There are studies that have found that for every hour you exercise you live two hours longer. Chris Skogen's Almanzo added almost 20 hours to my life on Saturday. I plan on spending those hard earned hours wisely.
I thought that after surviving the Almanzo test last year in the rain and cold, that a sunny breezy day on gravel would be a piece of cake. It was anything but.... 90F and winds gusting to mid 30's and sustained at mid 20's pretty much all day. Lots of fresh gravel that Craig correctly compared to riding on ball bearings. I finished a half hour faster than 2011, but my on bike time was about 20 minutes longer. No long stops in Preston or Forestville this year.
Luckily I bailed on the single speed and put the 10 speed gearing back on the Pickle Bike which gave me enough gears. I ran a 1X10 with a 36 in front and 11-32 in back. For the most part this worked well. Using this gearing I had a vision of riding the entire route (slowly) without walking a hill. This plan seemed to be working until the second to last hill (90 miles?) which I had to walk last year. You know which one I'm talking about. I'm told 28% grade in places. I turned the corner, looked up, and fell off my bike. Technically I accomplished my goal since I think I actually crawled up the hill. Think Donner Party.
I limped in. The highlight was the congratulatory handshake from Mr. Class, Chris Skogen. I saw a lot of people cramping. I've never had a cramp. Probably too slow to cramp. Doesn't look like a lot of fun, I think I'll keep doing what I'm doing and avoid that situation. All the fellow lemming riders that I know of finished in front of me. Don't know exact times, but I think the order was Tim, Doug!, Craig, Steve, Steve, Me. Steve claims he would have beat Doug! if he had rode faster.
The Dirty Lemming Ride may take us as long, but it won't be nearly as hard. We will stop for nice long breaks to keep the pack together and have a nice long lunch in Biscay. Biggest hill might be 60 feet at a 2% grade. Gravel will be just as nasty though, probably worse, but with no 35 mph descents it will be relatively safe.
The picture below that Steve P. took pretty much sums up my ride. You gotta love the Almanzo dust whitewalls on the Pickle Bike.
Thanks again to Chris Skogen for putting on another monster test. I can't wait to see what he cooks up for next year's test.....