The 100K Encierro Velo wound predominantly through cattle & horse ranches, with occasional rock outcroppings on the edges of a wash or the crest of a hill and mountains in the western distance. A great start to my 2018 racing season.
The 2018 gravel season opens this weekend for me in Colorado at the 100K Encierro Velo near Elbert. This will be my first race wearing a kit from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). I have pledged to raise $5,000 this summer for CAF and am super excited to get started.
Instead we got rain. And the Maah Daah Hey is just flat out not ridable when wet. The dirt turns to extra-clingy peanut butter and gums up every moving part of your bike. Tires become 15 pound immovable mud-donuts and derailleurs get ripped from their hangers.
The Dirty Lemming is my favorite gravel race. Jim & his crew reflect all that is great about gravel grinding - low key, competitive w/o being cut-throat, more interested in connecting with other riders & building community than anything else. If you've forgotten why you ride then come to the Lemming and get filled up again.
The 2015 version of the Dirty Kanza 200 was like a 100 mile mud-filled survival fest followed by a 100 mile gravel race. Throw in a steady 15 mph wind and I had the ingredients for a 17 hour and 45 minute adventure race. A full 3 hours longer than I had hoped for. And to be honest, I had a good day!
Truth be told, I had a bit of a lull after the Maah Daah Hey 100 - that race took some time to recover from. Not just physically, but mentally. I just didn't feel like getting back on my bike again for awhile.
The trail is absolutely amazing, totally exceeding all of my expectations. 100 miles of relentless single-track winding through the badlands of North Dakota. Riding the entire trail in one day was nuts, so much harder than I anticipated. We covered about 105 miles with nearly 11K feet of ascending and 11K feet of descending trail.