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List your gravel races ridden here
 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/7/2017
at 5:49:02 PM
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I had this listed at first as the Pony Express 120 but now want anybody that has ridden a gravel race to list their rides and give a little write up on it so other folks that are so minded to do gravel races can get some intel as to whether they want to ride it or not

Many Thanks


Zman

Pony Express 120
Marysville Kansas


Actually I decided to drop back to the 66 mile ride/race which is now 75 miles.

My Goal FINISH

Went to bed last night at midnight. Set alarm for 4 AM. Overslept 5 minute shower and out the door. I think the only thing I forgot was a light weight jacket to keep me warm on the airplane. Drove thru the Baltimore/DC traffic for about the last 45 minutes. Those drivers are frickin idiots. You couldn't pay me enough money to drive that route everyday. I felt like at the time I lost 1 year of my life's living from the stress of the drive. I guess the ride Sat. will help reverse that some. This rides seems like a big deal for this little small town of Marysville and I am impressed so far of the organization of it.

My first impressions of Kansas.

1. They have way too many country Western radio stations.
2. Boy is it flat and you can see for miles.
3. There are more farm implement dealers that car dealers.
4. Every side road is a dirt road/mostly sandy limestone. A local says they call them a dirt road and if you go on them far enough a cow path. No wonder they have so many gravel races here in Kansas.
5. After coming from cool/cold PA. with lots of rain lately it feels like I came to the desert. I am glad I flew out early to get acclimated.
6. Drove up West RT 36 from Kansas City MO. All farms and not many towns along the way and then don't blink your eye as you are going thru it.
7.We are to be in the Flint Hills Region and lots of advertising of the Pony Express where our ride is to be.

That's all for now need to get my bike together and a shake down ride in the morning. Have some great anticipation for my first gravel ride especially with all the medical problems I have been having and leetle or no training. not lol

Enjoying the sunshine in Kansas.
Thinking of all our BJ members like hairykiwi and Bikeman in FL. Stay safe everybody.

Zman
thread edited on 9/25/2017 at 2:02:42 PM

 GeeWizMan member offline
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posted 9/7/2017
at 8:23:52 PM
post #1 viewed 1138 times
Good Luck Zman - have fun.

 russtaitai member not displaying online status
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posted 9/8/2017
at 5:20:21 AM
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I'm bettin' that flat of which you speak will not be so on the gravel ride. There are seriously some big hills in Kansas.

Have fun, stay safe.

 RustyRoadie member offline
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posted 9/8/2017
at 10:07:17 AM
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Wishing you a pain-free ride. Fun & safe as well

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/8/2017
at 11:23:48 AM
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Went out for a shake down ride this morning. Thanks for the well wishes from everybody. JOM over at GravelCyclist calls it tribal knoweledge. This is what I know lots of dust as they just did what the locals call blading a dirt road. I rode 5 miles and went to take a sip out of my water bottle. Somewhat exaggerating here but there was a 1/4" of dust on top of the water bottle and I had the bottle in the open position. I did a double take at first because I have never seen this before. I actually opened the bottle to see that there wasn't any dirt inside the bottle. They have KOM title(1st man and woman to reach the top) at 12.6 or something like that into the race. The slope is 14% but only around 200-300 ft. long we won't even call that a hill in Pa. You are right though Russ in that there are plenty of hills on the course though. I did the 1st 14 miles and it seemed so easy that I thought I might try the 125 miler, but still thinking I better err on the cautious side though so I am luvin my first gravel race.

Spaghetti super tonight and some pretty cool giveaways which I think includes 2 bikes and they were giving away a pair of bar mitts for the rider the farthest away. I thought I was in the running but now hearing CA/FL and a few other states that are probably farther away. This is really a big deal for this small town of Marysville so much so that they sent out there State/pubic works guy out this morning to grade that rutty river gravel road. I think this is the 5th year running of this race. Race starts in the morning at 7 AM sharp and yes I am going to have fun. Ride report sometime Sunday.

9/8
26.99 miles
2:24:26
avg. 11.20 mph
max speed 26.76 mph

Way too much fun

Zman
post edited on 9/8/2017 at 11:25:57 AM

 handyhannah member offline
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posted 9/9/2017
at 12:30:51 PM
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Zman. Be safe first. Have fun second. Keep us posted with ride reports and how you are doing third.fourt-same as second-have fun.

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/9/2017
at 3:53:23 PM
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Finished the 75 mile ride pretty brutal. Got hooked on gravel riding/racing 8 miles into the ride. Ride report tomorrow. Finished in total time of 7 hrs. for the 75 miler. Already have a couple of race directors wanting to set me up on some rides. Life is good.

Have Starvin Marvin big time.

Zman

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/9/2017
at 4:46:01 PM
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I have 2 wait 2 hrs. to pick up my drop bags so I thought I would post while still in my memory.

I consider myself very lucky in that I feel that God has given me that very strong natural athletic ability. Although I had a little bit over 1100 miles on the bike because of my medical problems I had been off the bike for months. My training was a 28 mile training ride in the mts. last Monday before the race. I wanted to get out a few more times but it was rainy and nasty so didn't happen. I knew I had to ride a smart ride/race to even finish the 75 mile ride and at least was smart enough to drop down from the 120 to the 75 and more about that later.

Because of flying I went to Wally World and bought 2 el cheapo styrofoam coolers. They had a clearance on them so of course they had no lids to them. Work out perfect. I get them at a discount and threw 2 hotel hand towels on top of them to keep the ice from melting and so they were nice wet and cold . Since the roads were powder and everybody was eating dirt/dust they came in very handy of wiping the crud off us at the rest stops. I let a couple of riders around me use them also and it was a life saver for them to get all the grime off your face.

The town of Marysville goes all out for this race and they had a free spaghetti supper last night. They had a riders meeting going over a few glitches on the ride and they had amazing giveaways that you had to be present to win. I think a $1500+ Specialized gravel bike/$500 wheel build to your specs/bar mitts and probably about 50 other giveaways at least. It probably took at least 1/2 hr. for the giveaways.

My plan was to get up at 4:30 finish packing out the car and eat breakfast at 5:00 as they were opening it up a hr. early for just the cyclists. Never heard the wake up call got awake at 5:20 wanted to be downtown at 5:30. Threw my cycling shorts on rush everything out to the car and grabbed some food. 3 or 4 servings of eggs and some sausage gravy with 2-3 biscuits. Rush downtown and thanks goodness it's a low key race only 180 riders in both races and most from Kansas. Was limited parking around one of the Restaurants in town The Wagon Wheel but I found parking real close to the start site 300 feet which was a Pony Express Statue. Was a mix up from my race number and it was sent to the Pathfinder bike shop and they didn't bring it up until this morning. 2 pipe cleaner ties tied to the handle bars and it was good to go. They were using a chip timing system which was unique in it's own way. It only worked at the finish line as they wanted to keep the theme of all riders carrying Pony Express mail. So we carried a laminated Pony Express card which you got punched at each rest stop. Come in without one punched and it's a DNF. Threw my cycling shorts on between the 2 car doors and couldn't get hardly any chamois butter out thank goodness I was wearing my favorite Castelli shorts which has stitched into the padding KISS(TMI) Do some warm up riding and a neutral roll out of town for the first mile until the 1st gravel road which was West River.

rest stops for the 75 miler were

CP-1 36.0 miles Swede Creek Church
CP-2 57.4 miles Town of Blue Rapids in a small Park.

They had a free beer challenge after some very tough single track at mile marker 64.4. If you could climb the hill which was really rocky and maybe 200 feet or so without putting a foot down you won the free beer. When I arrived there a guy had crashed 1/2 way up and they had to pull his bike off and of course Zman made it look like easy peasy. Won the free beer and gave the ticket away since I don't drink beer.

They also had KOM Challenge 12.6 miles in on a hill that was probably only 200 ft. long with a 14% grade. First man and women arriving there to the top won something. Hey we probably wouldn't call this even a hill in Pa. but then we are in Kansas now. Lots of rolling hills on the ride today so yeah it was tough. You can also see for miles on the course so you can see most of the rollers you are going to climb. They sweat that out here local riders but I thought it was pretty cool.

Back to the start of the ride. When we turned onto West River road at 1 mile it is so dry out here that the bike riders out front kicked up a nasty dust cloud. I don't wear glasses so yes I was eating dirt in my eyes in the beginning of the ride. Anytime a car would be coming the other way on the road you were eating dust. I think they said it hasn't rained here in a month or so and so yes it is really dusty. To make matters worse they went out and did the extra effort and graded all the gravel roads to take the ruts of them but then there is just a lot of loose powder. I took along an extra hankie to wipe the dust off my bottles before I would take a drink.

Zman
post edited on 9/9/2017 at 8:19:35 PM

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/9/2017
at 5:39:02 PM
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Locally because of all the dust they have a bottle bag that attached to the handlebars. They gave out quit a few of them last night and dang I didn't win that or anything else. I would have loved to have won the bar mitts and they had a contest for a free pair for the person that came the longest distance away from the race. I was in the running they also had a rider from Md. one from FL and the winner was from CA. BUMMER. I did get a free token to take my bike to a local car wash to clean it off. I will have to be careful and keep my distance as I would never ever even think of taking Victoria Secret to the car wash. I probably should take a close up pic before I do that to keep the memory in my mind lol.

I feel in love with gravel riding this morning when we turned down the first double track road that was flint/gravel/grass/stones/ruts/big rocks sticking out and all of the above. I did lots of research before the ride asked lots of questions and the best advice I received was to buy a set of Kenda Flintridge Pro 40 mm tubeless tires and they worked flawless today. I could pretty much throw the bike anywhere I wanted to and not worry about it. I was running 40 psi rear and 35 psi front for me weight. If you weigh less you can run less but at the same time you don't want to run too low or the tires will do what they call burping or break a bead. Starting temps this morning was right around 60 deg. F and I had thoughts of wearing arm warmers but glad I didn't as it warmed up fairly quickly. I probably did another mistake today but was lucky enough to get away with it. I did no eating on the bike even though I had fig bars and some kind of granola/sports bar in my bento box. I guess I was lucky enough I got away with it but kind of paid the piper towards the end of the race because of it. It was really cool until the first rest stop 36.0 miles. Zman's motto has always been.

If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride.

I had a few today but thank goodness I didn't have them all. I saw 4 riders with flats in the first 32 miles. Most were riding hybrid bikes or at least had the skinnier 28 - 32 mm tires or that is what it looked like. You can run a hybrid but for this ride with as many rocks or flint that it has you want to run some kind of 40 mm tires and at least tubeless another tire people like is the Panaracer Gravel King sk's

If you DNF on this ride you have to find your own way back. There are no sweeps and they is no support outside of the rest stops. If they catch you doing that or you are reported automatic DNF. I saw one dude with the skinny tires at the 32 mile mark and he said he had 4 flats that day and was done so yeah he had to walk 4 miles to get to the rest stop.

Not sure how many people had support crews but I would guess 50% - 75%. I at least had people cheering for me at the rest stops and they thought it was pretty cool that I would come all the way from Pa. for my first gravel race so yeah most everybody knew me and that was a big morale booster. They keep asking me what made you decide to fly out all the way from Pa. to do this ride as your first ride?

first control 36.0 I ate a turkey flat bread sandwich a Cherry Pepsi and some Pringles. A guy that I was riding around said good bye to me bu I knew that I had to get some food in me and ride my own race to be smart enough to ride my own pace. I pretty much rode alone most of the day after the 36 mile marker but there always seemed to be some kind of rider ahead of your that you at least had eye contact with which helps boost your mind thinking anyways.

More later tonight or tomorrow going downtown to see if I can pick up my drop bags.


Zman
post edited on 9/9/2017 at 5:42:27 PM

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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posted 9/9/2017
at 8:15:27 PM
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final stats for the day

75.34 miles was to be a tad under 74.0 but I always somehow manage to get in extra training miles.

Time 6:37:03
final ride time was 7:10 or there abouts so you can see I was pretty eficent at the 2 rest stops. I spent more time at the 2nd that the first to get more calories in me.

avg. speed 11.38 mph

max speed 33.01 mph

climbed 4,333 ft
22.61 miles

descended 4,329 ft.
26.53 miles That's what I am talkin bout more down hill miles than uphill miles. Really feverish tonight had to put my rain jacket on to warm up. Probably didn't help much in my hurry state this mind I threw my sunscreen in with the 2nd stop food cooler all of which I found out when I arrived there but kind of too late. It also might have been from a really hilly up and down Kansas with Kansas ain't flat for sure and maybe mega undertrained. just sayin

way too much fun

more of the last 1/2 of the race report in the mornin/tomorrow.


And yes HandyHannah I did have fun. I didn't stop and take any pics. They did have a photographer 2 out all over the course. I only guessin here but probably looking like the athlete in the early pics and the survivor towards the end. At the beginning of the race I sat up on the bike and looked all around sayin "I am havin so much fun I never want this to end". The last 10 miles especially from 62 mile on when it was nasty single track and techy descents which I haven't done on the bike yet I was thinkin I just want this over and dun. The 1st one I had both brakes locked up and we were sliding down the hill me and the bike as one and yes it probably could be considered white knuckle but it happened too fast for that. I heard lots walked it but I didn't have that tribal knowledge it wasn't even coming since I didn't hear much of the pre riders meeting.

Thinkin I should catch some much needed zzzzzzzzzzzz's
Zman
post edited on 9/9/2017 at 8:17:10 PM

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posted 9/9/2017
at 9:27:36 PM
post #10 viewed 1067 times
...

1. They have way too many country Western radio stations.

...

Zman
-- posted by Zurichman
One can never have too many County radio stations!
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