I was looking forward to doing this 72 mile gravel ride all week. What kind of person does that? The ride began at 9am and it was certainly 'hairy'. There was me, kinda hairy, and about a dozen guys, more hairy. The ride started easy enough but got harder. I am not at all familiar with the Hermann area. There are some challenging hills out there. Maybe I should investigate what type of gear set ups the others were running. I had the standard crossbike set up 36/46 and that proved difficult on some of the hills. I will also blame the wind. At any moment I felt like I was going to be blown off my bike. The gravel was also a little soft. I was not able to hang with the pack, but was very fortunate to get to ride with Stoney and Zack, from TRW, and a nice fella named Ralph.
Stoney and Zack were on single speeds and would complete 130 miles before the day was over. They are training for TransIowa and also the DK200. Super badasses!
I learned quite a bit on this ride. For instance, drinking out of a water bottle on gravel takes practice, it does heat up quick on gravel for lack of trees, your butt moves around a lot more on the saddle, and stay on top of fueling and hydration. Once you get behind its hard to fight out of it. The temp reached 81, was not expecting that since the weather man has been wrong so much lately. Perpeteum, water, jolly ranchers, fireballs, and Odwalla bars treated me well. So many other things to try before the 200 miler.
This was not a smell the roses ride so I only snapped a couple of pics. The scenery was beautiful and the people we saw were nice. One guy actually stopped, got out of his truck, and apologized about the shape the gravel was in. We were changing my flat, the only mechanical of the day. I picked up a teeny tiny metal sliver somewhere on the road. We had only 5 miles to go. Figures. And that tailwind we were promised really never showed up. Although, I will admit the ride back was easier. The gravel had dried considerably during the day. I am very happy with my result from this ride. I saved the maps to go do it again. Who's up for it?
Heres a couple links to two more accounts http://jycycling.blogspot.com/ andhttp://gumbobottoms.typepad.com/team_red_wheel/2011/03/hermann-ride-summary.html.