Cycles in Life

After BLBBRBK, I shared some pictures from Matthew’s blog, Cycles in Life.  I’m going to link to his blog again today, so you can see his thoughts on the Gravel Metric.

I had a chance to talk with Matt at the pre-ride event, to see him during the event, and to talk briefly after the event.  He’s a great guy, and I can tell that he would fit into the local scene here very well if he ever finds himself in DeKalb.  Off the bike, he was personable and great to talk with.  On the bike, he was a strong rider and–perhaps more importantly–a predictable rider.  He held a line, even on loose gravel, and he tried to work together with others.  As it turned out, we were not entirely in sync–he was pulling stronger than me early in the race, and I had some more gas in the tank later in the race, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to ride together a ton…but what we did was pretty fun.

If you’re a cycling fan as I am, then you’re probably always on the lookout for good sources to read.  Matt’s blog is definitely one.  When he started writing, I was kind of chagrined–who’s this guy from Central Illinois who’s suddenly writing about Gore jackets and all of the stuff that I’m writing about?  As I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his blog more–and now the pleasure of meeting him twice–I can say that he’s the real deal, and his blog is one of my favorites to read.  If you get a minute or sixty, click over and take a look.  Now perhaps he doesn’t have as good of taste in bike shops as do I, and of course, he doesn’t have Axletree…but he’s still a pretty great dude.

In looking at his blog, I see things that I aspire to as well.  He’s a programmer by profession, and his blog has a far better aesthetic than mine.  And whether by the fact that he’s in his first year, or simply because he’s more dedicated, he has been doing a far better job of photo-documenting his bike experiences.  Total pictures taken by me at the Gravel Metric: 0.  Total taken by Matt?  Unknown, but more than zero.  He also has these incredibly cool decals for his blog.  Gonna have to look into that.

Anyhow, click over and check out his stuff, and if you’re in the Bloomington area, look him up.  And Matt, next time you come up here, we’d be happy to show you around again.  Great ride on Sunday!

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2014 Gravel Metric

The 2014 Gravel Metric is now over.  More than 360 riders this year.

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(I’ll have more pictures in a few days).

It was fantastic–a completely different experience for me this year.

My GM started several months ago, as we planned different ideas for the ride.  I’ve spent a  significant amount of time working with caterers, and working on the myriad of permits and regulatory requirements that one must satisfy in order to have the event itself, and the post-ride party (with libations) in the parking lot by North Central Cyclery.  Thanks to the generosity of one of the neighboring businesses, we were able to lease a private lot, fence it off, and have a post-ride reception on-site.  It was fantastic being able to have the gathering right there, and be able to cheer riders as they finished.  The food and drink was a success–and the atmosphere was perfect.  So the efforts to make it happen, from all of the Axletree crew, were well worth it.

That said, there was a period of time during the planning stages where I felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein, being attacked by my own monster.  As someone who is used to dealing with regulatory hurdles and rules, I was nearly overcome by the red tape involved in planning the post-ride event.  Fellow Axletree volunteers were very accommodating of my neuroses as we discussed the various rules we had to fit within.  In the end, it worked perfectly and nearly all attendees complied with the strictures we had to fit within.

Oh yeah, and there was a bike ride too.

This year’s course was a little over 68 miles; the same course as last year.  Unlike last year, the course was better-marked in the State Park, so we did not have as many issues with wrong turns as in years past.  That was a definite improvement in the realm of ride planning.

Of course, I rode the Moots.  With Shimano Di2 hydro, the 2014 geometry, ENVE 29XC wheels, etc., it was fantastic.  I ran 3 bottle cages…and the Moots gave me room for 3 full-size bottles on the bike.  There’s even enough clearance to swap out the bottom bottle while riding, without hitting the tire.  This bike is fantastic.  I literally cannot think of a single thing to change about it–it is amazing.  I could go on and on and on, but suffice it to say that after trying a lot of different setups and components, this is the best multi-surface / gravel / whatever bike I’ve ever ridden…and if I threw a set of skinnies on it, I’m pretty sure it would rip on pavement, too.  I love my Vaya, and the Vaya has been my steed for the past 3 Gravel Metrics.  The Moots is faster.  I know that sounds dumb…a bike is only as fast as the rider.  But the geometry on the Moots–the shorter chain stays, blah blah blah…it just feels faster and more efficient.  It’s an amazing bike.  It’s not just hype–there is a difference.

Speaking of 3 past GMs…the first year I rode, there was flash-flooding, hail, lightning and tornadoes.  The second year, I bonked and overheated, with ungodly heat and wind.  Last year, I rode pretty well and was happy with my finish, albeit with a little rain and wind.  This year, the weather was perfect.  It started around 70, and got into the low 80s, with wind out of the southwest, switching to the southeast.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what to do for food and water.  I wanted some liquid calories, but had a really hard time finding a sports powder, with calories, that was GF/DF. Accordingly, for fluid, I used Skratch, made at about 1.5x the normal mix strength.  I drank a bottle in the 15 minutes before the ride, and took 3 bottles with me.  My plan was to drink the first bottle by mile 25, the second by 45, and the third by around mile 60.  (The last 8 miles are flat into town, and I wanted to use my water on the ride, not at mile 65 where it wouldn’t matter.  I wanted to end hungry and thirsty).  I stuck to that plan exactly and it worked perfectly.  I did bottles this year in lieu of a hydration pack, and felt like I was able to still keep well-hydrated even as the temps rose.  3 bottles was perfect, as I wanted to go light and get done, rather than take more time and need more water.

For food, I had a hearty breakfast, a protein bar and a banana just before the ride, and I took with a protein bar and 3 gels.  I ended up using the gels and not the protein bar.  I had a gel at mile 20, 35 and 48.

What about the ride?  Downside first: my left foot.  A couple weeks ago, I did a vacation and one day, found myself carrying a heavy-ish backpack and wearing flip-flops.  Since then, I’ve been battling some peroneal tendonitis in my left foot–it is the worst at the insertion point on the side/underside of the foot.  It was flared up on Sunday, and as the day went on, it got worse and worse.  For the last 20 miles, I couldn’t stand on the pedals because of the pain.  For the last 10 miles, I had my left foot balled up in my shoe, with my shoe loosened, to try to finish.

Upside: that’s the only downside.

My ride plan was to stay towards the front-ish at the start (through the B-road), and then ride my race at my pace.  I wanted to work with others, but not if it meant pushing beyond what I could sustain.  I rode to that plan with precision.  Going down Lynch, staying with the front meant riding at 25mph.  I hung on and felt good.  As we turned onto Harter, another rider hooked into my handlebars and nearly wiped us both out.  I backed off to give him some room, and then got back into a rhythm.  I lost the front front group at that point, but was still in the first chase group.  I rode Harter, took the B-road, and then on the first real stint into the headwind (South on Pritchard), rode a sustainable pace.  For the next 20 miles, I felt like a lot of people were riding in a weird way.  They would try to hold the same pace all of the time–on the flats, on the hills, etc.  I would stay with groups if they were riding my pace (and would make sure to do my pulls).  If I couldn’t pull through, or if I didn’t like the pace, I’d break off.  My sense was that people were riding too hard, too early.

Through the Park, I had the same experience.  There were people riding the park like it was a CX race.  There were a lot of matches burned in there.  I rode the park conservatively…no brakes (carry as much speed as possible), but not burning myself out, either.  On the out-and-back, I started picking up the pace and running people down.  I saw one of my fellow Axletree riders–who had looked so ungodly strong at the start–pulled over on the out-and-back.  I wanted to pull him back into the race, but he said he needed a few minutes, so I pressed on alone.

As the day continued on, I kept a few matches in the pack.  I’ve been fooled into a Gurler Road headwind too many times to hit that road with an empty tank.  I rode the next B-road without incident, and made my way to the creek crossing.  We had a bake-sale at the creek crossing, and to my chagrin, someone pulled their bike in front of me and told me that I had to spend a dollar at the bake sale.  In my head, I was all like, “1) there’s no GF/DF/Oat-free food here; and, 2) a dollar?  You think I need to give Axletree a dollar?”  What I verbalized was something more along the lines of, “get out of my way.”  Whomever that was–sorry.  I wasn’t in the mood to stop and have a dialogue about food allergies.

I hit a deep crack in the creek’s concrete bottom, and as I got to the far side, my efforts to pop the front wheel up were not quite enough.  I hit the broken concrete lip on the far side of the creek hard enough to generate a loud, audible thump.  I, along with everyone watching, figured I had flatted.  To my great delight, wheel and tire were both intact and I pressed on.

Elva had been recently graded and was delightfully smooth.  This was around the time that my left foot completely fell apart.  I stopped for only the second time of the day (the first time being at the out-and-back to get my wristband punched), so I could loosen my shoe and ball-up my foot, and got back on the bike.  I had about 12? miles to go, and wanted to get them done.  I grabbed the drops, and put the hammer down.  When I turned on Gurler, I had a second wind and buried myself.  With a mild cornering headwind (~10 mph out of the southeast), I rode due East towards town at 19-22mph.  I rode down a lot of folks who just blew up on Gurler–either limping along slowly, or sprawled out under a tree.  My strategy of the day worked perfectly, and I rode hard and strong back into town.

I finished with gas in the tank–I could have kept riding.  That was a mistake in some ways–and I think I could have trimmed 15 minutes off my time had I ridden a bit harder earlier.  But that said, I’ve gone through the Gurler Road burnout myself so many times now that I wanted to make sure I had energy to finish strong.  I have learned that lesson and won’t get suckered by Gurler ever again.  (I know that by saying this, I’m taunting Gurler into kicking my butt the next time I ride it).

I rode most of the day alone, which seems to happen to me on the GM rides.  I wished I had someone to ride with, but couldn’t find anyone riding the same pace–and a lot of the people that ‘dropped’ me in the morning found themselves sucking wind in the afternoon. I rode the best GM of my life and finished feeling good–good about my planning, good about my bike, good about my riding, good physically, and oh-so-good about what an amazing event that Axletree put on.  The cherry on top was having my wife and daughter cheer for me at the end–so awesome.

The post-ride gathering was fantastic and fun and well-worth all the planning.  And Axletree has some big plans for the future.

This, my fourth GM–it was my best.  It was perhaps the best GM ever.

Sailing.

I used to sail with great frequency.  Back in the day, the Mrs. and I owned a Hobie Cat, and we’d haul it to Evanston and go sailing on Lake Michigan on a near-weekly basis.  (Obvious statement warning:) In sailing, you learn to see the wind.  You find where it’s at, and you optimize your position to take the greatest advantage of it.  We did some fun, crazy things in my younger years–including sailing down to downtown Chicago and up to Navy Pier (through the breakwater), on a sailboat with no motor and no way to ‘power out’ if we misjudged the conditions.

You might expect that the fastest sailing was directly downwind (or running as you’d say in nautical terms), but it wasn’t.  Depending on wind velocity, the fastest sailing for a Hobie was going to be somewhere between broad reaching (sailing downwind at a 45 degree angle off the wind direction), beam-reaching (sailing perpendicular to the wind) or perhaps even close reaching (sailing slightly into the wind).  Even with a spinnaker, the Hobie was not an impressive runner downwind.  Accordingly, you would work your way in the direction you wanted to go by tacking back and forth (or jibing, if the situation dictated) and maintaining optimal wind direction.  Even though you were covering more distance than a straight-line would require, it was nonetheless quicker because of your significantly greater speed over ground.

There are few feelings in life that can compare to the thrill of beam reaching (sailing at a 90 degree angle to the wind) on a Hobie, up on one hull, and out on the trapeze.  (The trap is essentially a cable that connects a nylon seat (or ‘diaper’) to the mast, so you can lean waaaaaaay back over the water and counterbalance the boat against the wind’s velocity, helping to keep the boat somewhat level).  Too much sail, and you’ll dump the boat.  Pop the front of the hull into a wave, and you’ll flip and turtle, ending up with an upside down boat (mast pointed down, underwater).  But if you did it just right, you’d be the fastest non-motorized thing on the water, and would feel like you were flying.  No noise–just the sound of the wind, the slap of waves against the hull, and the sound of the water spraying up against the trampoline.

In some ways, I think any serious cyclist who rides on roads, be they gravel or pavement, should try sailing a few times.  You see and appreciate the wind.  When we do our group rides, I feel like I have a better understanding of where it’s going to be, and how it will change as I pass trees or structures.  I have a greater respect for its power when I’m in irons (riding directly into the wind).  Obviously, on a bike, running with the wind (directly downwind) is the fastest, unlike the Hobie.

I get asked with some frequency what I think about aero wheels, like the ENVE SES 3.4 Clinchers I run on the Madone.  I love ‘em…but here’s a little secret.  Like the Hobie, they are not at their best on a downwind run.  When you have a staunch tailwind, they’re still great, but the advantage they have over “regular” wheels is not as significant.  Where the ENVEs come into their own is when you’re running close hauled, close-reach, or broad-reach with the wind.  Not directly into the wind, not perpendicular to the wind, not directly downwind…but at an angle to the wind (either a cornering headwind or a cornering tailwind).  In those circumstances, my perception is that I can feel the effect of the wheels the greatest, and that they essentially act as a sail, helping to pull me along.  That may be overstating it a bit–but they feel like they are reducing drag the most at that point of riding.

Other ‘quasi-aero’ wheels, like the ENVE 29XCs that I run on the Moots have some beneficial effect, but not to the same extent as the 3.4s.

I miss sailing–and I wish I lived somewhere that it was more accessible.  But on the right night, with the right wind, the Madone reminds me of that sensation of flying, and helps me remember to respect the great power of the wind.

The Afterglow.

Yesterday, I rode a short, hard ride.  A little over 14 miles, in a little over 45 minutes.  Moots, gravel, paved, hills, tiny bit of dirt.  I rode it as a time-trial, flat out for the whole time, and pushed the pace.  It was a hard effort.

I rode with the Garmin on, but ignored it.  I listened to the crunch of the CX0s on gravel, and the reassuring click of Di2 blasting through gears.  I basked in the rhythmic hum of my cadence, and the warmth of the rising sun.

For the rest of the day, I had the afterglow.  That pleasant burn in your thighs to remind you of a ride well done.  The lightness and openness in your lungs, telling you that they’re ready for another effort.  The responsiveness of your heart rate to a sustained effort.  The clarity of mind that comes with a morning’s sprint.

The afterglow is the best part of riding in the morning.

The attack on gluten allergies.

Note: somewhat angry post follows, including some language that is vulgar, but which I am unable to express in any other format.  Please feel free to skip this post if you find such language unacceptably offensive.  It’s just that I find the current societal approach to gluten allergies to be inexplicably vulgar.

The past few weeks has been replete with this strange phenomenon of attacks on gluten allergies.

Jimmy Kimmel showed that, predictably enough, people who are idiots are idiots.  Jimmy Fallon took an opportunity to create a fake celiac, and then throw a pie in his face.  The New Yorker ran this editorial cartoon:

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And then there’s this business insider piece that suggests that because a limited group of “self-identified non-celiac gluten sensitive” people are hypochondriacs, that gluten sensitivity does not exist.  And when I say that they suggest this, I’m being kind, because the title of the article is “Researchers Who Provided Key Evidence For Gluten Sensitivity Have Now Thoroughly Shown That It Doesn’t Exist.”

Argh.

I once saw a person who thought he was having a heart attack, but really, it was just reflux.  From this observation, I can opine that heart disease does not exist, according to the logic of the business insider article.

I just don’t get it.  I don’t get why society thinks that it’s funny to poke fun at a disease.  It’s a fucking disease.  It’s not a choice.  If I could go back to eating pizza and drinking beer tomorrow, do you really think I wouldn’t?  If I could go to Portillos and order a plate full of hotdogs, and savor those poppyseed buns, would I martyr over being gluten sensitive?

It seems like society thinks that it’s ok to make fun of this disease because there are some people doing it as a lifestyle choice.  People don’t choose most diseases, or choose to voluntarily undertake the treatment for most diseases.  Most people wouldn’t voluntarily claim to have a shellfish allergy, for example.  So when a person with a shellfish allergy goes into a restaurant and says, “I’m allergic to shellfish”, the restaurant takes it seriously, and the waitstaff have a mental picture of the customer swelling up and dying on the floor.

But when you go in and say, “I have a gluten allergy”, they don’t know if you’re really allergic, or if you’re just trendy allergic.  And even if you get glutened, you won’t die on their floor.  Heck, they probably won’t even know about it, unless they happen to see you during one of the next three days when you’re in really terrible pain and are crapping your brains out.

If you want to know what being glutened is like, take a read here.  And if you want to know what it’s like to see your kid being glutened, it’s heartbreaking.  If you want to see what it’s like to explain to your daughter why she can’t eat what the other kids are eating, stop by my house some time.  It sucks.  From someone who wants to give his daughter everything, telling her no to simple kid pleasures like jellybeans or ice-cream just flat sucks.  “No honey, you can’t eat that birthday cake.  Mom baked a gluten-free cupcake, just for you.”

If you don’t think it’s real, fuck you. If you think it’s funny to make fun of a disease, fuck you.  If you want to pretend to have a gluten allergy as a lifestyle choice, fuck you.  And if you claim to prepare something as gluten-free but don’t exercise the requisite care to ensure that it actually is, then fuck you in particular.

This is not ok.  It isn’t funny.  It isn’t fair.  It isn’t a choice, nor is it placebo effect.  I don’t understand why it’s ok to make fun of a disease.

Look at the ingredients on the foods that you eat today.  Imagine spending the day having to avoid anything with gluten, any form of wheat, oats and dairy.  Would anyone choose that voluntarily?  How about I follow you around for the day, with a baseball bat.  If I see you eat something that would make me sick, I’ll do a few swings for the fence into your midsection, as a simulated instance of being glutened, and then I’ll hold you down and pour some laxatives down your throat so you can have a few days of the experience.  It’s hilarious, I assure you.

Trust

I’m about to head out for a group ride, so this will be a quickie.

I think I may know why I like the rides I do with the people I ride with: Trust.

I grew up on a farm, where the people I worked with were my grandfather, father and brother.  I trusted them implicitly and expressly.  If we had to move a piece of equipment, I could be standing in very close proximity with my dad at the controls, and not worry about the danger of the situation.  I mean, we tried to minimize unnecessary danger, but there are dangerous aspects of farming.  You don’t trust a spinning PTO, but you do trust that your dad will look to make sure you’re clear of the PTO before turning it on.  It’s just unspoken.  We didn’t have a lot of ‘lockout/tagout’ procedures that most companies have.  Maybe we should have, but we operated in large measure on the premise that none of us wanted to do anything that would harm another of us.  None of us wanted to work less, as it meant that our brother or father would have to work harder.  None of us quit a job, because we knew who would pick up the slack.  We trusted in each other, and we protected each other.  We did things that would make me cringe if I saw them in a ‘normal’ workplace.

I think I liked working on the fire department for the same reason.  You quickly found who you could and could not trust, and who did and did not pull their weight.  When there was a fire, by some unknown forces, the people you wanted to work with always ended up on your crew.  And going into a fire, you knew they had your back and you had theirs.  So many things were beyond your control…but the things you could control, such as how you responded to a situation…those you handled in the fashion that protected your crew.  And you trusted that they would reciprocate.

That kind of trust is not common in society.  It is hard to find.  That sort of selfless, unflinching partnership.

I think that’s why I do the rides I do, with the people I ride with.

I don’t have to look up the road past my Axletree friends to look for potholes.  I trust that they will call them out.  I don’t have to second guess a decision to cross a street.  (I might look for myself, but it’s because I’m looking out for the whole group).  I don’t have to leave a little extra room in case someone does something stupid.  I can trust.

And I try to do my work, even when I’m feeling weak, because I know that if I don’t take my pulls, someone else has to take up my slack.  I have to reflect others’ selflessness.

I also think that’s why it is so jarring to me to ride with others who don’t meet those expectations.  With a new rider, I’m going to leave them extra room…but I would expect them to pull their weight and work with the group.  It may be why I don’t find most races to be exciting…because I’m not interested in the competition, but rather in the relationships on the team.

I hope it’s a good ride tonight.  It’s been a hard day.  A good ride would be nice.  Either way, I’ll pull my weight, and trust my friends.

Gravel Metric Training Ride #3: 55 Miles

(Introductory Note: I’ve been quite busy of late, and have not been paying attention to the blog.  My apologies.  Also, I neglected to get any pictures from Saturday, so this is text only.)

Saturday was the Axletree Gravel Metric Training Ride #3.  It was anticipated to be 55 miles of awesomeness.  I mounted up the Moots, threw on my new Axletree Kit, and headed out.

The rollout from town was nice and easy, and as soon as we turned left on Gurler Road, we were hit by a pretty majestic tailwind straight out of the west.  Notwithstanding the pre-ride warning, a rider had squarely nailed a pothole coming out of town and flatted within a mile of the shop, so the pack stopped just off Gurler and waited for a regroup.  (If there was any bonus to the flat, it meant that everyone who was with that rider got to stand around for a few minutes and stare at his new, beautiful, custom Gaulzetti).

After the regroup, we punched south on Lynch with a pretty good crosswind.  There were a few riders at the front that were just kind of lingering, so I pushed past them and tried to do the ‘rodeo’ gesture to suggest that we rotate through some pulls.  That didn’t happen…people would just sit where they were.  After a few more turns, we were down to a smaller group of about 7-8.  There was Lenny, Aaron, BPaul, one other NCC guy, a guy I didn’t know, a girl named Kae (Kai?), and a guy in a TBC kit.  Lenny and Aaron went to the front, TBC guy hooked on, and they were off.

The remaining 4 of us (BPaul, Kae, NCC guy and myself) started working together pretty well.  We were rotating through a paceline, and working hard.  For the most part, everyone was pulling…and when someone missed a pull, one of us would jump over and pull through.

We hung a left to go south, and the lead group was perhaps a 1/2 mile ahead of us.  Kae pointed forward in the “let’s go” gesture, and suggested that we bridge across to them.  At that point, I contemplated my options and decided that I didn’t have the bridge in my legs–or at the very least, I realized that if I bridged, I wouldn’t be able to hold the pace once I moved across.  Accordingly, I decided not to bridge, and the remainder of the foursome held back as well.  Besides, I was mid-mouthful of gel.  Holding back at that moment proved to be an important and wise strategic decision–maintaining a steady effort was critical to the day’s outcome.

Until mile 35, it was constant turns directly into the wind, then heavy crosswind, then directly into the wind.  It was gravel and paved roads, but a constant, nagging wind.  I don’t know exactly what the wind was–I’d guess 15-20mph.  I rode well, and maintained a steady effort.  I shot a gel around mile 15 and mile 30, and those were critical to my continuing success throughout the day.  Interestingly, about a week ago, I walked for several hours in flip-flops, carrying a heavy backpack.  Since then, I’ve been dealing with a bit of peroneal tendonitis.  Early in the ride, it felt ok…as the ride progressed it started really hurting (and my calf muscle on that side started burning), and then, it got markedly and suddenly better.  (The day after the ride, I was having difficulty just walking, but things seem better today).

Around mile 35 was where we turned North onto the B-Roads.  BPaul was in front at that point, and notwithstanding the mud, ruts, holes and generally adverse conditions, he was killing it.  Our foursome shattered as he went spinning off and I chased after.  We regrouped only when Paul flatted shortly after the creek crossing.  While we were changing the flat, two riders caught our foursome and passed…and that gave us one mission.  Catch and destroy.

As soon as we were rolling again, BPaul and I pushed out at our best sustained effort, going North into a steady crosswind out of the northwest.  We ran down the two chaps who had passed us, overtook them, and they briefly tried to latch on.  Their effort failing, we continued north (and overshot a turn).  A brief reroute later, we were on Gurler headed Eastbound, with a strong tailwind.  We were running between 24 and 34mph depending on terrain, and it felt glorious.  I pulled past BPaul at one point to take the lead, and he said, “I’m just going to ride this tailwind back.  If you’ve got it, go for it–don’t hold back.”  To which I replied, “I AM going for it.”  I was canned out…there was no secret reserve that I was holding back.  We were both riding at our peak effort, and were comfortably neck and neck.  (Of course, BPaul is suffering from newborn-induced sleep deprivation, so perhaps it wasn’t entirely fair…)

The last 1.5 miles into town on Gurler, I see BPaul lean over and hunker down, fingers going to the shifters.  I knew what to expect.  He pushed off the front and I dug deep and tried to hang.  It was a fantastic end to a challenging ride.  Not that it was a race, but we finished 4th and 5th.  (Not that it was a race.  But we finished 4th and 5th.  But it wasn’t a race).

For the G’Metric, my nutrition plans are relatively similar, although I’ll add a bar in there somewhere.  I drank 2 bottles in the 55 mile ride; unless it’s beastly hot, I’ll probably take 3 for the Metric.

My other big takeaway was realizing that I want to ride the Metric around people I know.  Kae aside, I was surprised at how poorly people were working together.  I don’t know if it was ego, or poor planning, or just inexperience riding gravel in heavy winds…but people were not rotating, were not pulling, and were not being neighborly.  Whether you’re in the ride to just ride it, or in to race, riding with others is better than riding against others, at least in my opinion.

It was a great day to see all of the Axletree colors flying, and to see just how great the new kits look.  And it was a great, challenging ride under perfect weather conditions.