Saturday was a smallish group for the SMNDFBR with a lot of the normal crew off in Kansas or Colorado but the show must go on as they say. The plan on Saturday was to get out and pre-ride the Buccaneer course for the upcoming Gravel Worlds to make sure roads were in good shape and the files/cues were accurate and all that. A lot of weeks of prep go into an event like Gravel Worlds, pre-riding the course is just one of those little things that gets done in the weeks leading up to the event but it's a fairly important part if you don't want to send folks out onto an unknown course.
The Buccaneer is the shortest of the three courses offered for Gravel Worlds and it should be a great introduction to gravel racing if you've never been, you'll get a lot of great local gravel roads and even a great MMR thrown into the short 29 mile route. Saturday was pretty steamy, I'm hoping next week will be a little less humid but only time will tell on that. The shorter distance of the Buccaneer along with lots of possibilities for water seemed ideal this week so I was glad that I didn't plan one of the longer rides we usually have or volunteer to ride all or part of one the other two longer routes in Gravel Worlds. Leaving from the shop we'd still end up with a solid 41 miles on the day and that would prove to be plenty of sweaty gravel for everyone involved.
It was a hide in the shade on an MMR ditch beer sort of day with all that humidty, thankfully we had cloud cover for most of the morning or it could have been a wee bit warmer than it was. Even with the friendly clouds blocking the sun for the most part, we were soaked through by the time we passed through Malcolm at mile 15 from the shop. Swampy was a good adjective to describe the chamois.
This little slice of Mill Rd is going to be a ton of fun for the gravel noobs on race day and the 10 day forecast is looking good for making sure it stays dry and fast rolling. Surprisingly it is also a section of Mill I'd yet to ride on but one that I'll definitely try to get into the usual rotation.
Shortly after Mill Rd the course rolls into Raymond and for us that meant a stop at the Ding-A-Ling for a bit to eat, maybe not something you'll do on race day but it's always a good place to stop if you've got the time. This swanky orange BMW electric car was parked out front, not a car you usually see in Raymond and the retired farmer in his coveralls was not the person you'd suspect would walk out of the Ding and get in the car but life is full of unexpected surprises. The guy seemed genuinely giddy with the car and the fact that it was all electric, even gave us a little tour of the inside and and a run down of some of the features that the car has. Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks?
Leaving Raymond the sun decided to come out full bore so we high tailed it back to Lincoln and the friendly confines of the N Street Bikeway. Pushing the Pugs up and down the gravel on a steamy day, my legs were glad to be back on pavement.
Riding up N Street we decided that a cold cider on a hot day sounded fabulous so we pulled into Saro and imbibed a little bit. Kevin from Saro told us that their motorcycle with side car is going to be on course helping out on Saturday so keep your eyes peeled for them and give them a friendly high five if you see them. That officially ended the down and dirty ride for Saturday and we all split off to head whatever direction took us home. The Buccaneer course was in great shape, a few spots of new white rock and a few more with soft, deep gravel on them but over all it should be a fast rolling course and as I said previously, the 10 day forecast is looking positive for keeping everything dry and quick. Hope to see you all out there on one of the three course options.
Oh and if you're riding the Buccaneer and you download the course, pay no attention to that 1,100 feet of climbing that the route suggests. It's way closer to 1,800 ft of climbing, make sure to tell Schmidty thanks!