Another weekend and another race in Iowa, this one was the Renegade Gents Race and it looked to be much better weather than we had for the C.O.G, so things were looking up. This is the Gents 9th year putting on this team race and our second year in a row attending. Since Todd, Dave and I were able to get off of work a little early on Friday, we high tailed it to Ames to drop of the gear and bikes and then headed to Dublin Bay to meet up with the rest of the folks when they arrived.
Even before we were able to get a table folks started showing up, by the time we were seated we were in full force; well of those who were arriving somewhat early that is. There were three teams coming from the Lincoln/Omaha/Council Bluffs that I knew about so we were going to have a pretty decent showing at the race.
Since we did have a race the next day we didn't stay too late at the restaurant and headed back to the hotel; well first the convenience store directly behind the hotel which we were told had a decent selection of potential ditch beer worthy beverages. After crushing the giant gas can we did go in and the selection did not disappoint at all. With beverages in hand we returned to the hotel and got together in one of the rooms for some race strategizing and barley pop drinking.
The Nebraska teams managed to slip into slots near each other and two hours earlier than last year, which was good for time to finish and for finding rock star parking before most teams arrived. The concept behind the race is that slower teams start early, faster ones later and the first team done wins and so on until all teams are in or time has expired. It's a little bit confusing until you break it down because you might have a faster time than another team but if they cross the line before you, they are placed ahead of you in the standings even if it took them longer to finish because they had an earlier start time. Anyway, this ain't about the rules because to be honest, I don't think a whole lot of teams are out there trying to win it insomuch as they are just trying to enjoy a day on the bicycle with friends.
In sticking with that jovial theme of the race, we named out team The Poo Fighters and decided to bring cheesy poo shirts for the start of the race.
We did get photo bombed by Guitar Ted of Trans Iowa, Riding Gravel, Twenty Nine Inches, Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational and C.O.G fame so I had to invite him over for an us-ie and to say Hi. Two Iowa races in a row and two GT sightings, this time he was a participant though and not on the other side of the clipboard.
Promptly at 8:22 am, the Poo Fighters were off on our Gents Race adventure. Weather was pretty decent but it was a little chilly to start with the overcast skies and steady 20 mph winds but at least it was dry.
We were about 8 miles in when we had to stop because Dave was having an issue with his saddle and rear tire but we didn't mind, Brian popped the top on the Revel Stoke pecan whiskey and we just started the party a little early is all.
The Jman got the nod for this race, probably will get the nod for quite a few races this year, and it performed quite well. It was much easier to push at speed than the usual fat bikes I'm accustomed to riding but the 2" tires provided adequate float for the loose, sandy roads we encountered at times on the course; the best of both worlds you could say. Plus she was looking all purdy and shit, even had a fellow racer or two comment on how pretty the bike was. If she wasn't already pink you'd probably be able to see her blushing from all the attention.
Like I said before, one of the things I love about this race is that nobody takes themselves or the race too seriously. While we were waiting for Dave to fix his bicycle I knelt down in the middle of the bridge and took a few pictures of passing racers while handing out free high fives and good will. If you were to try that in any other race you'd likely get ran over or at least yelled at but everyone on Saturday played along and took it in stride.
The sun did try to pop out a few times before finally making it all the way out of the cloud cover for the latter half of the race. About the time that the other Nebraska teams caught up with us, we happened upon what must be ditch beer corner as there were half a dozen teams lined up on all four corners participating in a frosty one. Who are we to say no to a good ditch beer.
As one larger team we rolled into the check point feeling pretty good for the most part, Dave and Kevin were struggling a little bit so the pace on the back half of the course was a bit slower than the fist half. We would also be meeting the steady 20 mph headwind for most of the return trip so slower was maybe not so much a choice as a requirement.
The cow tandem was out at the Gents, these guys always know how to have a good time. This speaker was cranking out some volume, could be heard from a pretty good distance even over the rush of the wind in your ears. Talked to the guy for a bit and he said he made it himself with instructions he found on the interwebs, well of course I went and looked them up. If you want to build one for yourself, HERE they are if you are so inclined and somewhat handy with tools.
Miles 42 through 52 were straight into the teeth of the wind and it was kind of cool to watch some of the teams trying to form up into an echelon for drafting purposes. The only problem with this type of drafting on gravel is that the lead person usually gets the best line and everyone behind them gets whatever comes their way if they want to stay in the formation, not always ideal on an ever changing surface like gravel but if you could make it work I'm sure your legs appreciated the break from the wind.
Of course after all that grinding, a ditch beer was needed to finish out the last 10 miles.
62 miles later and, wouldn't you know it, we ended up right where we started only much later in the day. We shared some food, drink and conversation before packing it in and heading home, another great Gents Race in the books; always a good time. Definitely will be on the radar again for next year and their 10th anniversary.
Todd and I caught this beauty on the way back to the car, man it was a nice ride and smelled like cars of yesteryear or gasoline; whichever way you prefer to think of it.