To get to the point my time for the 55mi ride was 5:45 with 5,111 ft of climbing, 27 degrees at the start. It was quite possibly the most physically demanding thing my body has been through.
Both Pony Express and DK did not have this much of elevation gain in such a short distance.
The gravel was tough, loose and really large at times. Finding a line was tough.
I got into a slow moving wreck at mile 5.5! I was behind two guys pacelining when the guy in front braked quickly due to a flat and unfortunately my front rotor got stuck on the second guy's derailleur while trying to maneuver out of the way. Already mentally I was doubting my ability with a hurt knee and 50 more miles to go.
Both of us went down and though I couldn't see it under my tights I hurt my knee. My front rotor was bent so much that it couldn't complete a rotation without it hitting the caliper, so I took it off, banged it far enough back so that it wasn't hitting the left fork, and rode the rest of the ride with only the rear brake.
Something about mile 30 with a gravel ride when my legs start to tweak indicating cramping. This was much different in that my entire legs were cramping and earlier, it was the hills. Maybe I'm an idiot or just determined but I finished the ride in moderate pain. What I have figured out is that sometimes you just need to 'cycle it out" so I did, slowly.
For what it's worth the route was great, lot's and lot's of hills, the Strava segments were gruelling and long, dancing horses, pigs, sheep and very woodsy areas. The weather warmed up nicely too.
When I got to the end I checked in for pumpkin pie and congratulations, when a young girl came up to me and asked " do you know what you are?" I asked what? "you're a rock star" and handed me a rock with a star on it! How adorable!
Thanks to the ride supporters for a demanding route, the support and encouragement along the route.
Thanks to Joshua, Dustin, Aaron, Matthew, Dan, Doug, Andrew and his crew for making it out to the ride. I am not sure if I'm going to torture myself again like this again next year, but who knows.