Monday, June 24, 2013

Christina Anthony and the Gold Rush

Here's a nice update from Christina Anthony on the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. Coincidentally, this race takes place in some of my former stomping grounds as a Rapid City native. It's good to see more gravel races in SoDak. Christina is setting the bar with detailed updates and pictures, so all you other suckas that send me one line emails take note!

The Gold Rush Gravel Grinder is a 110 mile gravel road race in South Dakota and Wyoming. It's the first year for the event, so we (Dennis Grelk and I) had no idea what to expect. The website for the event said that "the course will consist of mostly gravel, some dirt, and a bit of pavement (gasp)! while rolling over open prairie, meandering through beautiful canyons with flowing creeks, exploring the deep forest, and climbing to several spectacular vistas." This summation of the course in no way prepared us for what was to come...

We made the long day's drive out to the Badlands and the Black Hills of South Dakota 2 days before the race. The day before the race, we explored a little bit. We went to Devil's Tower in Wyoming and also did a brief spin around our campsite to check the bike and loosen our legs. Throughout the day, I was noticing the amount of climbing the area had to offer. I also noticed the strength of the wind and how open the area felt for the wind to blow. The race director had also sent out an email before the race telling us that June was a wet month in the area and to be prepared to ride in the rain. I was NOT  happy about riding in the rain. We checked the weather the day before and I went to bed content with the fact that the forecast called for a zero percent chance of rain for race day. 

I woke up several times during the night to the sound of pouring rain and blowing wind. 

When the alarm sounded, it was still pouring. We got ready in the rain. Then, we breathed a sigh of relief when our friend checked the radar and said that the rain was ending and we ought to be fine for the race. Then, the tension came back when he cursed and said that there was a wind advisory posted for the day with 40mph winds throughout the day. *sigh*

We lined up for the mass start and 4.5 mile neutral rollout through town as the only tandem to start the race. Since we were the only tandem, our only goal was to finish the race. It nearly didn't happen...

The neutral rollout was the most low-key rollout you've ever seen - lots of chatting, super easy pace, no jockeying for position, lots of compliments on our Sprintin' Kittens kits... Then, as the rollout ended, BANG! We ran right into a girl who pulled off to the side of the road as the race began! I have no clue why she pulled off at that point, but we kept it upright and kept rolling the rolling hills out of town. It didn't take long for us to realize the hills were rolling, but the elevation was climbing. The course was beautiful - the trees, the hills, the creeks, the clouds. In the first 30 miles before the first water stop, we chatted with many people as we found our pace and settled in for a long ride. Word on the course said that there was 8000 feet of climbing in store for all of us today and the wind was only getting stronger. 

(Dennis took this photo at our first stop when he stopped to check the crank arms. A beautiful crossing on Sand Creek, I believe.)

After the first water stop at mile 32, we realized that most of the people we had been riding with were part of the 70 mile race and not the 110 mile race that we were doing. Bummer to find that out and we rode out of the checkpoint wondering if we were riding sweep for the 110 mile group. "It's ok," I told myself as I reminded myself that the only goal for the day was to finish. Soon after that, a guy rode up behind us and joined us for a bit. He told us that he had missed the start by 15-20 minutes due to having a flat tire on his car before the race and had been trying to catch up all morning. He also told us that there were more people behind us in the race. He rode on, and we noticed that there weren't any more rollers and we were simply climbing. Not a steep grade. Just enough to notice and settle into, knowing that it could go on for a quite a while. So, we rode, settling into a climbing pace and all the while making sure that we were staying above the 10 mph average we needed to make it to the first checkpoint on time. If we were going to finish the race, we HAD to make that checkpoint on time. And, we did well. We climbed for miles and were averaging around 12-13 mph and enjoying the scenery as we went. The gravel was super buff interspersed only with occasional open range cattle guards that were a bit unnerving to cross at speed. 

Soon, though, the gravel roads got steeper, the trees got thinner, and we found ourselves in some true open cattle range. We also found and experimented with the difference between our climbing riding speed and walking speed. We determined that we could walk up those steep inclines just as fast as we could climb with our mountain bike tandem rig. It felt more efficient to walk and gave our legs and our butts a much needed break. And, this is where Perry, the race director, happened upon us and snapped this shot of us walking up our first big climb...

Soon after this photo, we crested the hill and turned and found the 40 mph winds at our backs and we flew! We played tag with a group of 4 or so up and down a few rolling hills as we dive bombed down the hills and they caught us on the uphills. It was gorgeous and the trees returned as we moved into the National Forest and the fire roads. The fire roads were wet and mucky and rutted from a record rain event they had in the weeks before and we rode, avoiding the trees and ruts and water running across the road as much as we were able to. I held on for dear life and we bombed down the opposite side, scared out of my mind at having no control and not being able to see what was coming but seeing all the obstacles as we rode past them - too many chunky rocks, deep ruts, and fallen limbs to count. 

We came down out of the National Forest and back onto the sometimes buff and sometimes sandy gravel with more beautiful open cattle range views and trees in a valley. The views were just gorgeous. But, the climbing was becoming relentless and brutal. At our 'good' riding pace, we were going between 6-9mph. When it got especially steep, we were walking at 3mph. It was somewhere near 1pm, we had been climbing for most of the morning, we had nearly 10 miles to go before the checkpoint (which we thought we had to be at by 2pm), Dennis was bonking, and with each passing minute we were getting further away from our goal of finishing the race. 

We sat on the hillside and pondered our options. 

I fed Dennis one of the emergency Snickers I had packed just in case. Option #1 was to call our support person to come get us. Since we had no cell service, this was clearly not our best option. Option #2 involved us staying where we were at and letting someone find us. Hmmm... Option #3 was to keep going and just get to the checkpoint, some way, some how. We were expecting our support person to be there with supplies for us so we could bail at that point. I checked the cue cards again. To our surprise and relief, we had until 3 pm to get to the checkpoint! Dennis laughed and laid down amidst the pine needles and rocks. "Ha! We're good..." We ate and drank some more before climbing back onto our beast of a bike again to meander our way uphill some more. 

With a lot more struggle, both physical and mental, we finally pulled into the checkpoint. I sat down in the car and drank a Pepsi while Dennis went into the checkpoint. We were both struggling. We seriously considered bailing. I think everyone expected us to. Finally, I decided that I was not going to come out to do this race again and I knew I wouldn't be happy if I came to finish the race and I didn't finish it. Unfinished business is never finished. I wanted this done and in the bag. 

So, off we went. 

We climbed for just a little bit before we descended 9 miles on a dirt road filled with rocks and wet dirt and sand and water flowing across the road and downed trees. It was gorgeous and it breathed a new life into Dennis. It was good to have Dennis back again. Of course, it filled me with fear and I was wanting the super buff gravel back again. 

Here's Dennis walking the tandem over the one unrideable obstacle (a downed tree) on that dirt road descent and over the water on the other side. That guy in front of Dennis is the last person we saw for the rest of the race.

After that descent we had a steep climb to the Cement Ridge fire tower. As we steadily climbed, I played mind games in my head. Why exactly was I doing this to myself? Was this fun? What do I like about riding bikes? I was miserable and I couldn't figure out the answers to these questions. 

And, then it hailed on us. 

It wasn't big hail. It was only pea sized hail. It didn't help my misery any and I scrambled to get into my jacket. 

We kept climbing and soon we were walking. We thought we were to the top and got back on only to turn another corner and see a rocky ascent to the real fire tower and the deafening winds that were up there. The fire tower even had a sign that designated it a 'Wind Shelter.' I wish I had taken a picture. (We found out later that they had a baked potato station at this fire tower that was taken down partly due to the wind before we got there.)

The only way down was the way we had come up or a rocky ATV trail. Much to my horror, we went down the rocky ATV trail. I had a death grip on the handlebars as I watched the chunky rocks and deep ruts and multiple water crossings pass us by. At times, I could see over Dennis' back as the rocky, rutted descent was so steep! We soon turned and found ourselves climbing up another rocky descent and then walking. I swore and renewed my vows that I was never, ever doing something this stupid again. 

We got to the top of that ascent and began descending. It probably would have been a lot more fun if I wasn't so shelled and frightened from the prior descent. We descended for a good 20 miles or so. We could have coasted to the finish, but Dennis made me pedal. We were starting to lose the sun in some of the deep canyons as we finished up the race. We passed some gorgeous falls - Roughlock and Bridal Veil Falls as well as descending along the creek the entire way. (We went back the next day to look at them properly.) The last part into town was all pavement and all descending - 20 mph even while coasting. That's about all I remember at that point. I still can't believe we actually finished it...

Goal accomplished and race finished! 

Thank you to Dennis Grelk for doing it with me and to Sprintin' Kittens Coaching for helping me get that goal done!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jeff Evans Pulls the Trigger

It's good to have so many new names to add to the Cup O Dirt rider list. Here's another one who has been pondering the Cup, and finally decided to go for it. Best of luck, Jeff! It's easier (and more addictive) than you think once you get started, I promise you. And SS gravel is not as bad as most people think.
I've followed your blog for a few years but i think this is the year i go for the cup, so consider this my official entry! I have a ways to go but I'd like to chase the dozen full century cup. 
With that in mind here's century #1:
1. Almanzo. Saturday 5/18- 109 miles of gravel (had a wrong turn and some re-routes).
I'm looking forward to many more of these now that spring has arrived here in Minnesota! 
Hopefully i'll be sending you another email soon! I converted my gravel bike to SS so this is going to be an interesting year.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kevin Loseke's Third Metric

Here's another update from Kevin Loseke from May 29th.

Morning from Central IL
This weekend I knocked out the Gravel Metric out of Dekalb.  Hell of a ride!  Taking me up to 3 metrics for the year. 

Dallas Wynne Update

Another new name to add to the list of Cup O' Dirt riders: Dallas Wynne. Here's his first update for the year from the Strada Fango Spring Classic in Wisconsin.

This weekend rode the Strada Fango near Rice Lake Wisconsin. miles of gravel, snow and ice. 14 miles paved
Hoping to make up for lost time in the next few months with a few more metrics and full 100 milers.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Double Kevin Loseke Update

I've got a couple of reports to present to you loyal Cup O' Dirt followers from Kevin Loseke from Illinois, complete with links to his blog. Keep it up, Kevin.

The first, from April 23rd:
I'm way late in getting my first one in, but better late! 
Rode the Grumpy Grind in Rock Falls, IL on Sunday.  Great ride with great people.  I clocked it at 76+ miles, well over 80% gravel/dirt. 

Here is my blog on it.
And the second one from April 30th:
Mornin, over the weekend I knocked out my second metric at the Dirty Mudd'r outside of Streator, IL.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Aaron Lackman Joins the Cup O Dirt

I have another update from a newcomer to the Cup this year, Aaron Lackman. Here's his first quick update, and we should be hearing more from him soon!

I just heard about the Cup o dirt recently and would love to get in on the fun.  I've already completed several rides this year of qualifying length on gravel/dirt roads.  One century, one century and a half, and one metric century all on gravel/dirt.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Steve Fuller Lightning Edition Update

Steve Fuller has been rockin' the gravel this year. Here's just a few of the rides he's done so far.

I've been training for TI pretty much non-stop since the start of the year. Weather has made getting outside impossible, or at the very least, extemely unappealing. I've lost track of how much time I've spent on the trainer this winter and spring. Anyway, here's a lightning update on my Cup O Dirt rides so far. 
GRR2BRR 2/2 - Metric. Group of 30+ left my house in Johnston and rode to the start of the BRR ride in Perry. I took the Fargo so I could pack plenty of food and warm drink. After we arrived, our group broke up, so I ended up making the return trip by myself. 66 miles in about 4.5 hours. 
CIRREM - Metric. This was a good early TI fitness test for me. I opted for my Salsa Fargo instead of my La Cruz just so I could run a bit bigger tire, expecting the roads to be lousy. Turns out that the course was fast and frozen. Despite the slightly higher weight and larger tires on the Fargo, I managed a respectable, for me, 4:22 for the course. 
March 31 - Headed west from Waterworks Park w Kyle Sedore and made our way west into some hellish west winds all the way to Earlham. 105th/Adams was blazing fast. Too bad we were riding into the wind. We headed south and did some exploring, finding a really cool new road, Hogback Ridge, that had a scenic descent, and a curvy steep climb. It had the benefit of connecting back in to the CIRREM route. Some more headwinds and hills rounded the day and our 67 miles in a little under 5 hours/ 
Gents Race - Metric. Another great day on the bike with the same team I've had for the last two years. Sam Auen, Bob Moural, Guitar Ted, and Dave Cornelison. The weather was windy and overcast, but we still had a great day on our bikes, even with some of the team running on just a few hours of sleep. The course was flat, and didn't have the enormous amounts of fresh gravel we experienced last year. 
Plenty of other gravel events on tap this year, so I'm sure I'll have another report or two. :)
Steve Fuller

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Zach Bonzer Joins the Chase

We have yet another newcomer to the Cup O' Dirt chase: Zach Bonzer. Here's his first of many updates for the year. It's good to see so many new people entering the cup - maybe I should be better about updating the blog :)

I'd like to enter the Cup O' Dirt challenge with my first ride being the Gents Race 3.0 on April 6th.  We started at 8:45 with our team of 5 for the race that day with strong winds out of the south pushing us north about 19 miles.  When we made our first turn we knew it was going to be a rough day (especially for the guy on the single speed...).  At about mile 23, we had our first member drop out (the guy with the singlespeed) as we made our second turn to head into the wind.  A couple miles later our second teammate dropped.  We geared down and spun away into the strong south wind and finally made it to the halfway point in Slater.  After departing Slater at about mile 35, the 3rd member left the team.  My remaining teammate and I pushed our way south with the now SW wind. Finally catching a break and headed east for several miles before pulling back into Ankeny and finishing the course at about 3:15. 
Looking forward to another 11 100k gravel rides this year...I think. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jim Smith and Ed Matthiesen Raise the Flow

We have two more newcomers to the Cup O' Dirt. Jim Smith sent me these emails about some of the qualifying rides he's done with Ed Matthiesen. Raise the Flow, whatever that means!

Hi Nick,

Ed Matthiesen and I would like to enter into the cup of dirt challenge.

In the last two weeks we've done two metrics while scouting roads for the Dirty Lemming ride ( and getting some miles in for the Ragnarök 105 coming this Friday.

For both rides the roads were actually in pretty good condition.   I did more planning for the first one and the route worked out pretty well. The second one I planned in 10 minutes and we ran into a number of dead ends and ended up following what looked like a road right into a farm. Did run into a couple nice minimum maintenance roads though that will be nice to add to our ride in July, and a pygmy pony that was smaller than most dogs that we run into.

Attached are some pictures and I've created maps at these links.
Thanks for putting this on!

Jim Smith
Ed Matthiesen
Watertown/Delano area of Minnesota.
Here's their Ragnarok report from April 20th:

Last weekend Ed Matthiesen and I completed the 107 mile Ragnorok gravel ride near Red Wing Minnesota in a blazing 11:35 or so.    So that gives us each 2 metrics and one full for the year.

I posted a report with an elevation profile here.

Pygmy ponies: more fun to look at than farm dogs, and much less vicious.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jared Morford Double Update

Here's a couple more updates from Jared Morford, who was grinding away the miles in March in anticipation of TransIowa.

Hello Dirt fans!
I did a 70 miler today (4/17) with the Race Team and it sucked! I had a blast but my legs didn't want anything to do with it. However, I have some awesome teammates and the pulled me along. Not really much else to say. Crappy ride personally but I realized that on the days you are in a dark place the days you are in bright place are even brighter!  So with that lesson learned I saw today was great!

And the second on March 24th:

Yesterday Matt Maxwell and I did a 100 mile out and back from Ames, to Frazer and then up to Stratford. It was a good ride! Did some hill climbing in the Des Moines River valley. Saw an owl, some deer, galloping horses and a squirrel that made me and Matt lock up our brakes. Seriously, why do squirrels flirt with death and why wouldn't I just run it over? I don't want to run a squirrel over but is it worth almost going over the bars? Enough about squirrels. Another good ride with a great friend. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Christina Anthony's CIRREM Report

I had the pleasure of riding with Christina Anthony and Dennis Grelk for a spell at CIRREM in February. It was a great ride, and I was happy to have it be the last race I did before leaving Iowa. Check out Christina's detailed report about the race, and then be ready to sign up for it next year!

It was roughly 10 degrees with light winds as we pulled into a parking space outside the Cumming Tap to register for CIRREM. The gravel road conditions were mostly clear throughout the course as the roads had all been plowed and graded since the snow storm on Thursday. Dennis and I started towards the back for the neutral 2.5 mile rollout as the pack rolled over a sketchy wooden slat bridge known for eating wheels. Our goal was to finish with smiles at the end, so we stayed our pace content with catching stragglers and being caught by others. Throughout the first half of the race and until the checkpoint at the roughly halfway mark, we were able to talk with people and tick off the miles. The hills were punishing though on the first half of the course and we spent a fair amount of time dive bombing down them but crawling up the other side as we struggled to find gearing that we were both comfortable with for the climbs. Shortly before the first checkpoint, we walked the first hill when Dennis hit a low point. I fed him some sugar and nuts and we were on the road again and rolling the hills. Temperatures also warmed up and by the time we'd reached the first checkpoint 3 hours into the race, I had shed my jacket, gloves, and buff. There was a monster of a hill right before the checkpoint, and I was singing, "This is the hill that never ends; It goes on and on, my friends; Some people started riding it, not knowing what is was; and they continued, just because..." on repeat. Dennis smiled (or so he said), and we were grateful to be greeted by smiles at the top from the people at the checkpoint. Fresh water and a few treats, and we were back on the road again. Temperatures also warmed up and by the time we'd reached the first checkpoint 3 hours into the race, I had shed my jacket, gloves, and buff. 
After the checkpoint, the road became a little more of a course that favored a tandem for a while with hills we could use our momentum to fly over and we were rolling a good clip for quite a while. We even happened upon a flat section with a tailwind! We also saw two more bridges and I managed to get a picture of one of them while we were rolling. After all, this is the land of the famed Bridges of Madison County movie. Interestingly, after that checkpoint we saw not a single soul until near the end of the race. 
Throughout the race, I was in charge of keeping us both eating and drinking. In my one humorous misstep, I dropped the Reese's peanut butter egg on the ground as we were slowly crawling up another long hill and I learned the value of Reese's as we stopped and I ran back down the hill to fetch the peanut butter egg for Dennis. My low point came a bit later in the race (around 4.5 hours in) when I was all of a sudden starving. We stopped and walked the third and final hill of our race and I ate nearly every bit of emergency food we had brought along on the course. With my belly stuffed, we hopped back on and kept motoring. 
Towards the end, both of us were struggling. Dennis had a sour stomach and my legs and low back were tightening up and I couldn't find a way to stretch them out on the bike. Our pace had slowed, and all we wanted to see was the finish line. Because my computer had paused itself somewhere along the way, we truly had no idea how close or far we were and we just kept plodding along toward the line. Our spirits were bolstered a bit when a friend caught up with us and we were able to talk for a bit. His computer had died, so we were all just riding along, chatting and distracting each other from the pain. Before long, though, we turned and had the tailwind helping us again and lost our friend as we rode into town. I have never been so grateful to walk into a bar, be given a Pepsi for me and a chocolate milk for Dennis (on the house!), and presented with a trophy for the tandem division! Smiles all around! 
I attached two photos... One I took during the ride of one of the bridges we crossed and the other is a photo of the trophy we got at the end.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dave Giegerich's 2013 Resolution

Hey there Cup O' Dirt friends. It's been a while. I finally got all settled here in Montana, and am ready to keep the cup alive. I sent all of the cups from 2012 out before I left in March, but haven't done much since. So, if you've sent me an email with an update, it should be up here in the next week or so. Here's an update from the inimitable woodchuck-smashing Dave Giegerich, which he sent me in late February.

My Dear Cup-O-Dirt
Ok I have set myself a goal for 2013 and that goal is to turn in my Century rides on a timely basis and not wait till after the year to back track through my diary and count them. So far this year I am on track for a metric fat bike ride each month with two centuries in now on the fat bike one at Triple D and now one last Saturday 2/23/13.
Thanks for the chase.
Dave Giegerich

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Couple More JJM Reports

Jared's been great about writing Cup O' Dirt reports for 2013. I haven't even had to edit them too much! Here's from his last two Cup rides since Triple D:

I got my second metric in for the year! With Triple D, This weekend's ride and CIRREM next week the fact that I will have 3 completed by the end of February is a scary thought. At this rate I won't have to procrastinate! I went out with Matt Maxwell, Andy Zeiner, and Scott Sumpter. They invited Matt and I down to ride from Des Moines to Earlham. I think Matt and I were both excited to ride in a new place with great friends. All and all not much to talk about it. I was checking myself for TI9 and making sure my bike was ready for CIRREM. The bike seems alright for TI9 but I'm not ready for CIRREM! CIRREM always seems like tons of fun until you are out there. Then I tell myself for the week after that I hate that race and I'm dumb to sign up... Needless to say I've signed up the last 3 years. I can't be accountable for my personal actions so I blame Matt Maxwell and the Cup Master. 
To summarize the ride, 66miles with good friends, new scenery and pretty good strength.

Hello Bike Lovers,
This weekend at the CIRREM bicycle race in Cumming Iowa I completed a metric century on gravel roads. It went well. I really don't know what else to say. For me it was test run for trans iowa. The bike was running well and I felt I was as well. I was amazed how I pretty much rode alone despite seeing so many familiar faces. That's ok! When it was all done we met up at the cumming tap and had a grand old time! 
This is also a good chance to wish my friend Nick Wethington "the Cup Master" happy trails. He and his full time night woman are running off to Montana. If it wasn't for Nick and Matt Maxwell putting up with me in the basement of Skunk River Cycles I would probably not be riding gravel. So thanks, Nick, for introducing me to gravel grinding and putting up with me even when you didn't want to. 

Drew Wilson's 2012 Recap

Drew Wilson had a few more rides to add to his 2012 totals. Once again, he had a great year of riding! Here they are:

According to my last update I had 5 metrics and 3 full centuries in Mid June.  
6/16-  Dirty Benjamin ride/race full century
6/23- Cheq 100 (I raced the shorter metric version) metric
7/27- metric south of Rochester
7/29-30 rode 191 miles over the course of two days hitting Cannon Falls, Red Wing and some of Wisconsin.  1 full, 1 metric.
8/11-13 rode about 250 miles over the course of 3 days starting in Hayward and riding northeast to the Porcupines. 2 full.
8/19- 130 mile ride over much of the same terrain as the Dickie Scramble will be on. 1 full.
8/25- the "mn 24" 6 hour race. 1 metric.
9/7-9- Gravel Conspiracy!  About 300 miles over 3 days.  2 full.
9/22-  Almanzo Gentleman's Ride. Full.
9/29- Heck of the North. Full.
10/6- The Heroic plus 29nsngl mtb TT. Metric.
10/27- Dirt Bag.  Full. 
Tons of long road rides in there that didn't count!  Long gap between 10/27 and Triple D though with no rides over 30 or so.
I guess my total for the year is...  13 full, 10 metric?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dave Giegerich Crushes Again

I asked Dave Giegerich at Triple D just how many metrics he'd done for 2012. His reply: "Oh, I didn't do too many this year because of some injuries. I think it was like about 50 or so." I think this tells you a lot about how awesome Mr. Giegerich truly is. Here's a brief recap and another image of our Triple D adventure.

Dear Nicholos,
Sorry for the delay in sending you my gravel travel centuries but I had a very serious traumatic occurrence happen to me which left me unable to function up to now. You see on Jan 20th 2013 I became lost in the deep wilderness of Iowa forest with two other cyclists, at night, and with failing lighting systems. The two other cyclists were the following.  A sir Nicholos Wethington and a Mr. Jared M. 
I have heard from certain folks in the know that this has so affected Nicholos that he is now moving out of Iowa. Jared current condition is unknown at this time 
However back to the Cup-O-Dirt. I went through my riding diary and found a total of 55 Metric Gravel Centuries for the year of 2012. Looking forward to setting and achieving some new goals for 2013. 
Thanks for the Chase
Dave Giegerich

Kurt Sandiforth's 2012 Overcompensation

So, I got an email before ordering 2012 cups asking about a late entry into the 2012 Cup O' Dirt chase. As you can see below, I think this amount of dirt riding deserves at least one mug! Props to Kurt for finishing so well at all of those difficult trail races. Check out his blog for some mind-blowing photos and ride recaps. I've no doubt we'll be hearing from Kurt over the next year!

Hey Nick I found your Cup O' Dirt sight.  I think we share some kinda of connection?  I keep a blog called bike grease and coffee:   and my nickname has been Dirt Kurt since I was a little kid.  Anyways in 2012 I completed the first ever "triple crown of bike packing"  I finished the Arizona Trail race(1st), Tour Divide(3rd) and Colorado Trail race(9th) in a single season. 4000 miles of off road racing in 31 days. I do more centuries on a and off road per year than I can count.  Actually I did more than 6 double centuries last year (not all dirt though).  Ok you get the point. I'd just be stoked on one of your mugs? 
cheers, Kurt Sandiforth  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2012 Rides from Charles Showalter

I finally got to meet the famed Charles Showalter at CIRREM last week. He is every bit as awesome as you'd think he is, plus some. Probably the hardest drinkin', smokin', ridin' fool you'll ever meet. Craig is absolutely spot-on in calling him the PowerGoat! See attached photo of Charles riding motocross. Here's what he had to say about his 2012 rides:

I've been off the radar since Trans Iowa.  A lot went on in my life between May and January, but sadly Cup rides weren't part of it (just two metrics since Trans Iowa).  Here's my recap from 2012, which by my calculations earns me a Cup in the "12+ Metrics" category:

The ones we've already counted:

1/1/12 metric: this was the New Year's Day Hangover Metric with Courtney, Craig, and others riding a modified version of the CIRREM course.

1/7/12 metric: nothing special to report here, just gravel with some CR roadies.

1/8/12 metric: this was a pre-ride of the Triple D course with Dave Giegerich and Craig.

2/12/12 metric: metric with Craig, him on a Pugsley and me on his old mountain bike.

2/25/12 metric: CIRREM.

3/18/12 metric: Craig and I did the "Amana ride."  I originally counted this as a century.  I'd like to switch it to a metric
4/28-4/29 five metrics: this was Trans Iowa, approx. 330 miles of gravel.  I originally counted this as three centuries.  I'd like to switch it to five metrics.  
Previously uncounted rides:

4/1/12 metric: Me, Craig, and Courtney rode from Courtney's place in West Des Moines to the Missouri border and back.  It started out as the "April Fools Ride" but by the time we got back we just called it the "Fools Ride" because we were fools for doing it.  It was unusually hot that day--got into the 80s.  We got lost about a dozen times.  We ended up with something like 210 miles, with about 100 of that on gravel.  I'll just count it as one metric because I can't remember exactly how much was pavement. 
9/15/12 metric: This was a pre-ride of Craig's Moonshine Metric course.  We rode it on fat bikes.  I was toast by the end.   
9/29/12 metric: This was Craig's Moonshine Metric.  The weather was perfect, full moon, clear night, lots of fun.  A little dusty, but fun.  
Total for the year:
So that gives me a total of 14 metrics on the year.  Thanks for the chase, it was always fun to have an excuse to ride at least 60+ miles instead of bagging it early and heading home.  And I really like riding gravel.
Charles is probably even faster on a bike than he is on a moto.

Craig Irving Finally Spills It

Well, much like with Lance, we all knew what was going on. I personally saw Craig sneaking cans of unicorn lard into his panniers at the AH 135. I'm going to throw away those CraigStrong panties that I've not taken off for a whole year. Fortunately for Craig, you can dope all you want on Cup O' Dirt rides, so I guess I'll send him a couple of cups for all those rides he did last year. Don't mix your EPO and meth, though, kiddos.

September 8th:  Day two of the Gravel Consipracy in northern MN was 123 miles of gravel, drizzle, endless washboard, an ATV trail that eventually faded into nothingness and a last minute reroute onto pavement to finish it out.  I suffered through some light tendonitis in the ankle most of the day, so I skipped the third and final day to avoid aggravating it any further. 
September 16th:  Pre-ride of the Moonshine Metric course with Charles the Powergoat.  65 miles or so. 
September 29th:  Another excellent year for the Moonshine Metric.  Temps Started off about perfect and dipped to chilly by then end of the night.  The roads were so dry that one of the B roads we hit was a few inches deep of cocoa powder for a mile long stretch.  Finished the night with plenty of food and drink and hung around the fire pit til around 3am before hitting the sack. 
October 21st:  Won my first bike race in over 13 years!  This was my second time racing the American Gothic Gravel invitational and after the early C road I had a sizable gap so I gave it a shot and started pushing it.  Ended up fighting cramps from about the mid point on, but had enough juice to hold my lead.  Not a big field this year, but still very proud of the accomplishment.  Noodled around the parking lot afterwards to kill some time and rack up that last mile point five for the metric. 
December 16th:  Rode my fastest gravel metric ever with the clock sitting at 4:15 when I hit 62.1.  This was no cupcake of a route either, with 3000ft of short, punchy hills. 
December 28th:  Took the start of the Tuscobia 150, but lower back pain was bad enough by the time I hit the second checkpoint togive me enough of an excuse to pull out.  Pretty disappointed that I didn't rest a bit and try to finish, but we'll just chalk that up to lessons learned and future motivation.  Finished with about 64 miles. 
That should bring my year end totals to 12 metrics and 9 fulls, which is a bit wimpier than I was originally expecting.  Still, I had fun doing them and I'll look to better that mark in 2013, starting with the Arrowhead 135.  Have fun out there, folks!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A.J. Turner's Winning Triple D 2013 Report

If you weren't there, A.J. Turner burned up the course at Triple D this year. He and Drew Wilson (another Cup O' Dirt rider) battled for the win, and A.J. used his mad skills to come out on top. Then Adam Blake got him really drunk. Congrats to both A.J. and Drew for their fantastic showing of skills and athleticism at Triple D, and for doing the Cup O' Dirt proud!

So awesome to meet the man behind Cup-O-Dirt this last weekend! I'm determined as ever to get one of these cups this year!
My first addition is, of course, Triple D. 67 miles (As I was told) in about 5.5 hours.
One of the hardest and most treacherous races I've done in a while, it proved to be a great first ride to go in for the Cup-O-Dirt chase.
Ice and very hard frozen fields and single-track made this as much of an endurance race as a technical bicycle abilities test.
No doubt, I had fun and am excited to be back in the chase for 2013.

A.J. kicking ass. Thanks to Martha O'Connor Leigh for taking photos this year (and every other year) at Triple D!

Pat and Charlie Jenkins 2012 Recap

Congrats to Pat and Charlie Jenkins for doing 7 full centuries on a tandem! They each get a cup for 2012, and it sounds like they had a helluva lot of fun riding in 2012.

Here's a recap of our dirty rides last year. Life got in the way the 2nd half of the year, so we haven't been on dirt or gravel since DK. But, we are optimistic that we can change that this year. Definitely let us know if we owe anything for the cups, and/or shipping. I know that stuff isn't free...or even cheap! We DEFINITELY need 2 cups!!!!!!!!!
Charlie Jenkins
Pat Jenkins 
#1) 4/8 - 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!!!!!!! 
#2) 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. 
#3) 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. 
#4) 5/6 - 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.
#5) 5/27 - Pat & I rode another "dirty" full century today. 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. 
#6 & #7) 6/2 - 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! 
Thanks for doing this Nick! It's a great motivator to "get dirty" frequently! We look forward to many more in 2013. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scott McConnell's 2012 Recap

Here's a brief recap of Scott McConnell's 2012 rides. He's got a cup on his way for doing at least 6 full centuries. Heal up, Scott, and have fun riding for the 2013 season!

Well unforunately, my quest for 12 full centuries ended at 8 full centuries.  I was in a car/bike accident which ended my quest in 2012.  However, please add me to the chase for 2013!!  If it makes a difference, I could switch the 8 full centuries to 13 metric centuries with the big rides being Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa, and Trans North Ga : )

Jared Morford's Triple D Recap

So, Jared, Dave and I got lost in the woods at Triple D. Jared and I rode a good portion of the race together, and had some fun times. We hooked up with Davie G late in the race, and decided to follow him back to the finish because he's a local and all, and had ridden part of the course earlier. Dave picked an "alternative route" for us, and we rode all over a hill that had a bunch of trees, then saw someone's headlight on the actual trail and asked them, "Are you lost?". He said he wasn't, and we replied that we were indeed pretty lost. Thankfully he stayed where he was so that we could bushwack back to the trail. Then we ate a peanut butter sandwich. Anyway, here's Jared's recap of the race:

So about last year... Uh it was hot and dusty. Forget that! I did a metric at the 24 hours of Seven Oaks, which I encourage all of you to race, but otherwise I don't have a clue. 
My first metric of 2012 is complete! It wasn't much of a gravel grinder and more of a fat mountain bike ride/time trial/ bike skating event. You must be asking yourself what was this event? Duh, Triple D! After about two years of coaxing, Matt Maxwell and Nick Wethington finally got me to do a fat bike race. All and all it was pretty awesome! Major set backs included realizing I brought my camelbak, but forgot my bladder, OOPS! And then at Durango figured out my lighting system didn't work. However, despite those obstacles the race/ride was a pretty good time. It also helps when you ride a majority of the race with "the  Cupmaster." Which was pretty awesome, because I'm not sure I would have finished otherwise. But what could be better than being lost in the woods, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with Nick and Dave Giegerich?  Great time and a great first of the year ride!
Dave Giegerich captured this fantastically accurate photo of us lost in the woods. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First Update for 2013 from Christina Anthony

Welcome Christina Anthony to the chase for 2013. I have no doubt that she'll crush us all (including Dennis...)

Hello, I'm joining the chase for 2013! Our first gravel metric was completed on New Year's Day on the tandem from Donnellson to Keosauqua with stops in Farmington, Bonaparte, and Bentonsport along the way for human fuel and a lot of warmth. Temperatures were on the frigid side with either the actual temps or the windchills being in the single digits for the entire ride. 
We (Dennis Grelk and I) left just a few moment after 9am. Our first goal was Farmington's gas station about 15 miles away. It took us almost 2 hours to get there. Along the way, I had unzipped nearly all my layers. My toes were a little chilly, and I actually took my hands out of my bar mitts for part of that ride. At the gas station, I ate 2 peanut butter cups and drank half my bottle of water. We also bought toe warmers and put them in our boots. (Toe warmers are amazing, and I had no idea how I've lived this long without them.)
Then, we took off for Bonaparte, another 5 miles away. We didn't actually go into town, but stopped briefly and I took off my winter cycling coat and put on my windbreaker jacket instead. I ate a few handfuls of mixed nuts and drank some hot chocolate from one of the thermos we took along. We kept riding.  
Bentonsport was the next town, another roughly 5 miles away. It had no services, but we walked through town anyhow as we couldn't ride the bridge with the tandem and both of us had cold toes. I drank more hot chocolate and ate a few Reese's peanut butter eggs.
The final leg from Bentonsport to Keosauqua (our turnaround town) about killed me. I was coldish, I had to pee, we were crawling along... I was starting to think that Keosauqua was a town that Dennis had made up. I was playing some messed up head games, doubting my ability to complete the ride, thinking it was ridiculous that I even thought I could do it, etc, etc...Somewhere along the way, we finally stopped and I watered the pines, hoping no one saw me, but not even caring if they did. I ate a few fun sized snickers and drank more water. Dennis was kinda laughing at me and telling me "Let's just make it to Keosauqua before we throw in the towel..." So, we kept going... 
And, I can report that Keosauqua does exist... We pulled into town a bit after 1pm and after 30 some miles. At the gas station there, I ate 4 Reese's peanut butter cups, drank a V8, and part of a Pepsi Throwback. We went to the laundry mat and Dennis dried his clothes while wearing my windbreaker jacket (a humorous sight). I added another set of toe warmers to my boots and drank more of my Pepsi Throwback. And, then we reversed direction and went back home... 
We went on a different route back, and we flew so much faster with the wind slightly at our backs! My spirits were lifted so much... Dennis said we were climbing hills at the same speed as we were doing flats on the way out to Keosauqua. I kept the rest of my Pepsi Throwback handy, and that seemed to be a power drink for me. I had to store it under my coat after a while as it started getting chewy when it froze... We passed by Bentonsport and rode through Bonaparte, but didn't stop. Outside of Bonaparte, we walked up a super steep hill, warming out toes up. I drank a bit as we walked. We stopped to walk probably at least 3 more times. We made it home in roughly 3 hours, at close to 5:30 tonight. I lost my power in the last 30 minutes of the ride and had to eat more, a fun sized snickers and a peanut butter egg, 2 miles from home just to get home.

I attached 2 photos from the ride. (Photo credit to Dennis Grelk). 
Christina Anthony

Courtney Hilton's Death Ride Report

If Courtney completes the "Fat Cup", I'll see what I can do about getting a "Fat Cup O' Dirt" commissioned. It'll be at least 3.7" across...

I did half of the death ride in July with guitar Ted about 70 miles.  Then after a lot of working I finally got in a metric in October.  I think this earns me one cup for 2012.  No plans for 13 yet but I want to start the "fat cup“ this year!  I'm doing all my cup rides on a pugs this year.

Courtney's Centuries 3&4 - Dirty Kanza

Here's a little bit of catching up on Cup O' Dirt full centuries from Courtney Hilton. If you've never done Dirty Kanza, it is a really fun race (though hot and difficult most years...). Registration is still open for this summer if Courtney's report makes you want to go!

Well This could be a long post so I'll start from the beginning.  The Starting line was a street paced full of riders in front of the Granda Theater in downtown Emporia.  They had staged signs for times you "expected" to finish in 12 hours, 14 hours, 16 hours, 18 hours funny but there was no sign for never.  I looked for my group in the 18 hour but at the last minute found them in 16.  I told Craig he was very ambitious 16 hours is really fast.  At 6am after a short little speech that we couldn't hear anyway from our distance from the start line we were off.  I was feeling a little 'under the weather' even though the weather in Emporia was perfect the weather in my stomach was not.  My group was Don, Barbie, Craig to begin the day,  Barbie was setting the pace for the first hour at 17+mph.  I decided (and by 'I' I mean my stomach and legs) to back off to a reasonable 13-15mph as this is a pace for finishing a 200+ mile gravel ride.  I did catch back up to the group on 'Texaco Hill'.
I was starting to feel better around 9am and finishing was looking like a realistic possibility.  I got in to checkpoint 1 at 10:20 and was back on the road at 10:45 with Craig.  We let Barbie and Don go since it was obvious that they wanted a little more speed than we cared to do.  The next 40ish miles to check point two was a blur.  The only part I remember is the ride through the long b-road section with all the low water crossings and stopping for a road side potty break with leaves for tp (and I made good use of the course map)  I think it was around 2:30 or 3 at checkpoint 2 but I really cant' remember now.
I'm not totally sure what time we left Checkpoint 2 but I do remember we were way ahead of schedule and looking at a pre-midnight finish!  The roads after 2 were a lot more 'B' service and some were almost single track level.  I stand with my cross bike decision.  We did talk on the B-road from last year were it all went wrong, Craig thought we should have brought a couple forties to pour out for fallen derailliers and broken dreams.  I said we are mountain bikers will drink the fourties and leave the bottles for the deraillers.  Once we were past there this section was the most fun section to ride.  I do remember feeling towards the end of this section that I was Done, but I told myself to suck it up and quit whining and just ride.
Checkpoint 3 feels like victory.  It was still light out about 7:50, didn't expect that.  We Stopped for too long here (almost 30 minutes) but I think we needed the rest.  I remember that after this point all I was thinking was are we there yet?  How many more miles.  One wrong turn in Americas set us back about 10 minutes or so and I thought I was going to die on the last hill.
We finally pulled into town and Craig says lets pick it up a little and finish strong so I heard start doing 20+ to the finish.  A couple wrong turns later we were in the finish straight.  They had blockades up the whole street and I heard the derailer clicks next to me.  The adrenaline took over and this is were the 53 ring comes into play.  I always dreamed of finishing a race in a sprint for the line with a couple people.  I never thought it would be a 200 miles race.  Gear kept dropping and I picked up speed, no one had come by me yet so I kept moving I caught a glance at the computer on my bike under on of the street lights 35mph.  I shifted again and was out of gears (53x11) and crossed the line.... Only one guy was sprinting with me but I won, well 151 overall.  Really I didn't even care if I was DFL I finished and did in 17.15 way faster than I had ever imagined.  And I'm never doing it again...ha ha ha.

2012 Reckoning

I need updates from everybody that was chasing a cup in 2012. I think the only people I have complete information for are the Venteichers and myself. So, send in your ride reports or just a total of all your rides for 2012. And a special note: thanks to an anonymous donor, if you got a Cup O' Dirt for the first time in 2012, your cup is completely paid for! I may or may not be able to divulge the benefactor. If I can, I'll be sure to publish their address so's you can send them thank you cards or bits of gravel from each of your rides in 2013.

I'd like to get the cups ordered by the first week in February so I can try to hand a few out at CIRREM. I'll be moving to another state in March (one that has mountains, even), so would love to be able to get as many mugs delivered as possible before then. Don't worry, though, the Cup O' Dirt will continue in 2013! Get started riding.