Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A date for the next time.

I just wanted to let everybody know what is happening for next year. I am going to be taking the next several weeks/months to look at the things that could be improved, the things that could be done without and the things that worked well and need to be retained. I have been reading around the internet and your post-race notes are extremely insightful. This event can only get better with your help. I am going to be dropping little bits of information here as I get them ready. I still have more photos that I have to get up here on the site as well as any other additional race day information that I have yet to mentally process.

About next year though, there are a couple of dates to keep in mind. May 16th, 2009 is going to be the official race day. This is the Saturday following Mother's Day. There is also a fairly definite chance that there will be some pre-race festivities on Friday the 15th, but I will get back to that down the road a bit. At any rate, thanks again for taking the time to get on your bikes and ride.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some other accounts.

Here are a few links to some of the other first hand accounts:

1. Rochester Flyers
3. Snakebite
4. Squirrel
5. Charlie Farrow
6. Bike Satan
7. All Sport GPS
8. I Bike MPLS (an automobile horror story)
9. Capricorn Bicycles
10. MPLS Bike Love
11. Rasmussen Bike Shop
12. Wheel Guru

These are just a few of the ones I could find with a Google search. If there are more, let me know and I'll make sure there is a link here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

...and there was more.

As my head begins to clear I am starting to remember bits and pieces of what actually took place on Saturday. I know for a fact that I was blown away by the scene at the corner of 100th and 10th. I was snapping photographs and talking with my wife and the pleasant lady who owned the beautiful farm about how wonderful a day it was and how beautiful the scene was. I remember my wife saying, "this really makes me want to ride more". I remember thinking, "wow, this gravel is pristine, I wish I was riding it right now." Then the first group came through. They were zipping around the corner and powering into the next straight-away. The tire tracks in the dry, dusty road increased with every passing rider as did my desire to be right in there with the pack, trudging away toward century-ville. I tried to snap a photo of everyone as they passed through this magical spot before heading further down the course.

At this point my wife decided to head back into Rochester so I got back in the car and headed into St. Charles. As I got close to the bike shop in St. Charles(S.C.) I saw the lead pack cruise across 5th St. and head toward the only left turn in S.C. With this group so far ahead I skipped my photo stop for this section and followed the leaders through downtown. Riding two abreast, I waited until there was no oncoming traffic to pass these fleeting beasts as they made their way up and out of this events first village. I was amazed to see them so early. I couldn't believe that they had made it this far, this quickly. I decided I had better get moving if I wanted to beat them to Chatfield.

I abandoned my hopes for capturing pictures of the entire field and decided to concentrate my efforts on staying in front of this wicked fast group. I headed west on Cty 35 and skipped the left turn to follow the course. Instead I made a b-line for the lazy town of Chatfield. Here I stopped by a church just off of 1st Ave and sorted out the cue sheets for the second and final section of the days race. I remember sitting in the car, listening to something non-specific pour out of my iPod with the suns heat beating down on my left arm. I had separated the final cue sheets into 3 piles and was assembling the packets in the best confined factory motion I could manage. I made 60 without thinking too much about the number and set them aside to go in search of the leaders pack. Two turns later I found them about two blocks off course and looking for the right way. I turned back toward the route thinking that one of them must have seen my car and that they would follow. A block later the thought occurred to me that they had most likely not seen me and that they weren't even looking in my direction. I put the car in reverse and head backwards to where I had just seen them. They were pretty much behind me at this point and one of them yelled to me, "we need to be up a street don't we?" I replied, "Yeah, it's just up here" I hurried toward the unmarked street near the dead end on 1st and snapped a couple of quick photos and they zoomed by. I gave them a few minutes and headed out of Chatfield after them. On a dusty section of super-wide gravel just south and west of Chatfield I slowed to make sure the dust wouldn't cause too much trouble as I passed this crazy paced leaders group. I didn't know it then, but I would not see another rider, outside of a checkpoint or the finish line, for the rest of the day.

When I arrived in Spring Valley I was met, as was everyone else, by a hoard of bustling shoppers making their way around the city looking for a great deal on the next best antique. There were yard sales everywhere and I was beginning to freak out. I hadn't planned for this. I hadn't planned for this much traffic. I wasn't expecting a billion people milling about inside and outside of Kwik Trip. I met Nate (the guy in the green shirt handing out cue sheets) and we decided to make our home near a big pole building just west of the convenience store for the afternoon. We unpacked everything we had, loaded the coolers full of ice and then looked back to the east to see if anyone was coming and then WHAM! There they were, the lead pack again. I just about shit my pants when I realized that I was barely making it to these towns ahead of these guys. How could that be? I was driving a car and these guys were showing up at nearly the same time I was. "Jesus these guys are fast", I thought to myself. A quick change of water bottles and they were off, just like that. I helped Nate rearrange our location and put up a couple of arrows and headed back into Rochester.

With the sun beating through the drivers side window and the cars moving along at a brisk 51mph, I was beginning to panic again thinking that I wasn't going to make it back to the finish line in time. As the road opened up to a four lane I stepped on the gas a motored ahead to ensure my early arrival back at Bicycle Sports. I pulled into the parking lot and unloaded the goods from Surly, Banjo Brothers, CRC, Summit and Bicycle Sports and breathed a heavy sigh of relief as I had made it back before the first group. Not much after I had the prize table all set up did I realize, through the helpful prodding by Terry Brannicks lady, that there was no destination finish line. I scrambled for some chalk and ended up finding a brick to scribble out a faint finish line. Luckily for us it was just in time as the lead pack of four was about to come around the corner.

There they were, coming around the last bend and picking up speed. Faster and faster they all sprinted toward the finish line. Ringing the bell with one hand and holding the clipboard with the other I completely forgot that my camera was around my neck, just waiting there to be used for such a spectacular finish. Here these guys were pouring out everything they had left and I was just standing there cheering like I was a kid waiting for candy at a parade. I missed the best photograph of the day, the amazing four man sprint finish. I did however get to witness first hand the power and determination of some very well ridden men. These guys, Terry Brannick, Charlie Farrow, Joseph Meiser and David Pramann are truly top notch athletes. They earned every ounce of accomplishment on Saturday the 17th of May. They and 51 other brave souls gave everything they had to pack in 100 miles of gravel on Saturday and to all of you, my hat is off. Just getting the bike out and pedaling part of this course deserves a big round of applause.

Everyone who came out to give this ride/race a try is a champion in their own right. One-hundred miles is nothing to scoff at, heck, simply committing to an event like this is a pretty significant accomplishment by itself. I would like to thank each and every one of you for giving your time and your travel money to attend last Saturday, it just wouldn't be possible without you.

Chris Skogen

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Thank you to everyone who rode and everyone who came along and helped out with support! This race was absolutely amazing! We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better, faster course. I know there were some soft spots, but with the finishing times as they were, this years course seemed plenty fast. Thanks again to Bob and the crew at Bicycle Sports, Surly, Cars-r-Coffins, Banjo Brothers, Summit Brewing and Scantrant Designs, without the support from these fine people this race simply would not work. Below is a little photo recap of the days events and a complete list of the finish line statistics.

The images:

The results:

1 - Terry Brannick - 5hrs. 44min. (First Open Mens)
2 - Joseph Meiser - 5hrs. 44min. (Second Open Mens - Tie)
2 - David Pramann - 5hrs. 44min. (Second Open Mens -Tie)
4 - Charlie Farrow - 5hrs. 44min.
5 - Jesse Rients - 6hrs. 2min.
6 - Death Rider - 6hrs. 2min.
7 - Mario - 6hrs. 2min.
8 - Gunnar - 6hrs. 11min. (First Fixed Gear)
9 - Hurl - 6hrs. 28min.
10 - Nick Oswald - 6hrs. 33min. (First Single Speed)
11 - Sascha Boecker - 6hrs. 33min.
12 - Andy Tetmeyer - 6hrs. 33min.
13 - Tim Norrie - 6hrs. 33min.
14 - Kevin Jargo - 6hrs. 40min. (Second Fixed Gear)
15 - Andy Lambert - 6hrs. 46min.
16 - Ruby-2-Shoes - 7hrs. 4min.
17 - Eric Leugers - 7hrs. 8min.
18 - Dog - 7hrs. 13min.
19 - Coholic - 7hrs. 13min.
20 - Dan Hansen - 7hrs. 17min.
21 - Roy Vosberg - 7hrs. 21min.
22 - Tim Bekke - 7hrs. 25min.
23 - Jim Reed - 7hrs. 26min.
24 - Snakebite - 7hrs. 31min. (Second Single Speed)
25 - Brent Wood - 7hrs. 31min.
26 - Brian Dukek - 7hrs. 43min.
27 - John Krolak - 7hrs. 43min.
28 - Chris Prescher - 7hrs. 43min.
29 - JJ Robb - 7hrs. 50min.
30 - Joshua Lavelle - 7hrs. 53min.
31 - Rick Blackford 7hrs. 54min.
32 - Squirrel - 7hrs. 58min.
33 - Ian Nancekivell - 8hrs.
34 - Isaac Giesen - 8hrs. 4min.
35 - Jacob Huot - 8hrs. 4min.
36 - Bjorn Christianson - 8hrs. 6min.
37 - Landon - 8hrs. 11min.
38 - Kid Riemer - 8hrs. 12min.
39 - James McGuire - 8hrs. 17min.
40 - Brad Wilson - 8hrs. 21min.
41 - Dale Dahl - 8hrs. 21min.
42 - Susannah King - 8hrs. 23min. (First Open Womens)
43 - T-Baggins - 8hrs. 27min.
44 - Bryan Cochran - 8hrs. 53min.
45 - Molly Cochran - 8hrs. 53min. (Second Open Womens)
46 - Dennis Mairet - 8hrs. 58min.
47 - Edward Younk - 8hrs. 58min.
48 - Jason Hicks - 9hrs. 3min.
49 - Randy Anderson - 9hrs. 3min.
50 - Kevin Clay - 9hrs. 10min.
51 - David Hanks - 9hrs. 11min.
52 - Brent Bruessel - 9hrs. 13min.
53 - Jose Pascual - 9hrs. 25min.
54 - Garrick Yoong - 10hrs. 28min.
55 - Erik Sudheimer - 10hrs. 28min.
56 - Rooster - DNF
57 - Robert Green - DNF
58 - Michael Fox - DNF
59 - Alex Anderson - DNF

What a day! Thanks again to all who participated.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Final Course Update

Spent two hours and 45 minutes driving the course over the lunch hour today. The actual driving time was about two hours and ten minutes, but there were a few stops that made the whole trip a bit longer. At any rate I can tell you this:

1. The ROADS ARE DRY as bones. The dust was going crazy behind my Subaru today.
2. My best estimation of the entire course would be LOOSE GRAVEL THROUGHOUT.
3. There are clean lines in some sections and none in others.
4. Expect NORTHWEST WINDS in the 20mph area by the afternoon.
5. The farm dog situation should be okay. I stopped and talked with a woman at the house that I thought might be trouble. I told here when to expect the riders and she said they may lock the dog up for a bit.
6. The course will go by WhitewaterBike & Sport in St. Charles near the 25 mile mark. I stopped in there today and spoke with Greg who said he would be opening early in case anyone had to stop for a mechanical or pick up supplies. (The shop is just off of Wabasha Ave (to the left) on Highway 14 (W. 6th Street))
8. Spring Valley has plenty of room along the side of it's streets for those that have support cars meeting them.
9. FOR THE DRIVERS - Please do not clog area businesses for longer than you intend to be a patron - WE ARE GUESTS AND SHOULD BEHAVE AS SUCH.
10. FOR THE RIDERS - Please remember that WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR THE SPORT OF ENDURANCE BICYCLE RACING. We will be seen by many tomorrow and our actions will reflect how riders are treated in the future.

Most of all, have fun and remember to ride within your limits. This event is intended to be a fun, challenging ride over a course that is both beautiful and intimidating.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Man made quarry.

Well, I went out today and gathered the remaining ingredients for this years trophies. I figured it would be nice if the winners could take home a bit of their accomplishment so I decided to gather some rock from a squishy section of this years course. Now, when I left the house with an empty bag the idea seemed great, but when I filled the bag (see photo below) I realized that collecting forty pounds of gravel to create a memorable trophy with just a messenger bag and a bicycle is not my best idea ever. Having said that, and being done with the whole project, I cannot think of another way to do it. So I guess this is the ritual then. Which means next year, about this time, you can expect to see me hauling rock the old fashioned way, with blood, sweat and gears.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A quick course update

I took my kids out this morning for a little mid-morning re-con and this is what we found:

1. The roads look pretty good. The 25 mile section that we drove had at least one good line for almost every mile. There were some soft spots as well as some thick gravel, but all-in-all it looks pretty good.

2. It appeared as though some of the roads had been prepared for new rock, but I cannot be sure because there has also been a lot of farm activity(i.e. tractors coming and going) in the fields that surround the course.

3. Gravel roads make my kids sleepy.

There will be a more thorough update on Friday afternoon.


If anyone is interested in camping let me know and I'll try to set you up at a free spot real close to the start of the race.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Where to do.

My apologies, I thought I had posted some lodging information in an earlier post. At any rate, here is a link to a Google map with a couple of different options for anyone who might be coming the day before the race. There are a billion places to stay here in Rochester and there is something for any budget. Let me know if you need something specific.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What to do...

Here is the low down on how to get to the start/finish line (Bicycle Sports) and what to do with yourself as well as your vehicle once you get there.

Sign in is going to start at 6:30am on Saturday the 17th of May and go until 7:40am. There will be some pre-race announcements starting around 7:45am. The race will start promptly at 8:00am. Please remember that when leaving the shop parking lot, EACH RIDER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES! A group this size (70 registered riders) is going to attract some significant attention. We are going to be seen. Drivers may not be too excited to come up behind a group of 70 bicycles, but we've all dealt with it before in some fashion or another. The nice thing is that the event starts at 8:00am and the roads that will be used to get everyone through town and onto the gravel shouldn't be too heavily populated. To ensure that this ride happens again and remains free to enter, PLEASE BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND DO NOT RIDE RECKLESSLY, YOU'LL HAVE ALL DAY TO RIDE YOUR BIKE.

When arriving at the shop on race day, you may unload your bike(s) and your gear in the lot, but PLEASE DO NOT OCCUPY A PARKING SPACE AT BICYCLE SPORTS OR ANY OF THE OTHER SHOPS IN THE AREA. THERE IS PLENTY OF ON-STREET PARKING. Bicycle sports is going to be open for regular business on the day of the race, PLEASE RESPECT THEIR PROPERTY AS WELL AS THEIR NEIGHBORS.

Directions to the start/finish:

From Minneapolis (US HWY 52 South):
Exit Civic Center Dr (East)
Turn RIGHT onto 16th Ave NW (1st Right at lights)
Turn LEFT onto 5th Place NW
Bicycle Sports on right.

From Mankato (US HWY 14 East):
Go under US HWY 52 Bridge
Turn RIGHT onto 16th Ave NW
Turn LEFT onto 5th Place NW

From Iowa (Interstate 35 North):
Exit Interstate 90 East
Exit US HWY 63 North
Exit US HWY 52 North(West)
Exit Civic Center Dr (East)
Turn RIGHT onto 16th Ave NW
Turn LEFT onto 5th Place NW
From Red Wing/Wisconsin (US HWY 63 South):
Turn right onto Civic Center Dr
Turn LEFT onto 16th Ave NW
Turn LEFT onto 5th Place NW

If anyone has difficulty in finding directions, please let me know as soon as possible. I am more than happy to help. Also, thanks again to everyone that has signed up. I look forward to meeting you. Also, here is a link to a map of the area. Please get acquainted.