Friday, December 14, 2012

Update from Courtney Hilton

Here's the first of what I hope are many updates from Courtney Hilton. For more pictures from this training ride that he and a few other chasers went on, check out his blog post here.

So I'm a little behind on updates....
So first, Century 1,2.
April 1 or the April fools ride, we made it to south lineville mo.  This was our last training ride for trans iowa.  More updates to come as soon as I have time to type them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Andrea Venteicher Finishes with 12 and 12!

Andrea Venteicher just sent me these two updates. Congratulations, Andrea, on your finish of both the full and metric Cup O' Dirt challenges in a single year, and your first year chasing the cup at that! I know how tough it is to complete this, and you did it with style. Please do let us know if Lee knocks out 8 full centuries in the remainder of December.

From December 2nd:

Holy crap holy crap holy crap!!!  I did it! (mostly).  I just polished off my December full century, which means that i have completed most of my goal!!  I just have a metric to do, and then i can....well, i don't know what that gets me, but at least this goal will be complete.  It was really dark and stupid foggy when i finally got done.
Thanks for the chase!  Rock on!!  Wooooo!!
And from December 9th:

Howdy! I am so excited that I got my December metric done, which puts me at 12 full, 12 metric, one in each calendar month of the year! December 8 was a flawless day with blue skies and no wind, so I rode my last metric down to the mighty Mississippi, then back up into the bluffs. The picture below is an unusually placid Mississippi. 

Lee intends to cash in his 8 metrics and 4 full for a Liter of dirt (unless---and this is possible---he rides another 8 full between now and the end of December; don’t count him out!) Lee is also solely responsible for keeping my bike in shape such that I had NO MECHANICALS or even so much as a flat tire in my 1,980 miles of gravel, snow, and dirt. (I am so spoiled; it took me two rides to finally ask him about “that funny grinding noise” that was my bottom bracket’s death rattle).

This year has been amazing; I can’t thank you enough for hosting this very motivating challenge! I have learned that Kwik Star has the best chocolate milk, Bar Mitts are the best, you can actually warm yourself by sticking Toasti Toes adhesive warmers to your body, and Nutter Butters are proof that God loves us. And that you really can win an argument against your own mind when you’re alone and talking to yourself for nearly 1800 of those miles. Also that Pink is a terrible singer to have in your head (shudder). And always add plenty of salt to your Camelbak, no matter what the outside temperature is. These are the primary bits of advice I have for next year’s newbie chasers. 

I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone else’s ride reports, and I’ll be watching for more reports in 2013. Thanks for making the world just a little bit dirtier!


Friday, November 30, 2012

A.J. Turner's Endurance Riding Menu

I know a few guys that love the bacon and orange slices, but beef sticks and beer in the middle of a ride definitely sounds like it would perk a guy up! Keep on it, Austin.

Hey Nick,
Sorry I've been behind on reporting my gravel metrics. (Nick - Sorry I've been behind on posting them!)
The first was solely on a 29" single speed mountain bike. A faulty shifter on my 'cross bike led me to ride this - It was just too nice of a weekend in November NOT to ride, so I couldn't resist and trudged out a metric. Date - November 4th
After securing a new shifter and overcoming a bad Jingle Cross hangover, I set out for 70 miles on November 25th with two buddies to go explore some previously un-discovered B-roads north of Iowa City. Loads of fun, and I snapped a photo of my two riding partners. Another mechanical issue occurred  however, and a cassette had to be tightened with a pair of car keys. Score one for ingenuity.
Rushing to catch up with my cup-o-dirt challenge for the year, I hopped on the bike again immediately the day after on November 26th. The cold weather and strong winds made things difficult, but fun B-roads around Green Castle and a pit stop for beef sticks and Millstream Beer made things much more enjoyable. Also, no mechanical issues made the ride much more pleasant.
I've attached three photos - The first is from the November 25th ride with friends, and the other two are from the November 26th ride. Enjoy.
Thanks again for the chase!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Venteicher November Update

And here's the November update from Andrea and Lee Venteicher (well, mostly Andrea this month):

Hey! I’m happy to report that my Novmber rides are done. I did a Full from Waukon to Rochester, MN (my dear sweet husband then retrieved me and even took me to Coldstone for ice cream). I got a Metric in yesterday, through Waterville, Postville, and Frankville (lots of Villes around here, apparently). It’s depressing how early it gets dark! I took this picture at a beautiful sunset (the phone camera doesn’t nearly do it justice), and it’s a good metaphor for my 2012 cup o’ dirt chase; nearly complete, but pretty awesome. So that’s 11 and 11 for Andrea, but Lee has no more rides to report. Thanks again for the chase!

October Venteicher Update

The Venteichers are still cranking out the rides. Keep on riding, Andrea! It'll be great to hand you two cups for the year!

Howdy from NE Iowa!  Lee and I got down to business again this month, with Lee doing another Metric (for a total of 8 metric and 4 full this year).  I did a full from Decorah through Harmony and Spring Grove, MN, and the metric with Lee through Waterville, Volney, and Postville, IA (in case anyone was wondering, the hill on Linton Rd before it intersects with Bigfoot Rd along the Yellow River is a real doozy).  Can't complain at all about the weather, so I'll just whine a little about all of the roads being freshly graded one last time prior to switching the maintainers over to snowplows.  I'm now at 10 full and 10 metrics, so just gotta put the Bar Mitts on for two more months to complete the quest!  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to ride on snowpack again soon...
If anyone wants to come up to our neck of the woods to ride these gnarly hills, we'd be happy to house you!
Everyone stay safe in the dark; talk to you next month!
Andrea and Lee

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

With Apologies to Timothy McGovern

Hello there Cup O' Dirt fans. It's been too long since I updated, so I figured it's time to clean out the inbox and let you all know what's been going on with other riders. First up, Timothy McGovern has this excellent update on some of his rides from the year. He sent this in a while ago, and I've been too lazy to update things, so sorry, Tim. Way to go at Moab on the SS!

Here's a (too) long and (half) late update on my Cup-o-Dirt. May not make it to ten metrics (this year!) but I've been having a blast.

The Galena Gravel Grinder Rustic Road Ride, yowza, four months ago -- the itching has pretty much gone away, so I think I can say it was a fantastic ride in the middle of The Worst Camping Trip of All Time. 
Not Recommended: camping right next to the Big Muddy in June.
Especially not recommended: putting your six-year-old where she can wiggle the tent door open. We had so many mosquito bites we looked like a chicken pox sanatorium. But the ride was challenging, beautiful, and--bonus--three of the riders had a background in plant biology. Incredibly learned.

And Four:
24 Hours of Moab.
Last November my friend Bajji (he lives in Colorado; I live in Chicago) emailed me to say, “hey, want to do 24 Hours of Moab next year?” I immediately said, “hell, yes.” It was far enough off to “plan” for it, meaning somehow get my hands on a mountain bike. And presumably get my butt on it, too. The one kink the plan would be getting said bike onto actual mountain trails with said butt and hands on it…but no matter. As luck would have it, a friend was selling a Surly 1x1 a few weeks later. Oh yes. Single speed.

Long story short, “training” consisted of an awful lot of flat riding on the Surly, mixing in some riding along the deteriorating limestone blocks that ring the local park.
When you factor in the exposure of riding across the top of these beasts, it’s a little hair-raising. Thankfully (?), with two kids and a full-time job, my training hours basically only happen at night, so the darkness wouldn’t be a worrisome factor.

We tried to line up two more riders, for a 4-person team in the Just-for-fun category but riders kept falling through/pulling out (work, family, separated shoulder…) so we found ourselves at the start line with two, and we shifted our entry to the “Duo Open” category—or so we’d been offered; but “Duo Pro” is what it was. Pro? Yup, we were outgunned.

Considering that you could count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been mountain biking in mountains, I was pretty happy with my performance (below).  Huge banked descents; monster climbs; rock gardens; rock ‘staircases’; two track, doubletrack, slickrock, and not an inch of pavement. The course was pretty sandy, which played to the strengths of someone who commutes in snow for as many days as  it snows in Chicago (more than a few).

Got a lot of compliments on my bike. “Whoa, that’s hardcore.” “Old school!” “You’re a braver man than I am, with that bike.” I wasn’t the only steel rider, and wasn’t the only single-speed, and wasn’t the only hard-tail or 26er, but I was one of only a small handful of rim-braked riders.  I took consolation in knowing that many people probably broke something that costs more than my whole bike to replace.

Photos (a fairly small, random set) here:’s hard to take pictures when you’re trying to go fast and, oh, yah, not die.

Fastest lap: 1:45:57 Laps completed: 5 Total Elevation Gain: 6800 ft
Total Distance Travelled: 74.55 miles=METRIC plus!
Lap 1 : 1:45:57
Lap 2 : 1:57:56
Lap 3 : 2:22:51
Lap 4 : 2:46:20
Lap 5 : 2:07:26

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spooky Venteicher Update

This is an amazing photo that will make for a great Halloween pic. As you can see, the Venteichers are not slowing down one bit!

Wow! September was awesome! I am so excited about more of this cool fall weather. Lee and I did a metric from Decorah to Spring Grove, MN, hitting such defunct towns as HIghlandville, Quandahl, and Bee, all near the IA/MN border. That route was hilly, but very pretty. My full for the month was from Iowa City to Manchester; my riding companion on that ride did not fare so well, tragically. (Should’ve hydrated better. ) So that puts Lee at 7 metrics, 4 full for the year, and Andrea at 9 and 9. 75% done! Hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am out there!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Austin Turner's Updates

Austin/A.J. Turner had a few updates on his rides for us for September. I think losing derailleurs is just part of riding gravel these days.

From September 10th:

Just another quick addition to the Cup-O-Dirt chase.
Knocked off the 6th metric this weekend. Discovered some new B-Roads around Kalona and managed to tear a derailleur off. Thanks to some handy work, a single speed was made and the remaining miles were completed. 

From September 24th:

Chalk up another full gravel century for me. 105 total miles at The Gritty Brevet, a fun event put together by 30th Century Bikes.
A.J. Turner

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scott McConell September Update

This sounds like it was a fantastic ride. Way to rock it on the single-speed, Scott.

Wanted to pass along an update. Please add 3 full centuries to my tally. Two weekends ago, I completed Trans North Georgia. It is a 350 mile, self supported adventure across the mountains and dirt of North Georgia.  I can claim that I am the second rider to completd the course on a single speed ever.........

blues skies,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Update Week!

It's been a while since I've posted updates. I don't think there was too much going on over the summer with people because of the heat, but in the last couple of weeks I've seen an uptick in updates and rides. Thank goodness for cool fall weather. I can't wait for the snow...

Here's the oldest update from Andrea Venteicher from August. Enjoy!

Hey!  I hope everyone has been enjoying themselves out there; August turned out pretty awesome, considering how ugly July was!  I got in a pretty uneventful Full south of Iowa City on August 11th, while Lee was winning, yes winning, the Iowa Road Race Championship near Riverside.  Guess he didn't need me to cheer him on after all! Too bad his 96 miles were all pavement.  Lee and I rode the Itchy Koo metric up near the Minnesota border again on August 19th, and while it was a little less painful than when we did it in the ice and snow, the 7500 feet of climbing in that route still wrecks me!  So that puts Lee at 6 metrics and 4 full for the year, and Andrea at 8 Full and 8 Metrics.  Rock on, everybody!
Andrea V.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Craig Irving's Update and Moonshine Metric 2 Plug

 I spent a little time with Craig last week riding some of the sweet trails at Sugar Bottom (get it?). I showed up to find him dressed in the attire you see here. As you can also see from the poster for the Moonshine Metric Boogaloo, this appears to be his normal attire. Well, we all gotta do something special. Craig did indeed ride as shown, though he had a helmet on. Can you tell that lifting all of those Cup O' Dirt mugs makes you buff? The farmer tan is an unintended side-effect of the awesomeness.

First off:  The update.  Two weekends ago I participated in The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and by "participated in" I mean "tested the limits of the no drop rule".  Apparently I spent too much time this summer riding the couch and not enough time riding the bike.  I made it halfway through before pulling the plug, which was good enough for a metric. 
Now to the nitty gritty.  On September 29th I will once again be hosting the Moonshine Madness Gravel ride, a 65 mile gravel grinder out of Mount Vernon, IA.  What's so special about it, you ask? 
It's run entirely at night. 
Sound exciting?  Well I invite all you Cup O' Dirt folks to join me on this little adventure.  For more info, check out the website at

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nick W. Updates and 2011 Cups

I've got a couple rides to report for myself. I did a metric on July 4th to celebrate America. I also got to celebrate the discovery of the Higgs particle (or a particle that is new that has qualities which would be expected of the Higgs, to be pedantic). Yay for that and fireworks! Took the single-speed 29'er up the Greenbelt trail north of Ames, then went to 7 Oaks for a full lap. It started to get too hot to be comfortable, so I busted it back to Ames. 75 miles, mostly on gravel or singletrack. Finished by soaking my head in the water from the hose in the front lawn. That was freaking amazing.

My other metric was the Iowa Games Gravel Grinder. My friend and fellow Cup O' Dirt chaser Jared Morford held this event on July 7th. I was feeling pretty fast and had enough supplies for the whole 72 miles, so was able to lead the pack until my legs cramped at about 55 miles in. Matt Maxwell had been biting at my wheels for most of the race, so took the opportunity to pass me for the win. I still managed a 2nd place finish, and it was a helluva course that took us around Ames on some of my favorite roads and hills. You should make it a point to enter next year's race! After finishing, I took a quick shower and headed into work for a few hours. Needless to say, the beer after work that night tasted delicious.

A scant two days after this metric, I headed down to New Harmony pottery to pick up the 2011 Cup O' Dirt cups. Russ Leckband, who made these beautiful cups that I've been handing out, is pictured below.  New Harmony does a lot of pieces for the Iowa State Fair, so check them out if you're down there shoving deep-fried twinkies into your face. Here's a few shots of the studio, located near Earlham, Iowa. All the 2011 recipients, I'll be in contact to get you your cups if I haven't already.

Russ Leckband, showing off his hard work.

My cat Frisbee loved the paper that the cups were packaged in. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Andrea's Hot July

I've been trying to do all my riding in the mornings these past few months before the heat gets ridiculous. Looks like this summer hasn't been the best for glorious afternoon rides. But hey, any day on the bike is better than a day not on the bike. Or something. Anyways, on to Andrea's update and photos.

The heat nearly killed me this month, as I expected it would.  I dreaded July more than January, and I was not disappointed.  Got in a Full on 7/12/12, and a Metric on 7/15/12.  Nothing too interesting to report besides feeling like a chinchilla, taking dust bath after dust bath (screw you, Schwans man, passing me like, 40 times).  Came across two free range goats in Echo Valley state park, and a sign that made me very philosophical (at least during my near-heatstroke and hyponatremia):  all pavement eventually does end, doesn't it?  And that's where things start to get awesome.  
Everyone stay safe out there in the heat!  Here's to hoping that August is ridiculously cold, or at least that Kwik Star continues to let me fill my CamelBak with ice for free.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Steve Fuller's Cheq 100

This sounds like it was a great time! Sad I missed the suffering...

Two weeks off of finshing the DK200, my Dos Niner and I headed up to northern Wisconsin for the Chequamegon 100 mountain bike race. 100 miles of CAMBA singletrack linked with fire roads and Birkibeiner ski trail. Cool and kind of wet most of the day (high of 72). Rain started about 90 minutes in and came on and off for the next 3 hours. Wet fire road sand and mud had riders and their bikes colored black and making weird noises. I finished with a time of 12 hours and 25 minutes. Definitely not as fast as this years winner (sub 9 hours). but I felt good just finishing. Long, hard day on the bike. A lot more challenging physically and mentally than this year's DK200.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Brad Yearwood's 2nd Century

Brad Yearwood is still plugging away at the metrics and centuries. Here's what he had to share with us from June so far:

It's been a couple weeks, but I completed my second full century at the Westside Dirty Bnejamin in Minnesota on the 16th.  Much, much flatter than my previous century which trnaslated to a personal best of 7:40.

No flats on this one either.  Good times. Good gravel.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Venteicher May/June Ride Report

Andrea sent me a mass update of the chase 'round the Venteicher homestead. Enjoy!

Howdy--i kind of missed the part about updating my May rides, so I'll just do a combined May/June email.  I quite proudly conquered the Crazy Corners full century, plus a metric version of it (rained out and rescued in Caledonia, MN, by my dear sweet husband who was watching the storm roll toward me on radar as I was blissfully unaware) in May.  This route is especially cool because it hits 3 states all in one ride--Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  It's also got a legitimate 9,813 feet of climbing according to my Garmin, which was, um, special.  On this ride i rescued a baby rattlesnake, a Polyphemus moth, and a baby Ouchita Map turtle from being run over!  (I used a chopstick technique to rescue the rattlesnake.)  I'm trying to accumulate good Karma so that perhaps I won't get run over, either.  
June had a full century down to the Sny Magill wildlife area in Clayton county (or, the "Cerulean Trench", according to bird geeks), and included a nod to the Confederacy with a trip down Jefferson Davis road (turns out he was part owner of a sawmill around here prior to his Civil War days--who knew?).  This ride had a meager 8314 feet of climbing.  Got to herd a 5-foot long Black Ratsnake out of the road.  Also got to "draft" the freaking road grader for about 16 miles into a headwind as they laid down new, right off the dump truck, gravel.  Mmmmmm.  Today had a metric to Cresco; no animals needed rescuing.
So that puts Andrea at 6 Full and 6 Metric for the year, sticking to the two-in-each-month paradigm.  And, HAH, suckah--Lee failed to do any centuries in either May or June because of this "racing" crap, so he's got some catching up to do in the fall!  I'm pretty damn proud of myself that I've got over 1000 gravel miles in my legs (plus a helluva tan) this year, and I'm only half done!  And who knows what animals I'll rescue from traffic next?  Badgers?  Whales?  Wolverines?
Thanks again for the chase!

I'm a very upset Ouachita Map turtle!!

This is a cool bluff/bridge combination along the Upper Iowa river near Bluffton, IA

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Austin Turner's June Ride Report

Austin makes his rides sound like such lovely little mini-vacations. Always happy to hear that somebody is out enjoying the dirt! Here's what he had to say about a few rides in June:

After giving my road bike some love on Saturday at the Rose Festival Road Race in Bangor, Iowa on June 16th - I switched gears to gravel for the next two days. 
Rode some new greasy and slick B-roads leaving Iowa City on Sunday June 17th with an awesome stop at the Amana Colonies for some delicious brew. More crazy B-roads on the way home for a solid metric of gravel. 
The next day on June 18th was slightly different, with a lot of single track on the 'Cross bike and miles upon miles of rolling gravel hill bliss for another solid metric of gravel.
Decent extended weekend of cycling and two more metrics for myself. Thanks again for the chase!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Steve Fuller's DK Report

All of the reports from this year's Dirty Kanza 200 make me wish I'd picked the last two years to chicken out, and made the trip this year! Heat exhaustion is the gift that keeps on giving, folks. Steve Fuller had this to rub in, er, report from earlier in June:

Finished the DK200 in 14:41:00. 202.5 miles. Beautiful weather. 52F at the start, 84F for a high. It was really nice finishing while the crowds were still there an cheering. Definitely heading back next year for attempt #5.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2011 Cups Are Finished!

Great news, everyone! The 2011 Cup O' Dirt cups are finished and I am going to go pick them up and start distributing in the next few weeks. I don't think I officially published a final list of the 2011 recipients of the Cup, just let the chaser list speak for itself, so here it is:

Drew Wilson 5 full, 11 metrics - 1 Cup
Matt Maxwell 2 full,13 metrics - 1 Cup
Mr. Davey Gie 6 Full, 72 metrics - 7 Cups
Courtney Hilton 8 full, 15 metrics - 2 Cups
Craig Irving 6 full, 15 metrics - 2 Cups
Jared Morford 4 full, 9 metrics - 1 Cup
Nick Wethington 6 full, 10 metrics - 1 Cup

Cups will be delivered as soon as possible after I pick them up. My cost on the cups is $12 apiece, so any kickbacks to help a poor bike mechanic out would be appreciated (but not absolutely necessary to receive your cup).

Congrats to all of the qualifiers. Here's to doubling the number of recipients in 2012.

~Nick W.

Craig Irving Mega-Update

Ok, Craig is starting to make me feel lazy.

I have not one, not three, not even five, but seven full centuries to report since my last update!  You heard that right!  Seven!  That brings me up to eight total on the year!!!  Look at all those exclamation points!!!  Hell yeah I'm shouting!!!!! 
Full century #2 on the year:  March 18th
Took off with Charles for a ride around the Amanas.  As a joke, we hit every gas station along the way and took pics of Charles sitting on the curb to send to his friend and show him what hard core endurance guys we were.  104 miles on the day. 
Full century #3 on the year:  March 25th
I took off to explore some new to me roads up around Anamosa, meeting Charles along the way.  Found some great hills that I'd never ridden before.  Weaseled around town for a few miles at the end to get a full hundy in.  100.6 miles on the day. 
Full century #4 on the year:  April 1st
Picked up Charles at 1:30 in the morning, drove to Des Moines and joined up with Courtney for a 4am start.  The big goal of the day?  200 miles of gravel and a picture in front of the "Welcome to Missouri" sign.  Highlights of the day included losing track of the number of B roads we hiked, following a Garmin that was stuck in Guitar Ted super sadistic mode, and my own whininess because I bonked hard less than halfway through the trip.  We ended up with 210 miles by the time we rolled back into town around midnight, but I'm only counting it as one since actual gravel miles were somewhere between 120 and 130.  Don't count on us ever doing that again in non-race format.  It was...  Erm...  Difficult. 
Full century #5 on the year:  April 28th
Another year, another Trans Iowa DNF.  Teamed up with Courtney since I wasn't about to try to keep up with Sir Charles of Gigantic Manliness.  We drove hard through wind, soft gravel and many, many hills.  So basically, typical Trans Iowa.  I burned everything I had to make the first checkpoint in time and had nothing left to give beyond that.  60 miles in I encouraged Courtney to go on ahead without me since I knew I didn't have it in me to make CP2.  Ended up stretching it out for a hundred anyway, just so that I could say that I did.  Rode the last couple/few hours with Dave Mable and called it quits in Hedrick.  Thanks to Dave for encouraging me to man up and finish out the hundy on course instead of on pavement. 
Full century #6 on the year:  May 19th
This year I decided to do Almanzo instead of the Royal, thinking it would be a good easy fun training ride to hold me over between TI and Dirty Kanza.  Yeah...  So much for easy.  Hot, windy, hilly was the theme of the day and it took me a good hour longer to finish than I was expecting.  At one point I plopped my wasted carcass in the shade of a cemetery tree in a futile attempt to cool off.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time.  I managed to get back up and finish it out though, swapping tires from front to back 10 miles from the end to avoid a front blowout.  I wasn't feeling too confident on that big bulge brewing on my tire tread.  It made it intact though, and so did I.  100+ on the day. 
Full centuries #7 and 8:  June 2nd
Redemption for one of my two DNFs of 2011, I finished the 2012 running of Dirty Kanza in 17 hours and 16 minutes.  Apparently Minnesota had traded Kansas for its weather plus two storm systems to be named later.  DK will never see nicer conditions than what we had this year.  Temps were in the low to mid 80s and wind was single digits to non-existant.  I rode with Courtney for the entire race, plus a couple other friends for portions of the first leg.  I have never felt that good for that amount of time in a race before, and Courtney and I even finished it off in a three man sprint.  It was more for posterity than anything.  That's what I'm telling myself anyway, because that sandbagger beat me ;-)
By my count that puts me at 6 metrics and 8 fulls to date, which is looking pretty good over last year.  Things are going to slow down for me now as far as the long rides go, but I'm still planning on going 12 and 12 by years end.  Until I ramp it back up, I'll just have to settle for heckling the rest of you from the peanut gallery.  Cheers :-D

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Chaser Scott McConnell

We have yet another new chaser in the Cup O' Dirt Challenge. I'll let him introduce himself:
Wanted to through my name in the ring for the cup of dirt challenge!  This is awesome.  My name is Scott McConnell from Nashville, Tn.  My dirty centuries have been done on a single speed.  Unofficially finished Trans Iowa this year for 3 dirty centuries (finished, but missed the official cut off). Added two dirty centuries this past weekend at Dirty Kanza.  Have four more on the calendar.  Just need to find 3 more to round out the year and this challenge will encourage me to do that!  Thanks for offering this challenge and let me know if anymore information is needed from me. 
blue skies,

Friday, June 29, 2012

Centuries 6 and 7 for Pat and Charlie Jenkins

Pat and Charlie Jenkins had this to say about their DK 200 finish. Way to keep at it, guys!

Yesterday we rode Dirty Kanza 200. This completes #6 & 7 Cup 'O Dirt full dirty centuries. This was our second DK. The weather this year was outstanding, and the gravel absolutely perfect. This year we finished just after 10pm, almost 2 hours faster than last year. We made some new friends, ate a little more KS dirt, and had another awesome experience!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Davie G's May Update

Here are all of the metrics that Dave Giegerich has reported for May. Note that he wins the May challenge for the most Cup O' Dirt qualifying miles during the month. Is anyone surprised?

Dear Sir Nick,
My May Metrics total 6. Which is kind of lame being I did 4 in 8 days, so a bit of slack'n. Time was a big issue, but it is time to get er done, Bring on June. Thanks for the Chase.
Dave Giegerich
5/5/12 =      # 18
5/13/12 =    # 19
5/16/12 =    # 20   4 Flats aghhhh!!!!!
5/19/12 =    #21
5/20/12 =    # 22
5/23/12 =   #23

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

May Challenge Winner

After going through a few emails about May updates, I've determined that we have a winner for the May challenge that I had proposed at the beginning of that month. The winner, with 6 metrics totaling 372 qualifying miles is none other than Dave Giegerich. What is the prize? A batch of delicious baked goods baked by none other than myself (with a lot of help from my professional baker girlfriend, Caitlin, so don't worry Dave!). I'm sure Dave will post a photo of himself gobbling down these delicious baked treats with his pitbull and Creepy Baby in there somehow. Thanks to all who sent their May updates. I'll have an update a day again for the next week or so.

Keep enjoying the chase, and stay tuned for more challenges this year.

~Nick W.

Drew Wilson's Update

Drew Wilson sent this update a while ago. Here's to playing catch up:

Two tough metrics-  Triple D and The Untitled 
Quick metric out to Spring Valley and then the one and only CIRREM

Just one qualifying ride as a metric although the overall mileage was close to 140-

The Ragnarok and my first full dirty century for 2012-

A double century with enough gravel for a dirty metric-

Then a century on my homemade carbon fatbike at BALLS

The Royal 162

So, thus far this year I have 5 dirty metrics and 3 dirty centuries.  Seems all my road riding has cut into my gravel numbers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nick Wethington's Ride Reports

I have a couple of metrics of my own to report. The first is from my delivery of cups to Dave Giegerich. He is just as funny, quirky and fast as you can imagine from reading his blog and reports for the cup. Also, Creepy Baby is just as creepy in real life. As it turns out, she has a full wardrobe of hand-knit sweaters made by Dave's fiancée. At least she's well-dressed.

We had a great time burning up the Heritage Trail. We were looking for Lance Andre all day long, but word on the street was that he was passed out drunk in Dyersville. This was shortly after he was seen leaning over his aero bars and puking on the trail. Hey, we all gotta fill our Camelbaks with what works. Caitlin and I decided to make a weekend of it, so we camped at Swiss Valley Campgrounds after my ride with Dave on Sunday, then spent Monday at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. It was an awesome weekend.

My second dirty metric was one of my favorite rides. After a long weekend down in Arizona seeing some family and friends, but being off the bike, I needed to get a good ride in. The weather was gorgeous on Memorial Day, so I headed to the Seven Oaks mountain bike trail near Boone on my single-speed. I rode through Ledges State Park, then did a quick, dusty lap on the trail. The fee used to be only 3 bucks, so that's all I brought with me. Turns out, they've raised it to the outrageous price of $4. Can you believe it? $4 to ride on a tough, well-maintained trail that has no equal within at least 100 miles? The lady at the desk said it would be fine to pay the 3 bucks that I had in cash, but I insisted on buying the $40 season pass with plastic instead. It will at least get me out to the trail 9 more times to make it worth it. After my lap on the trail, I decided I didn't want to put too much hurt on myself because I had to ride back to Ames, so headed north through Boone. The wind was a stiff one out of the west, and was nice to have at my back on the way home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Century #5 for Pat and Charlie

Pat and Charlie Jenkins bagged yet another full century on the tandem. With these kinda miles, Kanza will be a breeze for you two!

Pat & I rode another "dirty" full century today (#5). 130 miles total, well over 100 miles of gravel with a few pave miles between the good stuff. Today's ride was our last ride before DK-200. It was hot & windy today, and the gravel was loose & soft. Tough day in the saddle, but we got through it. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Chaser Tim McGovern

It's always great to see new names in the chase for the cup from exotic locales like Chicago. Glad to see that the Cup is reaching outside of Iowa! Welcome to the chase, Tim, and good luck on the upcoming races. It's amazing how doable the Cup seems to be once you get started.

I'm going to give the Cup o' Dirt the college try this year.  
Already done two metrics:
Barry-Roubaix (which was the longest ride I'd ever done to date. I realized after.)
Dirty Mudd'r (Windy Dust'r was more like it!) 
And have GGGRRR, Gritty 260, and 24 Hours of Moab on the calendar. Bagging another 7 is starting to seem doable. 
Tim McGovern

Brad Yearwood's First Full Century

Brad Yearwood had this wonderful report about his first full century of the year. From experience, I can tell you that a dollar bill works well as a boot, though a Jackson works about 20 times as well. Har, har. Anyway...
Here for my second first full century of the year.  I had hoped to do one sooner, however...

I made it a good one though.  I just completed my first Almanzo 100 last weekend.  For those that may not know, it is a self-supported gravel century (with optional 162 mile race) held every May in Spring Valley, MN.  The race director, Chris Skogen, has put together an excellent race and it is one of the best organized events I have ever participated in. 

On to the report...   I've been to Minnesota several times yet somehow was surprised at the amount of climbing on this course.  Most reports put it around 6500' or so of total climbing.  I had done several hill repeats and prepared myself as best I could coming from a considerably flatter state.  For the most part I felt pretty major bonks or anything.  Around mile 80 is where my chance of a much-improved finish time from my last gravel century went out the window.

On the minimum maintenance road portion of the course, I flatted.  Not just flatted, a sharp rock had sliced my tube and tire...well.  My race number had come off earlier in the day, so I fished it out of my bag and stuffed it as a makeshift boot into the tire.  It seemed to work.  About 3 miles later, when I was feeling confident in my 'MacGuyver-like' ability to save the day, my rear tube punctured again.  Race bib...not thick enough for a tire boot; and now, the tire slash is a little over an inch long.  Another aspect of this being a well-organized race is that they provide nice laminated cue sheets.  I thought this, being easily twice as thick as the race bib, might work.  I folded the number carefully in between the tire and (patched) tube.  Luckily, this got me all the way to the finish. 

I would also like to add that at my second mechanical stop, one of the riders had stopped to help me and stayed with me all the way to the finish should I have another potentially race-ending mechanical.  His name was Cole -- Cole Rogers, according to the race results. 

If any of you know him, tell him I owe him a drink.


p.s.  I'm probably switching tires for next year...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Steve Fuller Ride Report

Steve Fuller had this to say about his last few rides. Good luck on Kanza and Chequemegon. Say hello to the heat exhaustion at Kanza for me! We're good friends.

A bit late, but I have a few more rides to report. 
CIRREM 2/25 - 100K+ on my fatbike. 4000 feet of climb. 5:37 moving time. One of the stupidest things I've done to my body in a long time. :) 
Gent's Race 4/7  - 66 miles in 4:43 moving time. Lots of fresh gravel and a headwind for the last 15 miles. Great team of guys to ride with for the day 
Gravel ride 4/21 - 100K. Rode most of the CIRREM course with a couple of other guys. Beautiful day. 
Training Century - 5/20 - 100.2 miles, 4600 feet of climb. 6:10 moving time. LOTS of pretty areas south and west of Winterset. The detour off my normal route to go through Pammel State Park yielded a couple of awesome climbs. Pammel Park would be worth of a gravel bike pack from DSM. It would be about 35 or 40 miles depending on where you started. 
Looking forward to Dirty Kanza and Chequemegon 100 in June!

Congraduations Gravel

A.J. Turner celebrated his graduation in true Cup O' Dirt style: by riding a full century on gravel! Good to see that you learned something valuable from all those years of education. Congratulations on the full century and the graduation, A.J. Now that you have all that time that you would have normally been studying to ride, we expect great things from you this summer.

Graduation Gravel
I finished my final year of undergraduate studies last Wednesday and decided to treat myself to a full day of riding on Friday, May 11th. It was the oh-so-perfect way to relieve the stress of finals cramming and, naturally, quite fun. Rode along the rivers past Wapello and beyond. Finished with some single track for roughly 103 miles. Chalk me up for another gravel full century.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Metrics from Davie G.

Davie G. had a few more metrics to report. I finally made it over his way to deliver his truckload of cups from when he did 100 metric centuries in one year, plus some cups from another year that he did 48 metrics and 6 full centuries. Obviously, he earned all of those cups, and I'll probably have to rent another semi to get them all over to his house. It was a great visit, and though it was a bit cramped in his small hut I have to say that the bugs were absolutely divine.

Hey Nick, Dave reporting in with metrics 
15 4/28/12
16 4/29/12
17 4/3/12
18 5/5/12
19 5/13/12 
Mostly just wandering around gravel in NE Iowa, I have learned to live off the land as I ride. Here you see me digging into to a delicious bouquet of worms for a snack.

Here I have learned to take shelter in "tree teepees".

My Metric Century  ride on 5/13/12 was a very memorable ride. A man called Nick W along with his lady Caitlin drove all the way from Ames Iowa to deliver my Cup O Dirt awards from the last previous two years. Here is a picture of me receiving said awards and asking the crowd to keep the noise down so I can give my acceptance speech. They didn't. Creep Baby was quite proud and purchased a ring side seat for this event.

Afterwards Caitlin, Nick, and I headed out to the dirt trails on our bicycles. Caitlin  left Nick and I somewhere along the way figuring I had enough of these two and we two rode on and we shared and rode and talked some more like we knew each other for years. Such is bicyclists, we share the same passion and those that don't sure are missing out.
Here is Nick trying to pass the old guy after resting in my draft. I kicked in my Cavendish after burners and held off the attack. I think I taught that young fellow a lesson.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Eric Buck and His New Bike

Eric had this to say about his back to back metrics. He also attached this picture of a very, very nice Waterford with very, very nice parts on it. We look forward to hearing about more adventures on that sweet ride in Utah, Eric.

last week i was on some pretty heavy antibiotics for a minor-ish surgery i was having. i was really fatigued. i had just moved all the parts from my vaya over to my new frame and everything was dialed in. i had to ride it right? right. it wasn't pretty but you can chaulk me up for back to back metrics. saturday was a lolipop route around massena. sunday i rode to adair for pizza. found some good dirt north of I-80. here's a pic of the new go everywhere waterford i built up. we are off to utah next month!!!!     

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Send Me Your May Reports

Remember that prize I was offering for the most Cup O' Dirt qualifying miles in May? Sure you do. Now, all I need is for everyone to send in their reports for the month so's I can tabulate things. Get me your reports ASAP after today, and win big!

Charlie and Pat Jenkins at the Cedar Cross 100

This ride sounds like a helluva lot of fun!
May 6 we rode the Cedar Cross 100, in Jefferson City MO.

116 miles. Mostly gravel, with about 10 miles of singletrack. The singletrack was a bit much for our "gravel grinder tandem". We ended up walking a bunch. Lots of soft mud & trails too tight to maneuver the tandem through. The gravel was GREAT! Lots of it, with plenty of good hills.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Charles Showalter's TI Report

One thing I want you to remember about Charles: he just really started riding gravel this year. And started chasing the Cup O' Dirt. Then finished Trans-Iowa in 6th place on his very first attempt ever. See what chasing the Cup O' Dirt can do for a person? Seriously, though, this is an amazing feat and Charles an amazing rider.

I finished Trans Iowa.  That gives me Cup O' Dirt centuries two, three, and four.  Those were also my second, third, and fourth gravel centuries ever.  Yay. 
I think everyone else's blogs and things have covered what was going on at TIv8 pretty well, so I'll try to tell you the things that I haven't seen mentioned, or that were unique to my ride. 
The last 50 miles were torture like everyone said, but for me, I also noticed that there was a 10- or 20-mile stretch with about 40 to 60 miles to go where the dogs were awful.  I didn't have the energy to sprint away from them like I usually do, which usually deescalates the situation immediately.  I don't know what the deal was.  Were these just overly aggressive dogs?  Were they not used to seeing things on the road at 4:00 in the morning?  Did I smell that bad?  One dog actually made mouth-to-leg contact, but didn't get it to sink in.
When I got to the secret checkpoint, which I was later told was in Attica, there was some 9- or 10-year-old girl there.  She was evidently a local, wandering around, hanging out at the checkpoint.  She didn't have any adult supervision, and it turns out she didn't even live in that town but somehow wound up there.  I don't really know what was going on.  What I do know is that this girl was telling us stories about her sister who is in prison, her dad who "gets in trouble when he drinks beer," and all types of other great stuff.  She was enjoying the free donuts and candy bars, and never stopped talking the entire time I was there.  It was really bizarre, but I was also laughing. 
I didn't see a single person or vehicle on the road from the time I passed the Braun brothers in the ditch (3:00 a.m.???) until I was about 12 miles from Grinnell (9:00 a.m.???).  I went through Melbourne early enough that no one even had lights on--it was like the town was deserted.  This was also bizarre. 
I fell over with about 40 miles left, bending my hanger, and keeping me in granny and second-to-granny gear.  If I downshifted my chain would get really tight and pop and whine like it was going to explode.  So I soft pedaled for the next 30+ miles (not that I had a ton of gas left anyway).  I got to the last B road, with 8 miles left, and started pushing my bike.  The smallest bit of mud was gathering on my tires as I pushed the bike along, but I thought nothing of it.  Then the wheels stopped turning, I looked down to see my derailer sucked into my spokes, and my heart sank.  Evidently the hanger was worse than I thought and the slightest bit of mud on my drive train put it over the top.  I spent about 30 minutes trying to do a SS conversion, and mostly my lack of mechanic skills prevented me from doing it.  But there was also my mental and physical state at this point--my problem solving and fine motor skills weren't the best right then.  So I had to walk/coast seven miles into town.  It really sucked, but I was also thankful for my situation.  I could have had that happen 30 miles into the race and been toast from the get go.  Or it could have happened 25 miles from Grinnell, dooming me even after going through all that torture.  But I made it. 
And Craig gets awesome points for having breakfast burritos waiting for me at the finish line--way cool. 
Overall, it was a pretty wild experience.  Tons of thanks to Guitar Ted and all the volunteers that put this on.  Countless man hours have to go into this thing.  It's really well run. 
I don't know if I'm down for another one.  I'll have to see how well I bounce back from this. 
I hope you're finding some time to enjoy the gravel.  It's been fun reading everyone else's updates.  Until next time, over and out. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Courtney Hilton's Mass Update

Courtney sent me this a while back, and I'm just now getting around to doing more Cup O' Dirt updates. This only covers his rides through March. Way to keep on it, Courtney.

Metric #2 Some more TI8 training
So Got a 75 miler in yesterday,  No wind, No snow, and 40 degrees by the end of the day.  Great January weather! I'm feeling a lot stronger after a couple weeks of training and I'm finally getting on my trainer :(  but I get a really good workout on it so I guess it's worth it. 

Metric #3 - Fixie Century
Got a 60+ gravel in with Chad then hit the pavement for some beers and finish the hundy 
Metric #4 Single speed test for Cirrem
I hit a good part of the Cirrem course to test out my gear ratio 38x17 
Metric #5
Cirrem IV
So Over all 4th Single Speed 45 overall and 4:58 Made my goal of under 5!
The morning started out with glazed ice everywere.  I watched in horror as I saw several riders eat dirt ahead of me.  I had a couple close one slid the back tire all over the place, however I'm pretty good at recovering rear tire slides ( I havent fallen this winter)  I also recovered a front tire washout on a downhill.  I slowed down a little after that.  After the first 20 miles It got better traction wise and a lot faster.  Then it got muddy and hilly.  I only had 5 minutes of pause time over all and made 4 stops (potty breaks) It was alot of fun...or thats how I choose to remember it. 
Metric #6
Gravel Century of the week
115 Miles of Gravel/Bike trails.  New Route though Dexter, IA spent a little exrta stop time navigating but still maintained 13.5 avg on the gravel.  Trans-Iowa is Close really close... 

Metric 7
I didnt write anything about this other than the milage so cant remember were I went to but I went there....

Metric 8
Following Squirrel on the pugsley to Earlham and back = Pain.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grotto Ride Report

I have my own ride report to add to the site. I went up to the Grotto of the Redemption on March 25th. I started out the day with Matt Maxwell, Jared Morford and Paul Jacobson. We rode up to Jewell together, and since they were doing a metric they split back to Ames. I had other plans. My lady and I had decided to finally check out what all the buzz about the Grotto was, so she took the car and camping supplies up to West Bend while I rode the distance from Ames. Ended up with 115 miles for the day and got to drink a nice cool beer and sit by the campfire after the ride. It was cool to ride up to the Grotto after dark, with the lights illuminating all of the rocks. The next day, our good friends Sasha Karcz and Allison Bair joined us to check out the marvel that is the Grotto. I'd highly recommend a visit if you haven't already, and the campgrounds/showers are marvelous. Here's a photo showing just how much love there is between me and the ol' ball and chain.

~Nick W.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pat and Charlie Jenkins Ride Reports

Here's a couple more from tandem chasers Pat and Charlie Jenkins. Bonus points for the night gravel!

Hey Nick,

We have a couple more full centuries to add to the chase: 
  • 4/22 - We rode a 130 mile route. Well over 100 miles of gravel & dirt, with a couple short sections of (gasp) pavement necessary to get to the next gravel. This route started in Pottsboro & went west to Marysville & back. These are our usual gravel roads.
  • 4/29 - Today we rode 110 miles, all new territory. I think this may be on our list for future riding. We started in Collinsville & went to just east of Forestburg & back. We wanted to get some night gravel in, so we waited until mid-afternoon to start.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Cup Chaser Brad Yearwood

We have yet another new face to the Cup O' Dirt challenge: Brad Yearwood. Here's what he had to say about his first qualifying ride (of the many to come, surely). I love the pavement to gravel ratio on this one!

First, thanks for hosting this unique challenge.
I was hoping to write about my first entry a little sooner, but oh well.  I rode my first metric of the year this past Saturday.  A little shakedown ride of the new tires and nutrition strategy on the gravel roads south of Omaha.  I also did several hill repeats on a fairly steep climb I found last week...something hard to find here in Nebraska.
There were also 2 quite intense unplanned "dog sprints".  Those always make a ride interesting...

All told, about 4.5 hours, 64 miles.  Approximately 50 feet of pavement.


Monday, April 30, 2012

May Challenge and TI Congrats

First, I want to congratulate both Matt Maxwell and Charles Showalter for their impressive finishes at Trans-Iowa this past weekend. I'm sure they'll both have reports for us once they recuperate. I know of a few other people in the chase this year that made it at least partway on TI, which is a feat in and of itself, so expect a few more Cup ride reports outta that.

It's been too long since any sort of challenge (besides the challenge of earning a cup) has been done under the guise of getting people out on their bikes. So, here it is: whoever gets the most miles in Cup O' Dirt qualifying rides in May will receive a special prize. You can combine your metrics and fulls for the month towards the prize. More details about what the special award actually is will be published later in the month. For now, get out on your bike and ride in some dirt!

Davie G. Earns the First Cup for 2012

Well, I'm not terribly surprised that Davie G. is the first official Cup O' Dirt chaser to earn a cup this year. For his first twelve metrics he'll receive one cup. Congrats, Dave! Going to try for 200 metrics this year?

Dear Nick,
Been riding and not reporting in, yes I am guilty. But I am here to report Metric Gravels #s 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.





















As you can see by my calendar I am trying to pick up the pace. Hoping for a couple more this weekend.... All riding has been in my corner of North East Iowa.
Some pictures attached.
Thanks for the chase.
Dave Giegerich

Venteicher March/April Update

Here's a full report from the Venteichers about their Cup O' Dirt exploits in March and part of April. Enjoy the photos.

Howdy again!  Lee and I have been busy little NE IA beavers, and we each completed a Full and a Metric in March.  So far in April we have each completed a Full, and Andrea has now pulled ahead slightly by doing her Metric for April as well.  (HAH!).  This brings Lee to 4 Full (he only had 2 before…he just got some advance credit on the blog) and 5 Metrics total, and Andrea now has 4 Full and 4 Metrics in the chase.
Lee wanted to thank Mr. Brian Fuhrmann for joining him on his last two Fulls (maybe Brian'll join the chase as well w/Lutsen 99 and who knows what else coming up).  Lee and Brian pushed for their own PRs on both Fulls and set them…along with PRs for pain.  Fuhrmann also showed that he's got some mad camera skills by topping Andrea's hillbilly totem pole pic (and he even got a hippy totem pole in back of the frame).

So far I have found that my Gmapping superpower has got to be the ability to find roads where the bridge is completely gone or only quasi-safe even when the road supposedly goes through on the online map.  

I also came across some nice graffiti under a train bridge somewhere near Columbus Junction in SE IA that extolls several of the world's greatest vices:  smoking weed, neglecting proper footwear ("i need my boots"), wrath (conveyed by the classic middle finger), lust ("double D, yo!"), and, of course, cycling on small bikes.

The other pictures I am including are less amusing, but just illustrate how freakin' awesome the riding is around here...the quad-crunching climb to the top of the bluff usually guarantees one a million-dollar view of what the locals call "God's country"--and don't you forget it, yo.

Peace out---
L&A Venteicher

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eric Buck Joins the Chase

Another new cup chaser for 2012! Eric Buck had this to report from his rides this year. Welcome to Iowa and to the Cup O' Dirt, Eric.

Hey Nick,
Now this is my kind of ridin' and racin'! I'm game!
I'm from Oregon and Washington and Utah if you will, so, I didn't even bother bringing a mountain bike with me to Iowa. Nope, bought a Salsa Vaya frame and built it up my way. It's been a blast to ride, even more so now that things are turning green.
I've done three metrics so far this spring. An out and back from Council Bluffs down the Trace trail for 70 some miles. Another on the Trace from Malvern for 80some. Last weeks ride started in Atlantic and went south to Lewis, then looped through Marne, Wiota, Cumberland, and back to Atlantic. Battery died on that ride so I'm not sure on the mileage. Iowa's not flat I know that much.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Tandem Chasers Charlie and Pat Jenkins

It's exciting to have a tandem couple chasing the Cup O' Dirt (besides Dave and Dee Mable, of course). Here's the first post from Charlie and Pat Jenkins, who live in Texas.

Hi Nick,

Time to join the fun! Pat (my wife) & I just took possession of our new gravel grinder tandem (Calfee Bamboo). We completed our 1st gravel century on it last weekend: 127 miles (Red River Riot, St Jo, Texas). This gravel stuff is definitely addicting!!!!!!!

Please add us to the "Cup O' Dirt" fun.

Charlie & Pat Jenkins

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Metrics 7 and 8 from Davie G.

Dave Giegerich just keeps cranking them out. Here's a couple more from him:

Hi Nick, I'm at it again. Last Wednesday gravel Metric #7 on the FatBike, just a easy roll, on the back roads on NE Iowa. Sunday on 4/1/12 I rode metric #8 on the CX. a out and back. Tried to work the return half of the trip  on my upper end of heart rate, cause I needed quick slack'n the pace.
Here's a picture of the cemetery in Dyersville.
Thanks for the chase
Dave Giegerich

The Struggles of Chad Terrell

Looks like the automation to make this post appear yesterday morning failed. Sorry! You get two today. This one's from Chad Terrell, one of the many new cup chasers this year. Sounds like an exciting winter.
It took me three tries to get my second metric in. On Feb. 8 I drove down to Cumming to ride a previous years CIRREM course. The conditions went from icy to sloppy as the sun melted the snow. At mile 10 I fell on the ice and slowed down after that. At mile 30 my rear derailleur hanger protested the sloppy conditions by self destructing. After that I started walking to the highway which was 3 miles away. AFTER walking up a long hill that I had previously bombed down an accommodating man in a tractor offered me a ride to the highway. I placed my bike in the tractor’s bucket and climbed up into the cab. The man was in his forties and told me that he used to go on RAGBRAI. He dropped me off at the highway and I stuck out my thumb at the trucks that went by since I was still 20 miles from my car. Two rides later I was back in Cumming.

My factory derailleur hanger was a soft piece of cast aluminum so I replaced it with a stronger CNC’ed one to prevent nuisance failures just in time for CIRREM, which was my second attempt at my second metric. The conditions were even worse than on my previous attempt. I didn’t fall but I saw several others that were not so lucky. At mile 48 my new hanger proved to be stronger than my rear derailleur. My derailleur snapped in half and was sucked into my spokes. Thankfully, I was going slow enough to stop before any serious damage was done to my rear wheel. I called Bob at the Tap and he sent a driver out to pick me up (thanks guys).

So with two mechanicals in Feb. I decided to wait for dry conditions for my next attempt. On March 28 I rode the CIRREM course again and finally finished my second gravel metric. I hit 41 mph coming down one of the hills but decided that it would be nice if my next gravel metric had less than 2600’ of climbing. Later, Chad Terrell.