Crushed by Gravel

This weekend, I rode the Alamanzo 100 for the third time. I failed.


Photo by Mauricio Babilonia.

I’d ridden over 800 miles this year so far prior to the Almanzo including getting my best 100 mile time on the Ragnarok earlier in the season and finishing the Ironman 68 in miserable conditions, and I finished the Almanzo last year, so I was feeling pretty good about the Almanzo this year.

However, the cold and wet sapped the life out of me. My feet were cold right away, and my gloves were soaked by 25 miles and I was starting to get really cold. My hands started going numb. I started looking forward to big climbs because I would warm up. My glasses were covered with gravel grit and water so I could barely see.

My legs felt good, but that was just about the only part that did.

Muddy Saddlebag

To add insult to injury, my bike computer died shortly outside of Preston.

Fenders possibly a good idea

In the end, I gave up because it wasn’t fun any more. We stopped in Preston where Garrick helped us out with warm soup and hot tea powered by his camp stove. Ahhh…warm food never tasted so good.

My friend Ben wanted to keep going, but after getting back to Spring Valley (by car) and seeing the shape the finishers were in, I think we were all glad not to be out there any longer than we were. They were soaking wet, covered with mud and some of them were shivering uncontrollably, close to hypothermia. And these were the leaders! We would have been out there for at least another 7 hours.

Only 153 people finished the Almanzo out of over 400 starters. A lot of cyclists I have tremendous respect for gave up that day. Everyone who finished deserves incredible respect for their accomplishment.

After the Ironman and Alamanzo, I have realized how important gear is. Summer is (finally) upon us now, but I am not going to forget the frigid rides of spring. I will be investing in some real rain gear and some shoe covers.

And I will be back next year.