Written by Michael Green Thursday, 15 October 2020 00:00
Much of the racing may have been cancelled this year, but not all of them. One of the local event organizers converted their gravel event into a virtual event meaning the 100k Waterloo Grit and Gravel of gravel was still on. I’d committed to entering these events as they appear yet for some reason I stumbled across this by accident. Nevertheless, there was still a few days to complete the course and post my time via Strava.
The days have been dry and sunny lately and so I decided to make a day of it. I took the day off of work and embarked on my midweek adventure. I got up early, had a good breakfast and started my drive across the state. The morning was bright sunshine, a coolness in the air was a welcome change after the hot summer yet in the distance, darkness. Yep, I hadn’t planned very well that darkness was a thunderstorm. I drove through the wind and rain for just a few moments and it cleared as magically as it appeared. I arrived at the venue and delayed an hour for the roads to dry a little. With my bike computer loaded with the route I set off with excitement “I’m racing”.
The gravel course was two laps of a 50k loop in the middle of nowhere and started and finished from a Waterloo state park. It was hilly to start and I let the excitement get the better of me by pushing a little too hard early. Eventually I settled in and paid more attention to my Stages power meter and keep my efforts in check. The roads were moderately heavy after the rain and weren’t rolling as fast as maybe they would’ve if it had been dry. Fortunately I’d chosen to run a file tread with side knobs which appeared to be a benefit for cornering. With the sun high and the rain evaporating, it was becoming extremely muggy - I hope I brought enough fluids?
The route was a good one. It did seem strange imagining what the roads would look like during a crowded event. The narrow roads were quiet with no one else out there riding and I think I saw one car. I completed my first loop a bit behind a pace I’d set for myself, passed my point of no return and moved onto the second half: It started raining again! I hate wet feet and a wet arse: it didn’t take long for either. The drivetrain groaned with sand, my brakes were grindy and noisy, it was miserable. I was hot, sweaty and over heating not long ago, now I was chilled. I was certainly thankful for the little bit of grip my tires offered and the roads were now really heavy.
Sloshing through the gravel roads, and dodging some fallen tree debris my mindset had changed a little to survival mode. I still pushed ahead as fast as I could but it was hard going. As I rolled back to the state park the sun came out again and the lake was calling me to rinse off, get sand from all of the “crevices”. Clearly other riders had ridden in groups and posted some reasonable times but amazingly I posted second fastest male for the day and first master. Not bad, but mostly happy for the adventure and looking forward to more events in the future.
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