The 10,000 is Coming.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, click on over and check out the 10,000 site.  Me, I checked out the 10,000 route.  In just 2 weeks, we’ll be lighting out, for somewhere between 75 and 125 miles of mixed surface suffering.  On Thursday, a few of us took a rare respite from work, and headed out to Freeport to preview the route.  I’ve ridden Almanzo.  I’ve ridden the Gravel Metric in a tornado.  I’ve done a century on a fatbike when it’s 12 degrees out.  How hard can be 75 miles of gravel be?

Hard.

We started under a rainstorm that quickly passed.

This is the picture of Tobie that I get every time I take a picture of him.

I’d like to say that this was an artistic picture of the Axletree jersey, but I was trying to take a picture of the group behind me.

Better.

The early roads were nice.  Smooth.  Little rollers.

On the ride day, there will be a decision point around mile 40, where you decide if you’re going long or short.  Let me tell you, the first 35 miles do not accurately represent the course.  It gets harder.  Relentlessly harder.  We rode with a few hours of fog and clouds, and cool temps.  If it’s hot and sunny, people are going to really suffer.

ENVE—–>FTW.

The hills started.

And the flats.

E-gads, it’s beautiful.

And relentless.

And then there’s Hanoi Road.

Bring bug spray–I got a tick.  Also, bring boots.

It gets worse.

The roads are often named after their conditions.  There’s Slick Road, Hairpin Road, Yougonnadieonthisclimb Road, and so on.  There are so many false flats, hidden second and third climbs, and heartbreaking ‘ride around a corner and only then see the second half of the climb’ climbs that it’s a pretty dispiriting ride at times.  SRSLY.  Come with the right mentality.

We averaged 15mph for 75 miles, with 6,200 feet of climbing.  That was all I could do.  That was with 4 other strong riders, with pretty perfect weather.  If I’m doing the longer ride, the pace is coming down.  Frankly, I’m a bit concerned about the route.  If the weather’s hot, like I said above, people are gonna suffer.  Bad.  There’s nothing out there.  There’s no shade, no respite, no water, no relief.  Make the ‘short or long’ decision wisely.  I’m still thinking through how I’m going to decide.  Seriously.

Seriously.

Seriously.

How hard was it?  Hard enough that Becik spontaneously grew cornrows.

But when you get to be on a bike, on a day like this, how bad can it be?

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