What to expect on race day:
FROM THE ROUTE: These are challenging courses. 100 miles is no small task (and 162 is certainly nothing to balk at) and when you ride them on gravel and they become something entirely different. It is going to punish you, but it is definitely manageable if you pace yourself and understand the big picture (portions of which are laid out below).
• There is one town near both routes. Preston is located near the 40-mile mark. The city of Preston has everything anyone might need to refuel, call it quits, etc. This is the only community along the Almanzo 100 route (the Royal passes through Harmony near mile 65) with retail outlets that can fill your supply needs. AFTER MILE 40 YOU WILL BE ON YOUR OWN WITH NO PLACE TO REFUEL UNTIL THE FINISH LINE.
• There is cell phone coverage for the better part of the course. The areas that are not covered by cell phone towers are typically the valleys, but if you get to the summit of a climb YOU SHOULD GET CELL PHONE COVERAGE.
• As you re-enter (the finish) the city of Spring Valley, you will be traveling on busy, open access city streets, act accordingly. Mind the cars and be respectful. A free race (or any race) isn’t worth a crash or dare I say something worse.
FROM YOURSELF: It is best to look at riding 100 or 162 miles in one go the same as you would look at running a full marathon. While it is definitely something that the average person could complete without any training, the pain and suffering that would come along with it would not be worth the effort.
• Ride a lot. Ride to work. Ride to school. Get out and ride a couple of longer rides during the week. Ride gravel. Ride as much as you can. You will thank yourself when you reach the finish line and can walk and not throw up.
• You will need water…lots of it. We have been a witness to a human being riding this course with only two (2) water bottles (no re-fills). It is possible, but it is definitely not the case with most riders. It is dreadfully important to understand nutrition and hydration before undertaking an event like this. Train to understand. Train to eat on the bike. KNOW YOUR LIMITS and ACT ACCORDINGLY.
• You will need food. The human body is capable of amazing things. However, it is not able to do them without the proper nutrients. Bring food you know you will be able to eat. I have seen everything from pizza to beef jerky to candy bars to mike & ikes. KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU and ACT ACCORDINGLY.
• Know your body. We get cramps when we ride for a long time. Through riding a lot and trying different remedies, we have been able to solve this issue and the cramps no longer occur. Know your body. Five to ten hours on a bike is a long time. Your body will let you know when it has had too much of something and mid-race is not the place to get introduced to each other. The more you ride now, the better off you will be when you are all alone and talking yourself back down from the proverbial ledge (we've been there during a race and it sucks, but KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and we're glad it happened).
• Pace yourself. You have 12 hours to ride 100 miles. Sure it’s gravel. Sure it’s hilly, but it isn’t impossible. Go as hard as you like, but if you do not know your body and your bike, you may end up in the “hurt locker” before you’re ready and that sucks...trust me.
FROM THE VOLUNTEERS: We are your hosts. Imagine this event like a giant group ride, complete with town line sprints and king of the mountain challenges. We have invited you all here, to start from the town that has embraced us and ride a route that we have found to be amazing.
• We will give you directions that we have found to work the best and send you on your way.
• We will not be there at every turn to make sure you are headed in the right direction.
• We will not close roads and arrange for the appropriate law enforcement agencies to police the course and ensure your safety.
• We will not cater to you because “you are the fastest and you are in the lead”. We will take every measure to ensure that the check-in and checkout process at the mid-way point is thorough and efficient, but we are humans.
• There will not be any electric timing devices (other than a stopwatch) used by us throughout the course of this event. Please do not dispute the times given by us. We promise to do the best we can with what we have.
• We will be at the start to ride everyone out of town and we will be at the finish to welcome you back. We are happy that you have decided to come and give the Almanzo 100 and Royal 162 events a try and we promise to make every attempt to make sure that your experience here in Rochester, Spring Valley and the greater Southeastern Minnesota area a pleasant one.
• We will not provide you a water/aid station at any point during the event. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN and should ACT ACCORDINGLY.
• We will not come get you if you become stranded. You must be prepared for the unlikely event that you should have to abandon the race. You must make your own arrangements for leaving the course should you become stranded. NO ONE IS COMING TO GET YOU UNLESS YOU’VE ARRANGED FOR IT.
FROM YOUR FELLOW RIDERS: During the race you will be riding with 700 other people that have the same basic things in common.
• If you see someone stopped on the side of the road, ask if they “HAVE EVERYTHING?” If not, please stop and offer assistance. You may have an extra tube or some water or some food that might make the difference in someone finishing or not. It is common courtesy. If we hear that anyone neglected to help a fellow rider, we will have no problem calling that person out. Don’t be an ass and you’ve got nothing to worry about.
• Ride smart and expect the same from others. Group riding is much different than riding alone. If you find yourself in the peloton, please ride with care and be alert. The easiest place to crash is in the peloton and it is often times the worst place to crash. If you are not comfortable riding elbow to elbow with other racers, either ride off the front or off the back, but don’t risk injury to yourself and others by riding in the group when you are not capable or comfortable.
A FRIENDLY REMINDER: Have fun. These are intended to be fun, but extremely challenging events. We have the perfect opportunity to represent the cycling world at large. We will be traveling through areas that rarely see this kind of bicycle traffic and we may startle some of the inhabitants there.
• PLEASE BE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL.
• DO NOT LITTER.
• OBEY THE TRAFFIC LAWS.
• YIELD TO AUTOMOBILES.
• DON’T BE AN IDIOT AND THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE FOR IT. More people on bikes is a great thing and riding like a douche bag with no consideration for others is the easiest way to keep any non-rider from wanting to get on a bike.
• BE AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE SPORT. We have one chance this May to get it done right here in Southeastern Minnesota and it would be a shame to blow it.