Adventure Bike (Gravel, pavement) 13:31:00  150.48 mi (11.1 mph)
Terrific event! More folks from Ohio/Michigan/Ontario need to go to to this event! It is a great course and a very well run event.
The start/finish/registration/expo was just on the north side of Lincoln, with lots of parking for folks rolling in at 5 am Saturday morning. Bless volunteers who direct traffic (and hyped up bike riders) at 5 am. Or earlier.
At the start, Paul realized that the course was missing from his Garmin 1030. But I had it on my Garmin, so he said "I guess I need to ride with you after all". Then 5 minutes before start time, a guy rode up beside us and asked Paul if the course was on his 1030. Well, no. He said his had disappeared that morning as well, but if it WAS on Paul's, it could be broadcasted to his 1030. Guess what? My new 830 does that too! (which I didn't know I could do without a wifi connection). So in 3 minutes, the course was shared with the stranger and with Paul. Miracles of modern technology.
And we were off.....in the darkness. A sea of blinking red lights stretched out ahead of me, and the hills began. And didn't end for 150 miles. They were without end. They never stopped coming. And were around every corner. And after each little hamlet we rode through. Over 9800 feet of elevation was the final number on my Garmin (the organizers were a bit vague as to the elevation.....) There really were no flat bits.
I caught up to Paul about 30 miles in, then were back and forth after that, usually crossing paths at the checkpoints/unofficial oasis stops. No outside support was allowed at this race. There were 2 mandatory checkpoints that were stocked with water/cokes/pb and j's/bananas etc. And awesome volunteers to help fill water bottles etc. I found beer in the cooler at the second CP....maybe I didn't look hard enough at the first one ;) There were half a dozen un-official oasis along the way (there were listed in an email to participants). The first one was 40 miles in at the tiny hamlet of Loma. Water and fresh (delicious) kolache pastries were available, for a small donation. I should have taken 2 pastries! Then another stop at a gas station in Valpariso where the local scout troop was selling Gatorade and bananas and ice water and other snacks for nominal amounts. Later in the course, a guy was just handing out water along the road, and about when I thought I was going to need to retire to a shade tree, a group had ice water and cokes and a HOSE out at the end of the laneway of their rural property. Hit me with a blast from the hose!!!!! Bliss! There were a couple c-stores on the route (with assorted cyclists sprawled out in the shade of the buildings, nursing cold drinks) and in Sprague, the bar had an oasis with icy drinks/snacks. We watched a couple of cyclists go into the bar.....not sure if they came out and finished the race.
We'd seen a few people calling for rides along the road, and at the various stops along the way. The heat and hills were taking their toll. The forecast had been for 83F (29 C) and 12 km/hr winds. #fakenews It was 90F and at least 15 mph winds from the south that made it feel like riding in a blow dryer. I hadn't studied the map well enough to realize that we would have not just one, but TWO long hauls south into the wind. That second haul was somewhat demoralizing, but I knew we'd eventually get turned around and have a tail wind.
With about 10 miles to go, there was one last unofficial stop. It was a fundraiser for a new ball diamond for a tiny community, and I knew they had been out there all day. And, good news....I had to use their facilities (I had made a conscious effort to drink and drink and drink.....but with the heat and exertion, wasn't really sure if I was drinking enough to keep the pump primed, so to speak). For a small donation I got a huge piece of watermelon which I shared with Paul, then we were on the homeward stretch. Of hills. And pea gravel (this was the longest stretch of loose gravel all day). Finally we turned back on to the road that we had come out of town on at 6 am, and rolled over the finish line. I came in before Paul by a couple minutes. I hope we can stay married.
And I can't imagine doing this event at 18-22 mph as the winners did.
Here's the cool thing.....I am a slow rider, but I finished well within the time limit (15 hours). The 3 different distances started at different times, so to try to have people finish in a more compact time frame than if everyone started at once. The podium program had started just before I rolled in, so we caught most of it. And we were there for the door prizes (Paul got a set of awesome tires). And guess what? The food hadn't run out yet! (see last weekend's event for the opposite of that). Volunteers were great to chat with at the oasis/CP's and there were lots of opportunities to chat on the course (or exchange one word impressions of the never ending hills/wind). It really was a great event on a great course.
And I saw a LOT of corn fields. And soybean fields. They are 'way, 'way better than those in MI and the deep SW Ontario. So that made me happy too!