The weather may have been cold and wet, but I thought is was one of the best camps ever. Before I go into any details of our exploits, I want to personally thank Delaney for master minding the trip; all the cooks, especially Olga, John, and Chris; Shane for the sag wagon; all the sag drivers; and the rest of the team who helped keep the camp clean and fun.
Official weight Thursday AM: 197 lbs.
Ride Summary Data:
16,965 Feet Total Climbing
19.75 Hours Ride Time
Thursday Ride (Motion Based Data):
The weather was perfect for Thursday's ride. The original plan was for a 65 mile route. However, with the threatening weather for the rest of the trip, Treb and I intended to simply ride till dark. About 20 riders departed from Whalan at about 1:30PM. The first climb didn't come until 20 miles. Rolle set the initial pace until Rotach took over. I was able to get to John's wheel, and that was the theme of the weekend on the hills for everyone "follow Rotach, if you dare." Tons of sprint signs, with many players taking part, Cleary, Macy, Baker, Lewis, Skibby, among others. The rollers took their toll as we approached the 65 miles cutoff. Most headed back for camp, but a few ventured on to climb and sprint the daylight away.
The sprint into Houston was exciting, to say the least. I was powering through a bumpy turn, coming around Cleary, to get to Macy's wheel, with Baker and Treb on my wheel. My chain bounced off the outside of my big ring, and I came as close to going down without going down as possible. Scared the crap out of everyone involved. I though my chain had broke, but when I recovered, I looked down to see the chain was intact. So I quickly feathered it back on, and restarted my sprint. By this time, Macy had a huge lead, but it was still a long way to the sign. Baker and Treb got back on my wheel, and Baker was able to come around me, and get to Macy before the sign. What an adventure.
After the excitement, everyone except Treb and I headed home on the Root River Trail, while we sought out the famed Houston switchbacks. In the end, it only ended up being 6 extra miles over taking the trail home, but did add 1500 feet of climbing.
Friday Ride (Motion Based Data):
We awoke Saturday morning to see what we expected, 45deg and rain. Nonetheless, 25+ riders headed out on a 35 mile ride to Rushford for lunch at Subway. There were some fresh legs in the group, notably, Patrick Horrigan. Patrick got in late Thursday night, and slept in his car, instead of coming in and disturbing us while we slept. We were definitely not worthy of his kindness.
Rotach was still king of the climbs, but Patrick was a force. All day long, we sprinted against each other. We did at least 8, that were closely contested. On top of that, he was climbing at the front group. Awesome to have a new teammate that strong.
We were all soaked to the bone by lunch. There were people complaining to me even before we got to lunch. EPO stated "Cullen, you are the best motivational liar I know." Everyone was chilled to the bone, and shivering as they ate their subs. I didn't think we'd get anyone to go farther. People started heading back on the trail to camp for a hot shower, in droves. Only about 10 were willing to go further.
Interestingly enough, the rain subsided, and we quickly warmed up after lunch. So much so, that every time we offered a short option, no one took it. 8 of us ended up with 110 miles. During lunch, I was sure there was no way anyone, including myself, was going to make it 100miles in that weather. Very impressive.
Saturday Ride (aka: the Buffalo Ride)
Skibby comes to me at breakfast and Say's "I'm doing whatever you do today, plus some." The challenge is on.
Not quite as wet and cold as Friday, but close. We had a crash and subsequent pile up on the trail right at the start of the ride. Then, someone pointed out the steep climb up to the Lanesboro golf course, which I couldn't resist. About half of us sprinted up the 21% grade, only to turn around and go back down. At the bottom, we discover Neil has broken his derailleur hanger off, probably compromised in the earlier crash. Bummer.
One the second climb of the day, I decided to hang back and take it easier. I watched the lead group pull away quickly. Suddenly, Macy sprints past, and I can't resist. I jump hard, to get up along side him, and rouse him a bit. I counter his move, and go past Baker, who jumps onto Macy's wheel. As we approach the top of the climb, I make contact with Rotach, Atherton, Clark, and Lewis. I go to the front to relieve John, as Macy and Baker make contact. Macy asks Baker to help him counter again, to which he replies "Chad, I don't lead over climbs."
Macy outsmarted all of us for the Bratsberg sprint. Coming into Rushford for Lunch, there is a long steep downhill, and after another mile or so, 3 sprint signs. I lead down the hill, and the only ones to follow close were Baker and Patrick. We kept the pace high through the flats, and sprinted for all the signs in succession, with almost no break in pace. Patrick scored the 1st 2, with Baker grabbing the final.
The mood was much lighter at lunch today. We were not frozen like the day before, and the hardest rain occurred while we were comfortably sitting inside Subway. A good group set out towards Houston. We had another awesome sprint for the Houston sign, taken by Baker. A few rode the trail home from there, but a majority headed for the Houston switchbacks.
At the top of the switchbacks, Lewis dropped the hammer in the tailwind on the rollers. I took over after him, at continued to hammer. It was a blast.
We dropped back down into Rushford, for the same 3 sprint signs as before lunch. Baker had headed back home on the trail, so it was just Patrick and I for the signs this time. Patrick took the first, and lead me out for the other 2. After that, everyone was game to keep going, so we decided to ride back to Houston, and then take the trail back to camp.
Another climb to Money Creek, another sprint into Houston taken by Macy, and Deja Vu. I was still feeling good, so I suggested we hit the Houston switchbacks one more time. I expect Skibby to be the first to say no way, but immediately blurts out "I'll do it." We take a poll, and everyone is game. Macy quips "We're like a herd of buffalo, following the leader over a cliff" Hence, from that point forward, the ride became known as "The Buffalo Ride".
Deja Vu again, as we descend for the 3rd time into Rushford for the sprint signs. This time, it is Treb, Patrick, Macy, and I. Patrick grabs the first one again. Just a they are recovering, I attacked hard, got a gap, and took the other 2 signs. At this point, we have ridden 100 miles, climbed 6000 feet, and sprinted a dozen times. We were all exhausted.
We started back to the cabin on the trail, and 3 miles in, Lewis gets a flat. Treb and I continue for a bit, and then back track. When I get back, I don't see Skibby or Patrick, so I head back towards Rushford to deny Skibby his mileage trump. Suddenly, a thunderstorm rolls in, so I turn around, thinking maybe they were just hiding, and I missed them. I rolled the rest of the way home solo in the pouring rain, lightning, and thunder, only to find Skibby and Patrick had gone back to Rushford, and I had turned around too soon. Therefore, I head back out the other direction on the trail for 2 miles to be sure to deny Skibby victory. When I got back, they were back, and we conceded to a draw. What a day.
We again woke up to cold and rain, and my heart just wasn't in it. I decided to bag the ride, and take Sunday off, instead of Monday. Treb and Macy were game for that, so Skibby led a small group for 2 hour trail ride. Thanks Skibby. I made it home in time to take the family out for dinner at our favorite local restaurant.
The post-ride activities were entertaining as always, including screenings of "Borat" and "Pulp Fiction", some Texas Hold'em, as well as a scrap book of put together by Olga. I will never forget this trip.
Red Lantern's Camp Recap