Monday, December 01, 2008

Turkey Ride showdown

I guess cool temps don't hold back the hardcores of Minnesota cycling.
Getting up at 4am in order to get to Minneapolis from Winona in time for the Turkey Ride ended up being a good idea. No holiday traffic meant a smooth 2 hour drive (3 to get back the very same route!), a closed-but-suppose-to-be-open-Caribou (leaving me with the fear and dreaded McCoffee option), and a shivering in the back of the van to get dressed moment made up the morning.
I got to the Depot and Danno arrived first. That makes two times this year that Danno has beaten me to an event. (State Cap. Crit.) I took notice that his coffee appeared to have a bit more coffee-likeness than mine but kept my mouth shut. Everyone else poured in a few minutes later.
I am not big on cold weather riding because I am simply injury prone with it (I destroyed an achilles this way.) But, it tends to be easier to forget the cold when 25 great people show up to ride. We took off for the River Bottoms trails, stopping occasionally to regroup. It was a bit cold in the beginning but I manned up as we went. A mix of cross bikes, mountain bikes, and 29'er's with cross wheel set-ups made up the pack fleet. I had the Gary Fisher Paragon set-up with the ever-so-sweet Hed Ardennes built up on disc hubs with cross tires. Like riding silk. The Grandstays, GP's, Nature Valley's, Flanders, and everyone else's showed up to represent. The cycling scene in the Twin Cities is something to be proud of.

Before the ride and holding a coffee as well, Doug mentioned the feared "loosening" reaction coffee can sometimes afford you. I recall I scorned him for such negative remarks. His foresight became my weakness throughout the ride. It is like some sort of coffee poisoning. To say the least, I was working hard to keep it together through the ride. Great.
We got to the pontoon crossing and some had heard that the ice was crossable. Sometimes you can never have a camera ready for extreme and instant moments. I rode over to the area where Adam Bergman was going to make the first attempt across the ice. Let's just say it failed and his feet got wet. With the myth of a possible ice crossing dispelled, we all took our turns pulling across on the pontoon or going "jungle-like" across a huge downed tree. We got to the turn-around point, ate whatever mystery bar lurked in our back pockets (Doug had a 3-year old Harvest Bar [now that can lead to mudd-butt] and was openly concerned as to his future well-being for eating this prehistoric energy bar), we got going back and retraced our steps towards the Mendota Bridge. The final miles turned into a time trial. I took a long pull with a sustained tempo but was replaced, and later blown off, by repeated hard, short tempos of the "in form" cross superstars. Mica is a monster right now and Cross Nats should be a good one for him.
Mean Dawg showed up as we got back. An early morning puncture left him 86'ed from the ride. Bummer.
We finished up, threw everything in the van, hung out in the parking lot a bit, drove off to that previously mentioned Caribou, called some friends in Colorado to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, got home, showered, met my mom for a late lunch, slept, went to my cousin's for dinner, drank 5-too-many Schells Snowstorms, and finally called it a day. Hectic, fun, and a day to be thankful for. Ciao -Ian

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