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.

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


john said...

So, out about 15000 bike riders you couldn't find one to ride with?
After Leadville, we'll have to get together for some serious gravel.
Good luck in your final preparations.
I looked at your splits for last year this morning - your last leg was just amazing.

Anonymous said...

No I am not a liar. I based my analysis on THE ROUTE, the PAVED route. Should one choose to go off-route, well one takes ones chances. We here at RAGBRAI headquarters frown on those who head off on their own for very reasons nefarious (Ben) or otherwise. Now what would have happened to you if that beagle would have taken you out, while you were bonking out there in the hinterlands? You see you would not have had that problem on the PAVED route as we clear the roads of dogs and have pork chops for your fueling pleasure. We also have ambulances available should that pork chop not set well in your stomach.

john said...

Either death - by Beagle or Pork Chop would be a fine, second thought - I'd take the beagle.
bags are packed for Leadville. We head for Crested Butte tomorrow.