the Monday of RAGBRAI that passes through most of the 'pass-through' towns on that days route. I'd love the company - the more the merrier!

Monday, June 11, 2007

John Leads The Chase!

Here we go again. Mike Johnson and I had another near perfect day to
ride some really long gravel. The temperatures were moderate, there
wasn't much sun and the wind was forecasted to be 10 out of the south.
Mike had a great route for us to ride west with the towns of New
Hartford, Parkersburg, Ackley on the way to Iowa Falls for our turn
around. We got to Ackley and figured we could turn around and still get
the 100 miles The return trip went really well on slightly different
BUT - we had 3 flats, the wind started coming out of the southeast, the
temperature was raging, we started to feel the effects of riding 100
miles of dirt the week before and racing the huge Lisbon TT yesterday,
and the return miles were not going to get us to 100 miles - I hate
getting back to town and not having the miles that you expected. Riding
around just to get your goal miles is always the hardest riding I do.
So, the near perfect start to our gravel grinder turned into a hard day
when we reach 102 miles in 61/2 hours of riding time
Thanks, John

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cully Todd racks up another!

Cully Todd headed out to Ohio for the Mohican 100 this past weekend (june 2/3). He had a great race placing 16th overall in 8 hours 40 min. The Mohican 100 is held in Southeastern Ohio - where the Allegheny Mountains begin - and is known for it's long and steep climbs.


As the promoter and founder of this Cup 'O Dirt idea and challenge... I suppose it would be a good thing for me to actually work to attain said Cup - at least the watered down version of a Cup Of Mississippi Mud! So, at last, my first.

Lake Tahoe, NV/CA - All I'm going to say is this - one of the best slices of singletrack I've ever had the privilage to ride - Powerline, Corral Loop, High Meadows Trail - and - the Rock Garden of Death!

And finally, appropriately, I'll conclude with a little John Muir:

"And after ten years spent in the heart of it,
rejoicing and wondering, bathing in its glorius floods of light,
seeing the sunbursts of morning amoung the icy peaks,
the noonday radiance on the trees and rocks and snow,
the flush of alpenglow,
and a thousand dashing waterfalls, with their marvelous abundance of irised spray,
it still seems to me above all others
the Range of Light."

Gettn' Faster!

Details of another Dirty Century:

#2 in the books

John Adamson and I completed another Dirty Hundy today getting us well on our way towards a Cup O' Mississippi Mud and some great Leadville training. The two of us started our journey at 6 am heading south with hopes of not getting wet. The first stop, Traer, after 3 hrs of saddle time we replenished water and headed east. This portion of the ride had us traversing minimum maintenance gravel roads for many miles until we hit the final stop, La Porte City, at 5 hrs 20 min with 79 miles in the legs. After a brief refueling John and I were off for the final leg, back into Cedar Falls. After 6 hrs 15 min of ride time John and I completed the 100 miles however, the ride was not complete John and I had a few more miles to go before reaching home. As I rolled home and put the bike way the skies opened up.

Official Time – 6 hrs 15 min
Distance 100 miles
Towns along the way – Cedar Falls, Hudson, Traer, Dysart, Mt. Auburn, La Porte City,
Evansdale, and Waterloo.

Mike Johnson
Aka Striker - http://gettin-faster.blogspot.com/
2007 Leadville Hopeful

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Time Is Here!

First of all, thanks to Brian Duffy, Cup chaser, Leadville hopefull and artist! He is the editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register and RAGBRAI host. He was kind enough to design the Cup logo - of course it was in his best intrest to do so, as a Cup O' Dirt was used as a bribe to get us all into Leadville... whether it was what got us in or not, we'll never know, but we do intend to present said 'bribe' to Ken and Marilee when we are at Leadville!

Secondly, I am off to Lake Tahoe to bag my first century of the year - fat tires and all. "Climb the high mountains and get thier good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms thier energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves." John Muir wrote this of his experience in the Sierra Nevada... I look forward to my weekend there - working with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise money to fight cancer through Team In Training. A good day will be had by all.

I leave you with another message from Muir;

"These beautiful days must enrich all my life. They do not exist as mere pictues... but they saturate themselves into every part of the body and live always."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hot Dog Rx?

Four of us headed out 7:00 a.m. on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend:
me, Mike Johnson, Ron Saul and Rob Walters. The sky was overcast and
the forecast called for rain. With the weather as it was, it may not
have been smart to head out for a century, but our goal was a hundred
miles, not a Nobel Prize. We pedaled west out of Cedar Falls with no
second thoughts. 12th Street turns to gravel at the city limits.
About 6 miles out, a dog that I?ve never seen before charged out from
a farm that I ride by at least once a week. And then again about 11
miles into the route, dogs charged out from two consecutive farms. If
this had continued, our laid-back hundy would have turned into a
sprint workout. 22 miles down the road we rolled into Parkersburg,
for food and restrooms and noted a darkening sky. The rain started
shortly after leaving P-burg. We were heading north and east toward
Shell Rock, making up the route as we went along, turning when we
reached T-intersections and avoiding pavement. Some of the roads were
familiar to us and some weren?t. The rain continued to fall, but as
long as we kept moving, we stayed warm, and didn?t stop to put on
jackets. As long as we were riding north, the wind was at our back.
At Shell Rock we stopped again for more food. Figs ?n? bananas made
sense, but the triple chocolate bismark was irresistible. The
convenience store?s AC was running in its big ring so we finally had
to don our rain apparel just to stay warm while eating. Rob got a
couple of hot dogs and pressed them against his knees. They were a
little sore, and he said the heat felt good. Riding again, we hit
some short stretches of pretty soft gravel. It was still raining and
we were wet, but not suffering from it. Somewhere in this part of the
ride Rob announced that this was his longest ride - not just of the
year, but ever. Our intention was to get around the north side of
Waverly, but we hadn?t gone far enough north, and we had to cross US
Hwy 218 where an overpass was available. Our gravel road ran into a
piece of pavement that went straight into town. Rob opted to head on
in, having set a new personal distance record and needing to rest his
sore knees. Ron, Mike and I turned onto a gravel crossroad that
appeared to go where we wanted, but in about a mile and a half we were
stuck at a railroad crossing with a train parked on it. We could see
one end of the train about a quarter mile to the right. The other end
of the train disappeared to the left. We had no idea if there was a
locomotive attached, or not. The rail right-of-way was not suitable
for riding around the end of the train. The train was dead-quiet and
showed no sign of moving, so even though it completely creeped me out
and violated every sense of safety and intelligence, Mike crawled
under, we passed the bikes over a coupling, and then Ron and I crawled
under, too. In the four seconds it took for me to crawl under the
train, if there had been a horn honk, or if one of the other guys had
even clapped their hands, I would have filled my pants. Shortly, the
gravel we were on Tee?d into another road that went straight in to
town. We just were not going to be able to avoid Waverly, so we rode
right through without stopping and sought the first dirt on the east
side. The sky was still gray, but the rain finally stopped. We were
working our way toward Denver, again making up the route as we went
along. Some of the roads were familiar and some were new. We found
some nice gravel rollers that will be great Chequamegon training. On
this stretch, we were able to take off the rain jackets and start to
dry out. By the time we got to Denver, the sun was trying to burn a
hole in the clouds. We stopped again for food, then pedaled east out
of town. We didn?t really have a next destination. We were headed
east and south toward, but not necessarily to, Dunkerton. While the
sun was trying to shine above us, there was a line of really dark
clouds approaching from the west. The south wind was strengthening,
the roads were soft, and for the first time of the day it was becoming
work to ride the bike. We quit jogging to the east to concentrate on
a southerly course, hoping the dark clouds would pass behind us, which
they ultimately did. Our gravel Tee?d into pavement by the big John
Deere tractor plant east of Waterloo. We turned west, spun through
town, and by the time I hit my driveway in CF, I had a hundred miles
on the odo and just short of 8 hours of ride time on the clock.

Thanks for keeping track of our rides, Dave.

Chris Congdon

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Good Day For The Bike Tech Gang!

Here's a description of a hard day. A 25m TT followed by 90 miles of fat tire fun on gravel roads! That is exactly how John Adamson, Chris Congdon and James Warnke spent their day on Saturday, May 12 - maybe not so much for the Cup O' Dirt, but I know John is building his mileage for his assault on the Leadville Trail 100 in August. Chris and James? Well, they must just be nuts! The day began for the trio in Lisbon Iowa for the 25mile Lisbon Time Trial, hosted by Conn Day. Once they all completed that, they traded their TT machines for their 'Cross bikes and headed home to Cedar Falls, arriving some 90 miles later! They're all on the list, and it would be an honor to present these three with their Cup O' Dirt at the end of the year!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Todd Escweiler Joins The Chase on Trans-Iowa!

As with any race we do, I learned a lot from this race as well. Definitely things I can carry forward to future races.

The pre-race prep went really smooth. I was stressing over it a bit but was packed well ahead of time and incorporated a detailed-list strategy that worked really well. Basically I had several lists I worked from:

· Packing list of required gear needed before leaving DSM

· Everything that needed done the night before

· Everything that needed done in the a.m. before going to the start

· Everything that needed to happen at the start

After my lists were done all the thinking was out of the way and it was easier to relax. I felt very comfortable that if I followed the checklists, I would have everything I needed, when I needed it, and wouldn't waste time or energy trying to remember a bunch of stuff or worse yet, risk forgetting something as basic as my helmet. :)

I still hate the early am starts but we got there with plenty of time to spare and once I cleared the fourth and final checklist I was all set for the start. It was rather chilly and I was wearing a t-shirt. I knew I'd warm up after the start but I did decide to change into a heavier long-sleeve shirt. I think it helped but the sleeves got pulled up on the 2nd hill so I may have been fine either way.

A brief announcement from the race director about not outrunning your headlights (big down hills with hairpin turns at the bottom) and we were ready to go.

The 1st queue sheet (10 in total for the 1st half) only took us to the 7 mile point. To avoid having to switch queue sheets so early in the race I started with page 2 opting to follow the pack the 1st seven miles...the 2nd queue sheet took us to mile 25 and I figured that'd be a good time for a break anyway. Right away up the 1st hill I had to shift into my small ring, in doing so my chain jammed and I came to an abrupt stop. Of course I panicked thinking how can this be, I'm 5 minutes into this thing and I'm out of the race! A little finagling in the dark (more than usually required for dropped chains) and an up-shift to the middle ring corrected the situation and I was off again from the back of the pack. I was afraid to use my small ring after that so I probably expended some extra energy on the early hills. In retrospect, I think I was just cross-chained as the gears worked fine when I got the nerve back to try them a few hours later. Ultimately, I passed several riders and ended up mid-pack where I stayed for the rest of the day.

With a course that big I wondered how often I'd see other riders. As it turns out, I could always see someone in front of me and often times behind as well. That kept my spirits up as I knew I was never alone and by the numbers of riders I saw in town I knew I was right where I should be in terms of time/distance. I leapfrogged Kyle and Mark (from Irwins) all day long. They caught me, I pulled away, I stopped they passed, they stopped, I passed.

Other than throwing my chain in a panic at the start, the rest of the 1st half went like clockwork. We hit LOTS of hills of course but the pain was offset by the views you got rolling over the tops of some. I didn't take many pictures and swear I saw more gravel (heads down biking) than anything but both the "ridge" roads & "river" roads provided the occasional stretch of relatively flat terrain to move over. Transitioning from one to the other was a bear though!

No "B" roads the 1st half. Gravel was dry and hard. Almost like pavement for a lot of the ride.

My nutrition plan worked very well for me. I broke the cardinal rule of never trying anything new on race day. After realizing my training regimen of Propel, ham sandwiches and Mike&Ikes wasn't going to cut it in a 34 hour race, I decided to go with a powder supplement...Hammer Sustained Energy (unflavored). I mixed it up thick (pancake batter consistency) which gave me four hours fuel in one water bottle. I had pre-measured 4-hour bags in my pack so I could quickly mix up more when needed. I kept plain water in my Camelbak and between the two that's mainly what kept me going. I also brought along electrolyte tablets and took 2-3 every hour so I replaced what was lost due to sweat.

I didn't eat anything else and other than the expected fatigue, I felt fresh all day long. Never had a sign of cramping. Had to pull off the side of the road frequently so knew I was staying hydrated. I was very impressed since I'd never used any of this stuff before. The unflavored Sustained Energy was bland but not at all dissatisfying. I brought individual flavor packets made by Propel to spruce things up a bit if necessary but I never felt the need to use them.

Also along for the ride were Peanut butter rollups (Tortilla shell style) and about 15 PowerGels. I didn't touch either of these. If anybody wants some Tangerine Power Gel I got tons to give away.

Contrary to past years, the weather was perfect. Temps were a little warmer than desired but the electrolytes helped me out there. Winds were a little heaver than desired but that also helped keep the heat away. Winds were from the NW and other than the 1st 3 hrs we were moving SW most the day. Later in the day the Westward sections sucked pretty bad but by then we were mostly heading South.

What really got to me in this race were the hills. For the distance I was really expecting to come out of the hills of NE Iowa around mile 60. As it turns out, we didn't open up to the flats of Iowa until just after mile 90. Even then, with the monster hills out of the way they were able to find some pretty good rolling hills to route us over.

I made it to the checkpoint (131.7) in 12 hours...two hours before the cut-off time so I was well within my initial goal of just making it to the check point on time. I still felt fresh and if I had to estimate I figured I had 20% left. Considering 20% was not the 55% required to finish, I was able to do a lot of soul searching the last 30-40 miles to the CP. I came to the realization that:

1) While I still felt good, there was absolutely no way I was going to complete this race. Considering the CP at 131 miles was still not even half way.

2) Given an imminent DNF, I had absolutely no desire to push on to the point of complete exhaustion. I was ok with this. At that point I knew I could call it, get a nice meal, a good nights sleep, and still be able to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

3) I was having a BLAST! Good weather, good riders, feeling good, hitting some awesome terrain. Since a finish wasn't anywhere in sight I didn't see a problem with taking a good day for what it was and being happy with it.

I knew for sure I wanted to leave CP1 and at least enter the 2nd half of the route. Sarah brought up what was also going through my mind about looking for a different kind of goal. Leave it to Sarah to keep pushing me on. With 322 out of reach, what other milestone was in sight? I settled on 150. Seemed a nice round number and anything beyond that point was going to be West and North (into the wind). At this point Sarah headed back to DSM and I headed off down the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

It took me just under 2.5 hrs to go another 20.6 miles to where I agreed to meet up with Amy. I knew quickly I'd made the right decision to drop out. The first 10 miles were along a dirt trail that used to be a railroad bed. Other than a lot of debris it was smooth, flat and somewhat sheltered from the wind. Regardless, at that stage, it was still a tough 10 miles and it drug on. Now imagine feeling that way in those prestine conditions and still needing to push on yet another 120 miles just to be in the hills of NE Iowa with 70 additional miles to get to the finish. No thanks.

After the trail the route took us for another easy mile through town and then back on fresh gravel for the remaining 9 miles (I hate fresh gravel...bumpy!). More hills and considering my pickup point was actually 152.3 miles (I had time to do the math) I stopped biking, took off my pack, came very close to calling Amy and having her back up 2.3 miles figuring that was really my goal. Given everything else that'd gone on that day, I finally yelled at myself for being a wuss and pushed on to meet Amy at the designated pickup point. It was the perfect place to stop...on the heels of a right turn straight into the West wind. I couldn't have been happier. The next day at the awards ceremony I talked to one of the other racers that dropped out in Traer...13 miles from where I dropped. He just looked at me, smiled and said, "You made a wise choice." There are hills in Iowa and Guitar Ted knows how to find them.

While Amy was waiting for me to finish the last few miles she received the call from the Irwin guys. They were calling it a day also. Like me, they felt like they had some fuel in the tank but with the end-goal out of reach, decided to call in the reinforcements while they still could.

Kudos to Amy...she put in a longer day than the rest of us. While we called it quits and ended our day, she drove us all back to Decorah to drop off Kyle and Mark (That's a long drive by the way), then got me back home safe to New Hampton. When all was said and done, she looked about as cooked as many of the racers.

WOULD I do it again? Definitely!

WILL I do it again? Not a chance!

I think any future endeavor like this is going to need to be in the 150-200 mile range. Something completeable by sensible human standards. If this was a 200 mile race, I think I could have pushed on, suffered if not hurt myself, and drug myself across the finish riding on borrowed time. When the finish is unbelievably out of reach, however, it really takes away any motivation to continue.

Here's a summary of the data my GPS gathered: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2620573# .

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cully Todd Joins The Chase!

Cully Todd flew onto the list of Cup Chasers with a 7hr 49min dirty century this past weekend (April 21-22). He participated in Cohutta 100 in eastern Tennessee. The race starts at the Ocoee White Water Center on the Ocoee River, and with names like Boyd Gap, Tumbling Creek Campground, Watson's Gap and Potatoe Patch Mountain, you can only imagine the terrain! The Cohutta 100 is the first race of this years NUE, National Ultra Endurance, Mountain Bike Series.

Conrgrats to Cully and welcome to the chase!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dennis jams and Squirrel catches Big Johny!

A muddy hundy for Dennis Grelk and Squirrel give Dennis his 2nd century this year and Squirrel his first. Read about their ride here. The Chasers should start rolling in with the Trans-Iowa looming on the horizon. Anyone who completes the TI should have 1/4 of the cup under their belt, assuming they get at least one century in before the race. In an upcoming interview with the Trans-Iowa Co-Director, Jeff Kerkove, Jeff hints at a quest for the cup! Watch www.CyclingUpdate.com in the coming week for the complete interview!

Dennis submitted the grizzly.... well polar bear... details of his first century. Enjoy:

January 28th
100.31 miles around South Lee county IA
4294ft climbing
0 degrees ambient temp
15mph winds gusting to 25
10 hours 31 minutes
9.5 mph avg speed
Road conditions 70% snow/ice covered, but very well frozen.

Water bottles freeze solid within an hour and a half in these conditions.
Camelback hoses(non-insulated) 15minutes.
Hammergel doesn't seem to be affected though.
Lake MX300 insulated boots, PI Amfib booties, and Bridgedale heavy wool socks are good for 4-5 hours before toes become painfully numb.
Snowmobile handlebar mitts are the bomb!
Smartwool is great stuff as are thermal skinsuits.
First 33 miles were on a recumbent(yes all 100.31 were on gravel)
Slowest century I have ever done, in the coldest conditions I have ever ridden in.

In other Cup news, Brian Duffy, a syndicated editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register, has agreed to create the logo design for the Cup O' Dirt! His design will ultimately grace your Cup O' Dirt!

The cups themselves have been ordered from New Harmony Pottery - and will be hand-made, wood fired stoneware mugs, much like the ones in the photo to the left. Each one will be an original piece of art, exhuding a character all it's own. The first two cups will be presented, on August 10th, to Ken and Marilee, Race Directors of the Leadville Trail 100, which was the event that inspired the Cup O' Dirt!

Bike World has agreed to join in on the Cup O' Fun by offering swag and prizes. In a discussion at the Expo in Clive last weekend, Forrest Ridgeway, Owner of Bike World, mentioned that people who achieve the Cup exemplify what cycling is all about - a dedication to the sport, dedication for a goal and having fun on a bike! Thanks to Bike World and Forrest, for your support!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

1200 Miles & A Cup O' Dirt!

Q) Soooo, just what the heck is this 1200 Miles and a Cup 'O Dirt thing anyway?

A) Well, ya log 12 or 6 centuries, during the course of 2007, all of em on dirt, and ya get an official Cup O'Dirt or Mississippi Mud! Just send me an e-mail (dave@all9yards.com) to tell me about yer century then I can log yer progress, and yer in! It don't even cost ya anything!

Q) Dirty Century, let's see... what is that?

A) A huner'd miles on dirt, duh! Dirt? It can be a gravel road, double track, logging road, singletrack or you can do a whole bunch o'laps on yer grassy yard! To count for the Cup O' Dirt, yer century must be at least 80 miles that ain't paved.

Q) Does it have to be an organized ride ta count fer the Cup?

A) Nope - just lemme know what ya did - ya can be alone, ya can be with friends, ya can be with strangers! Ya can do it in a race, ya can do it in a tour, ya just gotta do it in a day! (note to Trans-Iowa competitors: Ya can do an overnight, just no sleeping, that'd be 2 rides!... and, ya complete the Trans-Iowa and ya git to count 3!)

Q) Any special awards er anything?

A) Yep! Old Oakley Rob has committed a sweet pair of Oakley's that'll be drawn from all the yahoo's that get a cup o' dirt! Thanks Rob! Squirrel is makin' a cool biker lamp fer a lucky winner! I got all year to get a bunch of other sweet swag ta give ya. Anyone wants to throw in some stuff - just lemme know and I'll pass the word!

Q) Do ya gotta do one a month to count?

A) Nope! Ya can do em all in a row, if want. Now, if you do one every month - I'll give ya sumpthin' special!

Q) Soooo, what is this 'Cup O' Dirt'?

A) Glad you asked! It is a sweet handmade stoneware mug, created just special for this here gig by New Harmony Pottery of Earlham Iowa. Ya may have seen their stuff if ya done the Living History Farms Race and saw the awards they gave out. Sweet swag. Now, the dirt? Good ol' Iowa black dirt... can't beat that!

Q) So, if it don't cost nuthin to participate, and I'm gunna git this super sweet cup o' dirt, who's payin' fer it?

A) Them fine boys at All9Yards Realty! That's who! They gots a bike racin' team and want to promote their fine new website www.cyclingupdate.com. Check it out - it's gunna have all the info fer racin' on two wheels that ya'd want! Race schedule, results, training, news, equipment - everything!

Q) Finally, why ya doing this crazyness?

A) Cuz I love ridin' in the dirt and I seen some dudes bucket' o' belt buckles and thought "Now, why can't we have somethin' cool like that right here?" So I did it. The extra cool thing is... ya can do it wherever ya are!!! There is folks from Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas and Mizzou followin' along!

Q) OK, OK, One more thing, when do I git my Cup O' Dirt?

A) 3rd Saturday of December, we're havin' a hoe-down (and a dirty century, of course!) right here, somewhere in the middle of Iowa. I'll git us a big ol' barn or lodge with a big ol' fire place, I'll cook us up a big ol' pot o'chilli! During the day, we'll go fer a huner'd mile long gravel road ride, then that night, I'll give ya all yer Cup O' Dirt and all the other swag! We'll have a blast - swap stories, maybe some pics from the year, some tunes. Ya won't have to do the ride, ya can just come and git yer dirt and play that night! I'll have detials as the time nears. If ya got any more questions or to tell me about a century, drop me a line! dave@all9yards.com

Now, I also gotta say, that this ain't no orgainzed ride - ya'll are on yer own. Ya oughta wear yer helmet each time ya ride - in fact, if I see a pic of you ridin' without yer helmet on a century that ya wanted to count - I ain't count'n it (sorry Kim!). Ya should be careful out there, don't forget yer lights if ya get caught out after dark, bring a spare tube. Remember to be nice to the lady at Casey's that looks at ya funny when you buy the place out of coffee and pizza at 10 O'clock in the mornin', first, she don't really wanna be working there, but hasta ta make ends meet, and second, ya smell! Finally, remember to have fun - last I checked, I wasn't gettn' paid to ride, so I must be doin all this to have fun!

Peace - Dave Mapboy Mable

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cold February Start

Brrrry BRR!

-8. That's what the dude from the Register said it was in Rippy. 38mph. That's what the weather guy said the wind gusted to NW of Des Moines. 1inch. (quit laughing) That was the length of the icicles hanging off my nose! In full arctic explorer gear, Jason and I ventured off towards Rippy, about a minute after the canon. We wove through Perry with "Tarmac Dude" Some guy with his sparkly new S-Works Tarmac... sweet ride! Jason and I with our bmx pedals and $75 single speed rides - mine a 20 year old beast. Tarmac Dude quickly moved on ahead of us. We meandered our way through the cyclists as we ventured north, into the wind. Did not recognize a soul. We may have passed 30 people we know, but everyone was buried in clothing! "Hi Dave!" I hear from some anonymous cyclist. "It's Robin!" She yells. I still have no idea.. Sorry Robin! I give her credit, I don't know how she recognized me - it wasn't the bike, this was it's debut.

So we weave through the maybe, 100 cyclists and catch Tarmac Dude. Jason and I are trading pulls at this point and I notice the shadow of Tarmac Dude on our wheel. Great, I'll take a third to share the load! As we near the first curve west, it is Tarmac Dudes turn to pull. He jumps out of the saddle and takes off! "WTF?! We just pulled your a$$ the last mile!" I hang on his wheel with about everything I have. 30 seconds later I look back and Jason is off. I pull onto the shoulder and slow to wait. Jason and I get back into our groove of taking pulls. The wind was so strong, the cold so deep that you really don't look up much. Head down, into the wind, watching about 4ft in front of your wheel. Occasionally one glances up to see who you might catch and for a little help with the wind.. We march on northward now, into the wind and through the hills. I am way too overgeared for this pace of 8mph, but I glance up as we slowly climb one of the small (HUGE!!) hills, and there is Tarmac Dude! We caught him ON THE HILL! He can't stand it, so he jumps on our wheel, but only for a moment. He is gone! Satisfaction. Jason and I march on. There is a long downhill, which still requires work into the wind. Downhill: advantage to road bike with gears. Tarmac Dude goes flying by! Rats.

Steady as we go. Long uphill, long flats. Steady as we go, trading the work. Tarmac Dude is reeled in. Tarmac Dude is dropped one last time. See ya in Rippy!

We turned west for the final few, brutal miles into town. The wind was worse now. Very little draft. No respite from the effort. We rode with some strong guy on a mtn bike with gears. Advantage: gears! He could shift down on the hills and maintain a manageable cadence, while we had to stand and grunt up, no momentum, every pedal stroke an effort. He was kind enough to pull us along for a bit, but finally leaves us. We crest the last hill before Rippy, thinking, 'This is the end!' But no. The final 50 feet to the gas station parking lot took full effort. Really hard. 11 miles. 1 hour, 20 minutes. Wow. That was really hard.

We hang in the gas station long enough for the icicles to thaw from my nose, and long enough to receive kudos from Tarmac Dude, who arrive about 3-4 minutes after us! He was nice, but it was still satisfying to drop him. Don't drop your train, man.

Our ride home was un-eventful. We estimate seeing about 100 hardy souls making their way to Rippy. The paper said 500. No way! Maybe 500 registered, but there were not 500 on the road! Anyone who made that ride to Rippy earned a badge - the badge of frost and wind! I actually stayed surprisingly warm, due to dressing for the arctic, but there were some folks woefully unprepared, no shoe covers, no goggles, no full face masks.

We made a final stop just outside Perry to visit my Sister, B, and pick up my daughter, who got a little one-on-one time with Aunt B. They had a full table spread with awesome hot chili, hot tea, sandwiches and carrot cake! The perfect ending to a bitter cold day! Thanks B!

While this was not a dirty century, it was an epic ride, one for the books. I won't count it for either me or Jason, but there may be an * on our Cup O' Dirt! 1222 miles & a Cup O' Dirt!

Leadville Drawing Near
I imagine Marilee and Ken holed up on a cold snowy Leadville morning, sipping coffee amidst a pile of envelopes... envelopes full of hope and sealed with anticipation! Our envelopes are in that pile - 2 from Des Moines, each one with the Registration of a Sub-10 hour finisher, a Tandem, a couple of 3 timers, a Pb'ville virgin, and a 2X 12:20hr finisher ("I'll get that damn buckle yet!"). We wait on pins and needles this week - waiting with other veterans, virgins, tandems... people whose hope is simply a shiny new silver buckle or those who hope for an '8' on the sleeve of their sweatshirt. We will be united, all across North America, as we walk, collectively, to the mail box each day in February, hoping, praying, to find that simple postcard from Ken and Marilee, an invitation to join them at the starting line in August. Today, we hope. On August 11, at about 11:30 in the morning, we curse!

First One In!
"Grizzly John" Adamson is the first to log a dirty century this year! While, in his own words, it wasn't purty', he did gett'er done! John took advantage of the warm weather in the first part of the month to secure his place in the "One-A-Month" club. At this point, he's the only one in the club.... but we do still have a few days left of January - albeit - cold!

Road trip to Texas anyone????