This little gem came in the mail yesterday, I knew something was coming since I got a notification something was on the way but to be honest when that blip came flashing across my texts I had no idea exactly what this way cometh. You see, I had almost completely forgotten about that email back in late November from the fellas who ran the C.O.G 100. In that email they let all of the registered racers know that there would not be a C.O.G 100 race in 2020 or even in 2021. Reading the email back in November the rhythm and flow painted a grim picture for the C.O.G happening again, ever, if you read between the lines. In that November email the registered riders were given a few options on what we wanted to do with our entry since the race was not going to happen any time soon. Those options ranged from doing nothing and letting it ride for a future event to basically donating your entry and swag back to Guitar Ted and NY Roll so that they could try to sell the swag and recoup some of the costs they had already shelled out. Like the selfish prick I am I opted to have my name removed from the roster but wanted the hat. I just didn't know that this is what was in the mail and on it's way when I got that initial text.
Honestly it wasn't that dickish in my head, the Real American Gravel hat went nicely with the other COG 100 hat I had from the first race in 2019 plus I have a bit of a hat collection if truth be told. As a hat collector, one as rare as this was a much desired addition and one I could not pass up. I mean come on, how many of these hats could possibly exist in the entire world? Additionally since November it has been verified that the C.O.G 100 is in fact dead for good. That bit of news along with the announcement by Guitar Ted that he was also stepping down from organizing any further events also now makes the hat a nice nostalgia piece. Something to talk about with the great, great grand kids some day. Maybe.
But it’s also a bit more than just having a cool hat really, I was determined to give the C.O.G another go in 2020 and try to redeem myself a little for the ass kicking I took in 2019. The race was always going to be difficult, it was 100 miles of gravel on a single speed after all but conditions were miserable in 2019 and that multiplied the suck factor. It had just rained the night before, it was cold and the winds were whipping across the fruited plains. You can read my post race write-up for that HERE if you so chose to read about that as I'm not going to rehashing it here. The flashbacks man, the flashbacks.
With the demise of the race I thought that the C.O.G 100 would always be my Moby-Dick, the one that got away. Instead of a big white whale biting off my leg, the race directors chomped off all my shifty bits and left me adrift in the gravel seas. Come to thinking of it, Guitar Ted does look more than a little bit like an 1800's sea captain and NY Roll sometimes smells like live bait. Kidding there, a little, but I thought I'd never get the chance to give it another go... sure I could have ridden the same course again, if I could find the cue sheets because there wasn't a GPS file out there to my knowledge. And really, what would have been the point of racing the same 66 mile failed attempt?
I felt like 2020 was going to be the year, I'd gotten into better shape than I had been in years, I figured out a way to have a lighter, more gravel worthy rig and I had a score to try and settle. No, it wasn't going to magically return all those beautiful shifty bits to my bicycle but Ahab didn't go after the white whale hoping to get his leg back either... it was about the revenge. All is not as dark as it seemed when that email hit my inbox as it turns out. In very un-GT like fashion, Guitar Ted and NY Roll released what would have been the 2020 C.O.G 100! So as it turns out I still have my chance to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, even if it's not an official C.O.G 100. Now I just need to figure out when to do it, I do want to attempt it on a single speed in the true spirit of the race but I'm opting for a much nicer time of year than March in Iowa. I suppose one could argue that is cheating a bit but as the DJ of this particular dance I can change the date as I see fit. I guess it's time to see how serious I was about tackling the C.O.G because as the saying goes; be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.
*Photos of the race were taken by Jon Duke, to the best of my recollection.*