Friday, December 30, 2011

Nick Wethington's 2011 Cup

Well, I didn't qualify for all three cups this year or anything, but I at least eked out a Cup o' Mississippi Mud. In total I had 10 metrics and 6 full century rides on dirt/snow.

Matt Maxwell and I did a ride down to Chichaqua Valley Bottoms on December 4th on our Pugsleys. We got 72 miles in on gravel/icy B-roads. It was officially the first time I had to ride in the grass on the side of a B-road because it was too slippery instead of too sticky. The day after that, December 5th, I took the Pug over to Jefferson to visit a friend, then rode down to Adel on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. It was icy/snowy enough in the northern part to get me about 85 miles on dirt/snow, and the last 15 or so on relatively dry pavement to get a full century. I also finished the Tuscobia 150 in Wisconsin on the 17th of December. 150 miles of crusty, icy snow with a few miles of rutted, mushy stuff in there. It was a great ride, despite some GI problems about halfway through.

This B-road was pretty sketchy. Image courtesy of Matt Maxwell.

Last Chance for 2011 Rides!

2011 is almost over. Kinda unbelievable. You only have today and tomorrow to get in those last rides for the Cup o' Dirt! Forget those New Year's parties that you've been invited to. Fill your Camelbak with champagne and get out on the dirt.

The list to the left has the current information for all of the cup chasers for 2011. If you notice that I have the wrong numbers, let me know. If you've completed enough rides for a cup, send them to me ASAP at I'll start looking into getting more cups made mid-January for the 2011 running.

I hope to get rid of some other responsibilities in 2012 and spend a bit more time with the Cup o' Dirt. Expect some more regular rides and challenges.

Here's to hoping that your resolution for 2012 is to get your very own Cup o' Dirt!

Christine Carragee's 2011 Rides

I got a message from Christine Carraggee about her 2011 rides. She had a question about rides she should do in 2012. I gave a couple of ideas, but I thought I would put it to the illustrious athletes of the Cup o' Dirt to reply as well. What rides are YOU planning for next year? Leave your ideas in the comments!

I ran across your challenge as I was looking for next year's races.  Do you make them yourself?  Ceramic mugs are way better than pint glasses and to earn one doing something you love is great!

This year:
I attempted, but didn't complete the Royal 162 due to getting horribly lost, got a good century out of it though.

Dirty Kanza
West Side Dirty Benjamin
Heck of the North
Dirt Bag (only 88 miles)

Next year my plan is to do as much of the AGRS as I can, but I already know I can't make Almanzo because its my sister's graduation.  I'm looking for some other ran races -- maybe something in the south east during the spring?  Any suggestions?

Happy Riding, Christine

Matt Maxwell's Metrics

Matt scored a Cup o' Dirt for his 12 metrics in 2011. If you add the 75 miles of Tuscobia trail that he rode after sending this post, it makes a lucky 13 for the year. The photo below shows the gigantic hole in his Pugsley tire from our Tuscobia adventure. How did it get there? Find out for yourself.

A size 15 boot might not even fix this flat.

Here's a few links to his blog with details of a few other of these rides.

Courtney Hilton's December Cup Ride

Courtney sent me this about his last official Cup o' Dirt ride for the year. I think he was the only person chasing to get one a month! I'll have a special prize for him when I deliver his cups (though I don't know what that is yet...). Way to go, Courtney!

So for my last Cup (one a month) I finished!  December Metric was single speed cross bike,  I hit Carlise, Indianola, Martensdale (twice due to wrong turns) and Finished at the tap just like the first one in January.   Fell into a couple ice puddles on ERT but stayed upright (see Picture) this was a little freakier than it looks.  Also hit a "Closed" B road out of Carlisle the map shows the road under water but it's just a mud hole after the spring rains are over (Arthur ST)  Trans-iowa idea?  The rest of the day was un-eventful except the wrong turn on 33 and 5 miles back to martensdale...oops

Thanks for a good time this year doing the Cups, 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Metric

Instead of lounging around and eating ALL day long on Thanksgiving, I decided to go for a metric. Matt Maxwell and I had been talking about a gravel road in Boone county that looked interesting, but that we'd never been down. L road/115th, if anyone's interested. It makes a nice curvy loop on the map, and it's just north of Fraser (where there are some other interesting, hilly roads that I took on the way back). I met a number of nice folks out on the road that stopped to say hello. The denizen of the house at the bottom of the hill on L road stopped in the middle of the gravel road, and when I pulled up next to him said, "I've seen a lot of things come down that hill, but never a biker. Well, at least not that type of biker." He must have been getting ready to head over to a family member's house for Thanksgiving, as he was putting a can of Busch Lite in his cup holder.

With the hills and the 25mph wind, it was a great day to be out on gravel. I remember thinking that I might expend more calories than I consumed this Thanksgiving, but after coming home and eating a few platefuls of delicious food that my girlfriend cooked for us, that's pretty doubtful.

There's only a few weeks left in 2011, so get out and ride!


Courtney's Fat Bike Metric

Courtney Hilton is still going strong. This sounds like a fun ride, in that Type II fun sorta way:

November's metric was going to be a century but :

1 B Road
2 sandwiches from caseys
2 powerades
2 mikes lemonades
3.5 hours of tire changes
4 flat tires
6 thorns
only 85 miles of Pugsley fun

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three More from Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson had the following to report on his rides for the Cup. Sadly, I failed to get him his cups from past years at the Heck of the North, but word is that he'll be down in our fair state for some rides soon. Click on the links for a full write up on his blog.

Heck of the North: Not my best day - but beautiful riding up there.

Haymaker Write Up: I won "The Heroic" and then crawled 9 miles on my 29er to round out the full metric.

Dirt Bag 2011: 84.5 miles of Fall Classic and another win (this one quite lucky-  right place at the right time)

Craig Irving Catches Up

Here's what Craig Irving has been up to in the Cup O' Dirt department. This report officially gets him both the 1/2 Liter O' Dirt and the Cup O' Mississippi Mud! Keep on working towards the full cup, Craig, and props for riding with the injury instead of using the good hand to dial up the ol' lady on yer cell phone.
I've been slacking with the updates, but not with the rides.  This is me catching up.  I have another full century and three more metrics to report.  Here's the breakdown:

October 1st:  101 miles total, but my Garmin died at mile 97.  Had to map out the last few miles when I got home to make sure I had an honest hundy.  Spent the day getting lost and then finding my way back.

October 9th:  Pre-rode the Moonshine Metric course with a friend from work.  He later said it was the hardest ride he's done this year.  That was his first gravel metric...  Ever.  He's got the mind of the gravel racer though.  I offered him multiple bail out opportunities and even though he was really suffering, he refused each time.  Right on, brother!

October 15th:  Moonshine Metric!  Turned out to be a great night for a ride.  Eight of us took the start and five of us finished, including fellow Cup O' Dirt rider Courtney.  Just to shame us all, he rode here from Des Moines and then did the ride.  He ended up with ~240 miles in 40 hours.  Badass!

October 23rd:  Wanted to check out the course for a race I'm doing on the 30th so I rode to Marion, reset the Garmin and hit the course.  I had originally planned on riding a full, but crashed 35 miles into my ride and banged up my hand.  I rode another 10 miles before I decided to bail out, but I was still 35 miles or so from home.  I couldn't grip the handlebars properly so I was more or less one-handing the rough stuff and fast descents...  Seemed like a bad idea for a training ride.  I still managed to get enough gravel in for a metric before stopping for something to eat.  I polished off a meatloaf sandwich and some mozzi sticks and hit pavement for the bulk of the remaining miles.  Ended up with 85 on the day.

Courtney's 13th Metric and 8th Full

Courtney Hilton had this to say about his most recent rides:

Metric 13 was a good ride to Belle plain Iowa were I camped on the way to Mt Vernon.  It was 110 miles but only 60 was gravel so It's a metric.  This of course was on a loaded touring bike, too.  The next day I got in 2 metrics Belle plain to Mt Vernon and the moonshine metric, but since the total gravel mileage was over 80 for the day (well 30 minutes of it was after midnight) I'm calling it century 8.  Still on track for 1 a month but the hardest month is yet to come....December not for the cold but because of working retail and short days and it is cold usually.

Ride On!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Awe, Heck

If you haven't had the chance to ride the Heck of The North, put on by the illustrious DBD'er Jeremy Kershaw, you owe it to yourself to send a postcard in next year. It was gloriously chilly to start out the ride, then warmed up just enough for it to be comfortable. I think I had my leg warmers on the entire time. The route was a good mix of pavement, gravel, and snowmobile/hiking trails. The red and auburn colors of the trees are simply stunning this time of year, and it was a good departure from my usual roadside decor of corn or soybeans. This was probably my most enjoyable event of this year, with no super-muddy B-roads, drifts of snow, or outrageous heat/humidity. It's always great to see so many of the people that consistently show up to gravel events, and there are a lot of Arrowhead 135 riders at the Heck.

This makes 5 full centuries, and combined with the metric I bagged a little over a week ago on the mountain bike out at 7 Oaks, 9 metric centuries. Maybe I'll catch up to Courtney yet...

Joe Meiser Cup Delivery

I was up at Heck of the North (see next post) a couple of weeks ago, and was able to deliver Joe Meiser's two cups from 2009 to him. He was pretty excited - so excited, in fact, that it propelled him to a 4th place finish. Or at least that's what I'd like to think. Way to go, Joe! I snapped this photo of him enjoying his two well-deserved mugs.
I'm organizing other cup deliveries, but if you've got one coming and haven't heard from me, drop me an email.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Courtney's Two Cups

Well, Courtney Hilton has made it to the 12 metric mark. Way to go, man! With his 7 full centuries, this makes him the first person for 2011 to receive two cups. Here's what he had to say about the last two metrics:

Gravel Metric #11 (not the century I tried for)
I took off early this morning on my day off (I got Inventory day off!) with the goal of my 8th gravel Century for the year.  I could feel early on that wasn't going to happen.  I wanted to go to Pella today but I ended up at Lake Aquabi instead.  Good day on the bike even though it was a 9 hour metric (lots of stops).  Did I mention I saw the Google Street view car!  It followed me for a mile or so (hoping to be in some pictures) and then took off.

Metric #12
So on the first day of a juice fast it's always a good thing to go do an endurance ride right?  Still turned out okay though.

Drew Wilson's Update

I'll be giving Drew his Cup O' Dirt from 2009 and 2010 this coming weekend at Heck of the North. He's gotten a few in this year, too. The links in his post will take you to his own photos/writeup of the ride. You gotta respect that a few of his metrics just happened to be days of "running errands and commuting."

I spent a lot less time on gravel this year than in the last couple of
years.  Consistently putting in most of my bigger days on the road
throughout most of the spring and summer.  I think I also, overall, went
on less long rides.  Here is my current cup update with links to some of
my earlier write-ups.


1/6-  65 miles of snow covered roads/gravel.  Notes say that I rode hard
down the post office, hit some bike paths and then realized that if I
stretched my commute home a bit I could hit the Metric mark.

1/16- Triple D.  1st place non-snow bike.  Really fun duel with Ben
Shockey and his Pugsley (which I lost).
1/29- Another day of commuting and running errands that slipped over the metric mark.

2/26- CIRREM!

2/27- Gravel to Plainview and the Road Trip Bar and Grill in Dover.
Remember being VERY tired.

3/26 and 27- Spring Training Decorah.  I only made metrics both days.
Century day I got a sore back.

4/8-  Awesome ride over to Red Wing with Almanzo himself and Josh Kruck.
The next day we served wine, grapes, cheese etc. to the racers in the
Ragnarok 105.

5/1- B.A.L.L.S. Madison.  This was day 2, felt great!

6/13-  Copper Harbor trails etc..  I did a week of two-a-day rides up
there, this day was longest.

6/18-  Namakegon/Cable area trails, had to stop and ride hard on my way
back from the Keeweenaw


4/30-  B.A.L.L.S. Madison

5/14-  Almanzo Royal 162-  5th place finish.  Focus on shorter training
rides paying off?

6/4-  Dirty Kanza 200-  Too hot for me!

(8/13 Dairy Land Dare-  doesn't count, but if you don't mind pavement
this is an awesome ride.  It WOULD be gravel if it weren't in Wisconsin
where they pave everything.

9/24- Almanzo Gentleman's ride.  Doesn't get much better than this!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Craig Irving's Shameless Promotion

I was just about to finish up these updates, and then got this from Craig Irving. Go do this ride, it should be fun!

Crap, I've been slacking on my updates!  Hopefully this gets to you in time to make the latest batch.  I've got two more metrics to report, one on August 28th (84 miles) and one on September 11th (64 miles).  I don't have a Fake Richard pic for these yet, so instead I'll throw in this flyer as a shameless plug for my own ride.

Hope I'm allowed to do this :-)

65 mile night ride on October 15th everyone!  Leaving from my place at 7pm and returning around midnight.  Campfire and beverages to follow.  There may even be free food.  Details on my blog.

Metrics and Full for Nick Wethington

I have a few rides of my own to report. The first is a metric century that I got by riding up into Hardin County on August 21st. I went just south of Hubbard, then down to Colo and back to Ames. It was surely a hot one. I also did a bit of riding at one of Jared Morford's cyclocross training camps on the way out of town, so got a little of the Greenbelt in there.

The second is also a metric century, obtained on August 28th by riding from Ames to Seven Oaks on gravel, doing a couple of laps, then the return to Ames on gravel. I went with my friend/coworker Ross. The first lap at Seven Oaks was good and dry, and it was one of those first cool days we had after the heat dome was dismantled. It was overcast, and we were expecting some rain at some point during the day. Turns out, that rain started just as we were riding the second lap, and it made the trail a bit wet and muddy. Since we were both riding some new tires that we were excited to try out on different conditions, it made the perfect product test. I've never had two successive laps at Seven Oaks be so different.

I got a full century on September 7th. My girlfriend and I had started on a tour to Stewartville, MN via Decorah, and made it as far as Waverly before her knees decided that this particular cyclotour wasn't gonna end in Minnesota. So, instead of calling for help I decided to ride back to Ames and grab her Jeep. Started out at 9:11 am with cool weather and a light wind to my back. This 3-5mph tailwind helped to gently push me all the way home, and I successfully finished the fastest dirty century I've ever ridden, completing 100 miles in 7hrs 20min, and the entire 112.5 mile ride in 8 hours 10 minutes. Even though the tour was over, it was a great way to end it!

Today's Last JJM Story

I hope to space out these updates in the future, so that you'll be yearning for yet another one of Jared's Tales of Amazing Adventures on Gravel:
Hey dude,

I got another metric in. Well it was actually 61 miles followed by a ride to the coffee shop and back but all the same it was a metric's worth of riding. I rode down to hoped on the Heart of Iowa Trail rode into Slater caught the HTT then at X ave I headed towards Snus HIll Winery.  Unfortunately, they are closed on Monday. I didn't know that until I got there. Disappointed, I figured if I can't drink I might as well ride. So I decided it was a good idea to ride to Story City and go to my favorite Kum N Go in all of Story City.  When I got there I was greet by Logan, or at least that is what is name tag says,  who often greets me when I stop by.  This time he wanted to tell me about his Haro, which he later showed me because it was parked on the side of the building.  His bike was making a "clicking noise."  Perhaps the "clicking noise" was from the loose bottom bracket or the rear hub?  Either way both were extremely loose. First thing I did was make sure it didn't have an SRC sticker on the frame, it didn't I was relieved...  All the same Logan and I had a great bonding experience.

However, what annoys me more than anything is when I meet someone from the city who meets me at the intersection of a gravel road and says, "Hey, are you lost?"  I was going 16mph on gravel until I slowed down and you decided to stick your head out the window of your car compact car. How do I know it was someone from the city?  Because they were driving a compact car down gravel and there was no dust on their vehicle. Also, when a farmer pulls over in his dusty pickup he asks, "Where are you riding too?"  Any farmer knows if I'm silly enough to ride down gravel, I know or at least have a general idea where I am going.

It was a great ride! Last week, I went 80ish and the gravel was pretty much sand so a weeks worth of rain did wonders for the gravel north of Ames.

Aside from the Snus Hill being closed, the city slicker asking me if I was lost, the worst part was I had nobody to ride with, but sometimes even flying solo is awesome!

Wish I could have zoomed in with my phone, but this is a cool corner because over looks Story City and you can see a ton of wind turbines.

Since my tour to SD I really like looking at dead stuff on the road...

More Stories from Jared

Sit in your favorite chair by the fire for another story from The Book of Jared Morford's Swashbuckling Adventures:
August 28th in an effort to get my cup o dirt rides in I decided I would ride from Ames to Stratford. I would choose to go from Ames, to Story City, to Stanhope, to Stratford.  I figured if I went through some towns on the way there it would be fun and break up the ride. I thought it was about 65 miles so I figured it would be perfect, the weather was suppose to be warm but that doesn't bother me as long as i stay hydrated. Me and five friends rode from Ames to Story City on the Greenbelt trail and called it cyclocross practice.  At Story City we stopped at a gas station got drinks and chatted about bike nerd stuff, you know wheels and carbon stuff. Then we split up, me and a friend from the shop were going to make the 65 mile ride.

It was great, we were cruising along on hard packed gravel and made it to Stratford. My buddy was tired but he was doing fine. I felt great and probably over confident as usual. Up until this point the gravel was amazing! Nice and hard packed and we were talking how great the roads were and remeniscing about the two b-roads we went down.

The tides turn, I swear the wind changed and we now riding into the same head wind we rode to Stratford into... No biggie though, we are strong enough riders to deal with headwinds. Just quit whining and ride... But it got worse, once we got onto gravel and start heading southeast towards Ames the gravel was terrible. It wasn't gravel, it was said from being so dry.  On the way to Stratford, we were going 16-20 mph and having a blast! We could hardly maintain 13mph and I couldn't find a hard packed line to save my life. Once climbing a hill a quarter of a mile west of highway 17 mile rear wheel washed out climbing a hill and I got off my bike and walked no only the hill but the next quarter mile to the highway. I was hoping to get a little rest as well better gravel on the other side. Not the case. Not until about 15 miles Northwest of Ames did the roads get hard packed again.

Despite all of that, it was a great ride. I got to ride on a beautiful day with great friends. The moral of the story is, "Don't Ride Gravel in Boone Country!"

I did take a picture of the B-road street sign we went down at 370th and Queens.  The other b-road we went down a couple more miles northwest was a b-road then a road that had been returned to the farmer... that was a pleasant surprise...

Storytime from JJM

I once asked Jared to send me lengthier updates than "Stanope>Story City and back. Have a good weekend Your friend Jared". I got what I asked for!

So since you wanted to me tell a story here goes.

So when I was deployed in Iraq one of my return home war things I wanted to do was ride from Ames, IA to Watertown, SD which happens to be the town I grew up in.  It has been three years in October since I returned home and riding home was all that was left on the list. So I did it!  It was great, lonely, but great! I sang alot of songs that I don't want to admit to knowing the lyrics to. The first two days i rode 200 miles 170 of those miles were gravel. That was fun but I had 350 miles to from Ames to Watertown and I was worried riding gravel would fatigue me. So the last two days of the trip were paved highways.

My favorite part of the tour was being surprised by the Three Rivers Trail. Starting in Eagle Grove, IA I rode it to Rutland which was at least 25 miles. It was a complete surprise that this tremendously under used crushed limestome rail to trail path was part of my route. I let google be my navigator... overall that was a bad idea.  On the trail I saw five people in 25 plus miles. It was great! It was the kind of trail you dream of because you have it to yourself, but as an avid cyclist you realize you need more riders riding. What a quagmire.

I took some fun photos and did alot of filming, I am hoping to make a video of the ride which is still being worked on. When the video is completed I will get Nick to put it up on the site or get him the youtube link.

Matt Maxwell Joins the Chase!

Matt Maxwell, who many of you surely know, has decided to attempt a cup or two this year. He's earned his share of cups in the past, and drinks his coffee from one daily at our mutual place of employment. It's been broken twice (and re-glued) by our boss, so he needs another one for the workplace. Here's what he has so far:

I'm throwing my hat in the ring.  As you can see I haven't been making stellar progress.  A lot of that is because my focus is shifting away from cycling to running and skiing.  If the judges allow I'll add my run/walk of the Arrowhead (double metric?).  Otherwise I don't know if I'm going to make it this year. 

CIRREM (63 miles)
Memorial Day weekend back to back (62 miles x2)
Trans Iowa (shortened ~80)
Gentleman's Race (~65)
To GTDRI (134 miles, let's count this as a double metric)
Back from GTDRI (101 miles)
24 Hours of Seven Oaks (104 miles)

That's 7 metrics and two full.
If you read carefully, you'll see that Matt wants to add his run/walk from the Arrowhead (135 miles in the -40 degree temps of northern Minnesota in January/February). What do you think? I'll leave it to the people. I will say this, even if it influences the judges: if a person can run/walk/ski/crawl the same distance on dirt/gravel/snow that you can do on a bike, maybe we should count it? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

A Few More from Courtney

Here's your somewhat monthly Cup Chase Update! Courtney Hilton sent me a few more of his rides from the end of July/beginning of August:

Metric #9 was on the tandem with my daughter riding up to Ragbrai
And Century #7 was the Guitar Ted Death Ride in Tama County

Both really hot days but a good time non the less.

Metric #10 Yesterday(August 11th).  74 miles of mud, sand, gravel, RR tracks, b roads, atv trails.... Great Pugsley Adventure

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jared Morford and Nick Wethington Updates

I'm making Jared share this post with me because he didn't send much for lengthy updates on his activities, and he also loves sharing. He did 70 gravel miles in the greatest state of South Dakota around the 26th of June, which should maybe count as a full because it's in South Dakota, but he did it in the eastern half of the state, so there's really question as to whether it counts at all. Jared also did another metric through Stanhope and Story City from Ames around July 3rd.

I did a nice, hot metric to celebrate my birthday on July 29th up to Dakin's Lake Park and back to Ames through Colo. I have to say that the public park in Colo has some nice drinking water.

Keep sending in those updates, and all keep posting them, and will try to do so in a more timely manner!

Craig Irving Metric and Full Updates

Craig Irving had this to report for his June and July activities. If you're reading this in a feed reader, you will see two of these posts because I was too dumb to scroll down to the bottom of my email reader to see Craig's latest update. Sorry 'bout that.
I have a couple more rides to report, one full century (6/19) and one metric (6/26).  I'm doing these singlespeed now since DK ate my second derailleur of the year.  I can tell the blackbirds don't approve though.  I think it's because they were displaced from their native land by early hipster settlers.  I tried pedaling backwards to show them I wasn't riding fixed, but they had already mistaken my bike shorts for skinny jeans so it was too late and I was forced to ride through the relay kamikaze attacks for miles at a time.

So...  Yeah.
 He had this to say about July. I'm curious as to if the goat caught him or not, and what the goat did with him if that happened...
I've got two more rides to report.  On the 4th of July I did a metric hitting many of the B roads in the area.  After 50 miles my knees were bothering me and I skipped some steep rollers, but otherwise it was a good ride.

On July 16th I was down in Lathrop, MO to take part in the Farmhouse Classic.  This was my first race since converting to singlespeed and it went well for the first 70 miles or so.  After that the suffocating heat finally started wearing me down and I struggled to keep moving over the last two hours.  Of the four bottles I had with me, two went over my head in a futile effort to keep cool.  Our group was the last one in on the day at a little over 8 1/2 hours for 99.2 miles.  The course was actually 93 miles, but of course it's not gravel racing unless you get lost.  I figure I did at least point eight worth of warmup so I'm counting this as a full hundy.

One more thing...  I can finally cross "get chased by a goat" off my gravel racing wish list.

Dave Giegerich Metrics 12 and 13

Dave Giegerich had this to say about his metrics 12 and 13. This qualifies him to be the first winner of our Cup O' Dirt for metric centuries! Way to go, Dave!

Metric Gravel #12 6/23/11

Starting out today the air was thick with moisture. That soon turned into a mist, and then light rains, and  then thunderstorms. With the rains came solitude out on the trails. The longer I rode the less everything else became. If was I worried about anything, I had forgotten what it was. I was pulled into my own little world of endorphins as I was viewing the trail in front of me and rotating the pedals. Flying down a dirt trail. I love the simpleness of that. Riding was now lost in my daydreams, no cell phone calls, no time restraints, no reason to care what time it was. Feelings like these, is why a lot of bicyclers bicycle. Health gains are only a side benefit of something done for the sheer joy it.

Metric Gravel #13 6/25/11 Power levels were good today, was able to push the pace most of the Metric. The last 5 miles I ran out of gas, and labored to get home. Beer and food next on the agenda.

Thanks for the Chase
Dave Giegerich

Courtney Hilton - Full Centuries 4, 5, 6

Here's what I got from Courtney Hilton, who jumped ahead in the full century category and has 6 total. This makes him the first person this year (that I'm aware of, anyway) to get what Dave Mable calls the Cup O' Mississippi Mud. Here's what he had to report from his individual centuries:

I got Century 4 on June 4 at DK200.  I failed to complete the race at 158 miles in....
Here is the link to the video from the end the rest of the videos I took from the road are on my blog and Youtube.
Did century #5 on my single speed yesterday (June 29th).  Went north to Boone, Luther, Madrid, Woodward.  Very warm outside.
Got number 6 yesterday (July 15th) 130 miles.  Took the Heart Of Iowa nature trail for 70 of it.

Updates from July in August

Holy crap - I didn't post any updates for the Cup O' Dirt in July. Sorry about this, guys. Work and more work and some other crap got in the way. But that doesn't mean people weren't racking up rides to qualify for some cups! Read the next few posts to see what people have been up to.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nick Larson Bags #4 Metric

Nick Larson - the "other" Nick, as he puts it - had this to say about his fourth gravel metric for the year. On with the chase, Nick! For more photos, check out his Picasa gallery.

I logged gravel metric number 4 on Sunday.  I headed off down Adams St. for Earlham with a pit stop at Badger Creek.  Missed the turn off for Badger Creek and ended up taking a break in a corn field.  Oh well, good times were had.

Dave G. Heats it Up

Here's a report from the gravel metric king Dave Giegerich.

#7  5/27/11
#8  5/30/11 As you can see below #8 kicked my butt. I got sick the next day took almost 2 weeks to get rid of a sinus/throat/eyeball infection. Maybe I was coming down with it or the heat let in. Well I chalk it up to training and no pain no gain. :-)

YIKES!!!  Got Zzapped riding today. Was about 90 and humid. Usually I have tolerated much better then I did today. Perhaps, just maybe it's due to I am older, fatter, and uglier each passing year. At about mile 20 on a gravel road, riding my Trek XO2 Cycle Cross, my fluids were gone. 82 ounces. 10 more riding miles, I came to a small town park water fountain. I drank 24 oz, and filled my 24 oz water bottle full. I didn't know just how much I could trust this water, and needed to drink about a gallon before I would be back home. So I found a vending machine and paid to fill up the rest of my bottles.
My stomach was full of fluids but yet my mouth was dry, I wasn't processing fluids as fast as my body was evaporating them to stay cool.
Then signs of heat stress hit. With out the detail I found a bush to hide behind, I don't know why, I was somewhere in nowhere,  and I couldn't hold on anymore, and was glad I  packed some wet ones along for the trip. I would have two more stops at outdoor small town park out houses.
Feeling dizzy, no cell phone service, I started heading home. Sprinkling water on me and down my spine to help cool off. The wind picked up and the added evaporation had me feeling better. I had some concern about going down in this heat. I kept a close watch on my thoughts, was feeling a little whacky and my eyes played tricks on me.
 I thought about getting in the creek for more cool down, but felt good enough to just keep going and get home.
#9  6/11/11
#10 6/16/11
#11 6/18/11 Rode hard today, felt good but left nothing in my gas tank so taking a few days off from the metrics, and be back at em.

Thanks for the Chase

Craig Irving's Dirty Kanza Experience Says It All

As someone who rode as much of the Dirty Kanza 200 this year as possible before succumbing to heat exhaustion, I can honestly report that Craig's rundown of the event here is pretty representative of those couple hundred people that had to hang it up. Mechanical issues from the mud that followed from a quickly moving storm, which followed 94-degree heat and wind made for a fun, challenging race! If you love gravel riding, the Dirty Kanza is not to be missed.

Made it about 140 miles at this year's Dirty Kanza before my rear derailleur decided to donkey up and get stubborn on me.  This was it's final act of protest immediately following a 3-1/2 mile slog through some nasty Iowa mud that someone conveniently left in Kansas.  Of the 15-20 people that came through that section while I was there, five of us lost our derailleurs on it.  I could've converted to single speed, but I weaseled out at this point and called my ride.  I feel approximately 18% less manly now.  It would be more, but I salvaged a couple points by downing a Bud Light that I scored from some four wheelers while I waited.

On a side note, I got to meet and ride with (for a bit) fellow Cup O' Dirt rider Courtney Hilton.  Also spent some time chatting with Mr. Cup O' Dirt Nick the day before the race as well.  It's nice getting to know the folks I read about on the COD.  I'm looking forward to seeing you guys around more.
As a professional bicycle mechanic, my diagnosis would be to poke at that derailleur and say, "Yup, that's your problem right there."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Century for Dave Mable

Here's Dave Mable's century report. This was delivered by telegram (unfortunately he didn't spring for a singing one) and is transcribed here directly:

Put me down for a century. Almanzo 100. Hardest day on a bike. Period.
Dee and I rode tandem. Made it. dude.
You can certainly tell who was stoking the tandem, and who was the captain.
Way to go, Dave!

The Return of a God

That's a god, not the God. Dave Giegerich is back in the saddle racking up the dirty metric centuries. Here's a couple of reports from the deity himself.

Dear Mr. Nick,
I am guilty of two things. 1. Not getting enough gravel time in. 2. Not reporting my dirty "Cs"

Ok well I am changing that.
I now have four metrics. Here are the last not reported three.
May 7, 14, and 18.
Today's right was great, started to rain and the wind whipped up, I was underdressed, so I just held onto a hard pace to keep warm.

Found out I just can't ride 1000s of miles and not do counter exercises and stretchings not at my old age anyhow. Working on shoulder and wrist injuries recovery. Going good. Hope to start banging out two "Cs" a week now.
"It's no big deal."

Hi Nick,
This weekend was a riding weekend. Saturday and Sunday I rode a Metric gravel each day that makes Metric #6 for the year. Saturday it rained for the first 20 miles, soaking me. But if you want to ride, it works best to learn to ride, rain, heat, snow, or dark, it's part of the fun.
Sunday, the legs were feeling a little tired but knew I would feel better to ride then the feeling of not riding. Ran into a large bull staring me down on the trail and turned around and back tracked, he was unwilling to move out of my way, and he was scaring me.

Attached is a picture of the trail starting to grow shut.
Thanks for the chase.
Dave Giegerich
 I just noticed that this post contains references/quotes from two separate films, both spoken by the same actor. Anyone who can identify these should speak up in the comments to win a free pony ride!

3rd Century for Courtney Hilton

Courtney Hilton has his 3rd century for the year, which he bagged on May 16th. Here's a photo he sent to me. Check out his blog for more!

Craig Irving Gets Serious

It's been a while! I have a few updates to share with y'all from the month of May. Here's the first, from Craig Irving. His report exemplifies what riding and competing is all about: the enjoyment of the sport. It takes a lot to finish a race that you won't get official credit for, and we've all been out on rides that could be made a lot easier with one cell phone call to the significant other. Hats off to Craig.

I'm giving fake Richard the day off for this one because I don't want to trivialize what this race meant to me.  At 7am on Saturday, May 14th I started the Royal 162 alongside sixty other people.  At 2am on Sunday, May 15th I finished the Royal 162 alongside two other people.  Don, Zack and I finished four hours outside the time cut.  We didn't care.  We won't be recognized as official finishers in this race.  We don't care. We fought wind, rain, cold, navigational errors  and crushing lows, but we completed this beast of a race.  For us, it was a huge matter of pride.  We all missed the first cut at Trans Iowa and we were determined to make up for it here.  Mission accomplished, in a big way.  On paper this was my worst performance of the year, second only to Trans Iowa.  In reality, it's the biggest win I've ever had in bike racing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Courtny Hilton's 8th Metric

Courtney Hilton, our leader in the gravel metric category so far this year, has reported yet another one.
5/6 finished metric #8. Single speed mountain bike through the hills west of West Des Moines.  Now getting ready for Almonzo 100.
 The rest of ya - get on your bikes and start reporting those rides!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another Metric for Craig Irving

Richard Simmons can eat his heart out. Here's the latest from Craig Irving:

I'm a bit late in reporting this, but I logged another metric on May 1st. 65 miles and two bonks in total.  It was one of those days where I got too caught up in the ride and forgot to eat.  Oops.  Luckily I had my nutritionist on hand to take care of my post-ride recovery meal. 

Next up on the agenda:  Royal 162.  It's gonna take a whole lotta Fake Richard to pull this one off...
 You may have to click on that there photo to read what Richard has to say, but it's worth it.

I have my own metric to report, too. I rode out to Whiterock Conservancy on Sunday to fix some bikes, eat good food and go canoeing. Ended up with 75 miles, about 65 of those on gravel. The wind blew me most of the way there, so it felt like cheating, but I rode a single-speed so that made up for it. Right?

Keep the updates coming, folks!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chalk up Another for Courtney Hilton

Courtney Hilton has completed his second full century for the year. He's racking the rides up fast! Here's what he had to say:

106 miles, 3k of climbing, one B road that ended in an electric fence, and another that ended in a river, over the Hogback bridge complete with dog chase to the top of the hill, and a detour to climb 'cemetery hill' complete with a dog to help push me to zone 5 80 miles into my ride. GOOD DAY.
That sounds like a very enviable ride. Here's photos!

 We've been having some great weather here in the state of Iowa, so get out there and enjoy it on your bikes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Cup Chaser - Nick Larson

We have another chaser in the Cup O' Dirt challenge - Nick Larson. Here's what the newbie has to say:

I would like to throw my name in to the hat for the 2011 cup o dirt.

I currently have 3 dirty metrics completed.  On 2/5 I rode the GRR2BRR from Steve Fullers house to BRR and back.  On 2/12 Courtney Hilton, Squirrel and I rode to Earlham and back.  And then there was CIRREM. My goal is to complete 12 metrics.  Only 9 more to go!

Click on the links above for a number of great photos of Nick's various rides. He's well on his way to a metric cup. From one Nick to another - keep 'em coming!

Craig Irving Update

Well, here are a few updates from before Trans-Iowa. I was busy with work and preparations, so didn't get the chance to put everything up here. First, we have Craig Irving's first full century. He writes:
Well, after a handful of rides that either fell just short of a metric or didn't quite meet the 80% rule I finally have another one to report.  I'm happy to say I was able to complete the Ragnarok 105 (111?) last weekend.  I have to admit, I had some unexpected inspiration late in the game as you can see in the picture.

I'll give extra credit to anyone who I see riding around with this image on their shirt, hat, or taped to their handlebars. I hope we get more artwork like this in the future! Check out Craig's blog at or by clicking on his name on the left sidebar.

I ran into Craig at the end of our Trans-Iowa experience at the first checkpoint. A huge section of the field missed the first cutoff due to navigational errors, wind, and the other factors that make Trans-Iowa a difficult and wonderful race. It was my first time attempting it, and I'm already excited to try again next year - obviously, I didn't suffer enough.

A bunch of people did ride back to Grinnell (the start) for a metric century. I clocked close to 90 miles, about 30 or so on pavement, so at least I got something out of my DNF. Craig did the same, so he gets another metric next to his name, for 1 full and 3 metric reported so far this year.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dave Giegerich's 1st Metric

You may be aware of the legend that is Dave Giegerich. If not, look into the archives of this blog or check out his very own entertaining web presence. Mister Giegerich did 100 metric centuries last year, setting a record for the Cup O' Dirt as well as inspiring all of us to get off of our butts and pedal more. He's got one down this year:
I have a confession to make. One Metric completed 4/3/11 on my 58th birthday. Distance is a a bit down this year working out a rotator cuff problems. (Too many ice crashes) Improving. Thanks for the chase.
Methinks the man has been distracted by road riding, as evidenced by the following photo. Hopefully some good drugs from the doc and an orchestrated "disappearance" of his road bike might give the legend another 100-century year. It's for your own good, Dave!

Courtney Hilton Will Crush Us All

Courtney Hilton has another two metric centuries to report. If'n you want to even try to catch up to him, you had better invent a time machine and start last month. Here's what he has to say, along with his photos:

Metric 6 -3/27 - Wasn't even going for a gravel ride,  I really was going to ride the High trestle trail but after the 32 mile gravel ride to the trail I rode "The Bridge" and decided to go rock road back home.
Metric 7 - 4/1 - Holy Wind!  Got back to were I bailed on Cirrem didn't ride the whole course but stopped for a photo op.

April Update Showers

We're finally seeing some decent weather around the state! Next thing you know, it'll be 90 degrees and 90% humidity. Gotta love Iowa for that.

Dave Mable did the Gents Race for 65 miles, putting him at two metric centuries. And we have another chaser - Dave Tyler. He writes:
In the bag: CIRREM and Ragnorok 111. I have 4 more 100 milers on the calendar and one more 100K...the 100k is a Pbville qualifier. If I do well I could have a 6th 100 miler on tap. I'll keep you posted. Don't forget this year's Jackrabbit 100 on Oct. 15.
Welcome to the chase, Mr. Tyler.

I have another full century of my own to report. A windy ride to Jefferson and back yesterday. I felt every bit of the 25 mph gusts outta the northwest, both coming and going. The temperature was around 60 degrees, which made for a really nice day out on the gravel. This puts me at 3 full centuries and 2 metrics. I must be slowing down in my old age...

Trans-Iowa is coming up in less than two weeks, so we should have a decent amount of updates after everyone recovers from that. Enjoy your April showers!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

An Update from Dave Mable

Dave Mable, founder of the Cup o' Dirt, just sent me this last week.
Chalk me up for one metric! With Leadville on the horizon - i might just earn one of these little puppies.
And this rather enticing photo, below. The cups for 2009 and 2010 should be on their way shortly!
This is some nice cup architecture.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More March Updates

Some soupy gravel near the Des Moines river. There were still a few ice chunks on the opposite side of the road from the river!
A few more updates from those who have been enjoying spring weather in Iowa. Courtney Hilton got his fifth metric on the 14th with a 77-mile ride out of West Des Moines, and scoped out a potential route for an official Cup O' Dirt ride. You hear that right - more details to come.

Myself, Paul Jacobson, and Jared Morford did a full century a little over a week ago on the 13th. It was Jared's first full gravel century, and he rode the tights off of Paul and I. Good work, Jared! It started out pretty darn cold, but the day got much nicer and warmer. We went up to Stratford then to LeHigh and back through Stratford to Ames along the river valley. It was too cold for mushy gravel in the morning, but it got a little tougher to ride in the afternoon. Quite a fun day for a century.

Keep sending in updates, lurkers.

New Cup Chaser - Craig Irving

Richard Simmons, eat your heart out.
We have another Cup O' Dirt chaser, Craig Irving. He jokingly asked if there was any hazing involved in the process, and I jokingly replied, "Maybe one should have to ride their first metric in nothing but a speedo or bikini? With a clown wig." I immediately received the above photo, which is no joke.

To get to know the man behind the wig, here's a bit about Craig:
I live in Mount Vernon, IA and I've been a cyclist for 15 years.  I got back into racing last year after a 10 year layoff and now focus on sucking at endurance events.  My big goal this year is to finish either Trans Iowa or Dirty Kanza, or maybe even both if I can find the right lamp to rub.  When I'm not working or riding you can usually find me tinkering in the garage, wasting time on the computer or (unsuccessfully) attempting to ignore my girlfriend's "requests" for me to do some housework.
Craig finished both the Triple D and CIRREM, for two metrics so far in 2011. Welcome to the chase! We all look forward to seeing more photos.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Updates from Courtney Hilton and JJM

The weather's getting nicer, so you should be out there getting more rides in! Here's another update from Courtney Hilton:
I've been a little under the weather the last couple days but I got the first full century in on 2/17.  South through Earlham and Winterset, this was my first ride of any real distance on a geared bike this year.  Attached are some Pictures.
 We also have another cup chaser, Jared J. Morford. He happens to work with me at Skunk River Cycles, and with his successful CIRREM finish he's got two metrics so far this year. Welcome to the chase, Jared.

I sadly missed out on the snowy, cold fun that was CIRREM because I was on the verge of harfing up my breakfast that morning. There's always next year, right?
Keep sending those updates in to iowacupodirt _at_ gmail -dot- com.