Hard to believe it's been 10 days since Odin's Revenge, I really meant to get this recap out much sooner but it's been a hectic 10 days and things are just now getting back to normal.
Since I was closing on a house and moving the following week, I just extended the time off a few more days and took all of Friday off as well. I tried to time my departure better but ended up still getting there way earlier than I needed to be. In all honesty though, I thought that check-in was 2 pm but it seems like it's now 4 pm; crazy that they keep pushing check-in later and later while moving check out earlier. Pretty soon they will have more hours to clean the rooms than you'll have hours awake in them.
Rooms have always been top notch, even if the views aren't... about the only hit on the hotel this year was that the internets weren't working. Things happen but in talking to the front desk it seems that they reported the issue to their "guy" a week prior, not sure what method of transportation he uses but that's a long time to be down in a hotel.
Got all checked in with out a hitch and sat around the hotel for a few hours waiting for 4 o'clock to head over to Walker's Steakhouse for the rider check-in. Again, I was a bit early for that as well, seemed to be a theme for the weekend, until it came to the race anyway.
Rider check-in is always a good time, getting to see and talk to folks you might not have seen since last year. Routes were handed out, food and drink was consumed, conversations were had and prizes were given away. Since it is Walker's Steakhouse, I decided to give the steak a try and I was not disappointed, also discovered that they have a really good salad bar to boot.
Also picked up a Garrett Olsen original print, dudes got some talent and I'm kind of fond of the subject matter as well.
Since my roomie from last year was out with a broken wing, I returned to the room after dinner, got the bike ready and then just chilled and watched movies on HBO. I know, quite the party animal.
Sticking with the theme, I woke up earlier than I needed to and probably could have gone and seen the long course riders off but instead I decided to grab a little breakfast in the lobby. Looked like there might have been a decent chance for rain early but it never really did amount to anything except a few sprinkles, precipitation wise any way.
Met Casey and a lady named Tiffany in the parking lot and we all rode over to the start together, I saw Casey a few more times on the course but never did see Tiffany again. I hope she ended up having a good day of riding.
Hooked up with the rest of the Rasta Crew at the starting area, we always seem to have a good showing for Odin's. Some of the same faces from last year, some new ones this year and some missing from last year.
New this year was a traffic light before the bridge over the Platte due to construction having it down to one lane, not a big deal on the start as it's a casual ride out for the most part until we hit the gravel. If you were racing with against someone else at the very end, making or missing the light could have a big time penalty associated with it... not that I had to worry about that.
We all managed to get through the light as a group without too much difficulty and spirits were high, on the plus side for me this year I didn't have a turtle head poking out this time around. Sometimes it really is all about the little things.
The father/daughter tandem team was back again this year, such an awesome thing to see.
As is always the case, once we hit the gravel the pace picked up markedly, stretching the field out.
I was riding with a fairly decent sized group and feeling surprisingly good considering that there hasn't been much time spent on the bike in the weeks that lead up to Odin's and no miles of gravel to speak of... and then it happened, for the first time in the two years of carrying the Canon G15; I dropped it in the soft sandy gravel that is western Nebraska.
The camera, being the trooper that it is, took a lickin and kept on ticking as they say but the group ended up getting a ways ahead in the time it took me to retrieve the camera and get going again.
Like a dumbass I burnt a few matches getting back to the group, probably more energy than I should have that early in the race all things considered but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
Settling back into a groove it wasn't hard to notice again how beautiful the scenery is around the Gothenburg area, always plenty of things to take in while riding.
The other thing that the area around Gothenburg has plenty of is hills and most of the short course hills are in the first half. We were about 20 miles in when they started taking their toll on some of the riders. Last year a few of the bigger hills got in my head, I can't remember if I had to walk any of them or not but I do remember spinning one or two of them in the biggest cog and smallest chain ring I had on the Farley. At that time I was only 6 months in on my journey into Fatdom and I don't think my legs were quite where the needed to be at that time. Now 18 months and well on my way to being all fat all the time, the legs have come around a bit more. I'm not talking blazing speed but I do feel that I have gotten faster in the course of that 18 months but mostly I think I am a much stronger rider now and am able to spin those massive tires for 60, 70, 80+ miles without absolutely killing myself. The hills on the course, while not easy, seemed easier than they were last year as I never had to drop out of the big ring for any of them; so there's that if nothing else.
Jason and I sort of settled into a similar pace while the others scooted on up ahead of us. I contemplated for days on if I should bring the Pugsley or stick with the Farley, to me it wasn't as easy as it seems like it would be on paper. The Farley is definitely the lighter, more nimble bike but the Pugs with it's more upright seating position seems at times like it is a faster, more comfortable bike on longer gravel rides.
I don't remember the burned trees from last year, must have been a fire recently. Jason and I kind of Yo-Yoed back and forth for awhile, he had me on the downhills... not sure if I have a brake dragging or what but I'd be pedaling on the downhills and he'd be coasting and walking away from me and then on the uphills I'd have a slight advantage and so it went for many miles.
Potter's Pasture is always a welcome sight, not only is it an opportunity to get more water but it also means that you're more than halfway done and that the bigger hills are behind you. We also saw the rest of the original group heading out as we were heading in.
Coming out of Potter's I could feel myself struggling a bit more than I was last year and sometimes I would catch myself just cruising along just taking in the sites and I'd have to remind myself to keep a decent pace. Jason cruised away at some point around this time and I never did see him again until the end of the race.
I like how they fish around here, none of that walking for miles business out here. The road along the canal is one of my favorite parts and least favorite parts of the course; I enjoy it because it's pretty much flat, smooth and fast rolling but looking at that canal it's all you can do to keep yourself from just jumping in and cooling off.
In a last little FU by the course, I could see this road just up ahead in my sights when a crazy wind popped up out of nowhere bearing straight down on us. It had to be at least 25 mph with bigger gusts and it just about took all of wind out of my sails. I have never been happier to see a paved road in my entire life than I was that day.
I managed to keep going and just a short while later the race was in the bag. I initially felt better this year than last year but the second half was surely slower than the year prior. Amazingly though for feeling so much worse on the second half this year my total time was only a mere two minutes slower this year... I wonder what might have been if the packing and moving hadn't consumed so much of May and June. I guess that question will have to wait until next year. Thankfully there is still a month between now and Gravel Worlds, while I might be able to pull 60 miles out of my ass with little to no training 150 miles is an entirely different story. As always Odin's was a awesome time put on by a bunch of great people, already looking forward to next year.