Thursday, November 4, 2010

2011 Race Date

It's been decided....The 2011 edition of the Westside Dirty Benjamin will take place on June 11. Mark your calendars because we have some good stuff in store for you. We got all Sherlock Holmes on the 2010 course and sluethed out some changes that I think all will enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for an update on the registration process.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Race Recap for Epic Day

Wow...that was a great time! Too many good people to shake a stick at. Weather held up...well, a bit more wind than we thought but only a minimum case of sunburn to deal with. Maybe the wind was a good thing at the checkpoint, kept the bugs at bay. Oh and I gotta give the wind props for dropping that tree across the min. maint. road for folks to get a bit of a stretch over. All in all a banner day.

Big props to all getting to registration early enough for it all to take place before 8:00 am. A quick staging and many forgotten things to say was the way to start the day. We hope all enjoyed the snowmobile route at the start to mix it up and get you all wondering what you got yourself into. Well done to all making it through the first 4 miles with no cue sheets. The force was strong in the group!

The first half of the ride went north and a bit west so with a strong wind out of the west/northwest, folks had to get to work. The beast, Almanzo Hundo was the first to reach the checkpoint with a manic group hot on his heals. The first arrivals were out of there with the quickness...some food and refills done fast and they were gone. Steady arrivals followed with folks taking a bit more time enjoying the day as the time progressed.

The second half of the race started with going a bit more north and then a haul west...much of it on the Luce Line trail which hypnotized many with it's tree canopy until a turn and a fallen tree. Southbound after that for some time and then a welcome to the easterly ride. Let that wind bring you in until a welcomed downhill before the end.

Much respect to all who started, logged miles and big ups for those who finished. Out of the 111 starters, 96 finished. Including a unicyclist!! Awesome! There was a bit of road rash but fortunately, nothing broken and nobody hurt. There were a few derailers that did more than bite the dust...they got dusted. Nothing that a chain tool can't fix. Welcome to the simplicity of a single speed. A few chains also got the chain tool treatment. Gravel is no joke to a bike. Heard of a few flats. Much kudos to Jim Thill from Hiawatha Cyclery who helped one participant who was struggling for an hour trying to get a tight tire on a wheel that refused to accept that tire.

We have a bunch of pictures
  • here which include category winners

  • here courtesy of Chel Stewart

  • here courtesy of Hunter & Shiela

I think I see you in a few of them. There are pictures of the category winners and many good ones from various points of the race. We'll post more if there are more to be had.

A hearty thanks to all of the businesses who donated to Westside Dirty Benjamin!!! All the great folks at the businesses below are local or pretty dang close to local but all businesses are an integral part of the outstanding atmosphere here in the number one biking city. Word!!

  • HED donated a wheelset that went to the winner. What can I say...they rock. Their rep couldn't make the race because he was prepping to go to France for support of Team Radioshack and Columbia to just name two. They will be riding HED through le Tour...the cobblestones will likely keep him busy.
  • Kings Wine Bar really came through with post race nourishment. What a feast! The sliders really hit the spot and all were eaten. Molly kicked ass in the race and kicked ass with the hook up so when you got a hankering for some good food and wine in South Minneapolis, head over to 4555 Grand Ave. S. and show some love. Heck, if you are missing the taste of the Dirty Benjamin, git over there and order up some pork sliders.
  • Planet Bike sent over a grip of pumps, lights and fenders. A real class act over there in Madison, WI. They were on board from the start and we appreciate it. We were fortunate that they didn't send over any of them LaLonde bros. It would have been a clinic.
  • Banjo Brothers not only showed up on many rider's bikes but they threw down a mass of seat bags, a set of panniers, a messenger bag and a backpack. Check them out and if you do not have a cue sheet holder, they are the place to go to get one for the next gravel century you find yourself on. I got one word for you about their wares...Quality.
  • Twin Six set you up with many t-shirts, jerseys, and water bottles. They got the design skills and are not afraid to use them. Got much repect for cyclists doing what they do best...for cycling. They are green and they are stylin.
  • Behind Bars bike shop in northeast Minneapolis with the first on the support wagon. Much thanks for the helmet and shirts. If you in the neighborhood, stop on in and give Chuck a shout out.
  • RIOT Minneapolis not only has some of the coolest shirts like the Merckx Trucking, Merckx fan in the house, but dang them shirts are so comfortable that you could sleep in them and get the best nights sleep you evah had. Looking good, mon! Feeling good, mon!
  • Hollywood Cycles not only showed up and represented in the race but they threw down some shirts and gift certificates. I think that they will be back fo' shizzle! You in south Bloomington, you stop in, aw-ight?
  • Peace Coffee is about the best business on Earth. Bike delivery of their delicious coffee throughout MPLS and St Paul, coffee farmer friendly, organic, super great staff!! and damn good coffe to boot. Brazil roast...Woot!!
  • Cars-R-Coffins coffee shop and bike shop located in uptown. You got a jones for a delicious americano, a peanut butter cookie, a grip of bike magazines to look at and a comfortable table to sit at, it be the place. You want to see a local celebrity, git on over there and check out the Duke of Hurl.
  • Bike Jerks got the most active blog out there. Bikes, BMX, skateboards, etc...all that stuff I've been into at some point in the life. Jeff had to be in NYC so he missed out on the race but he printed up a few shirts so much love.
  • The Bicycle Chain provided you with some gift certificates so big ups! They are a bike shop located in Roseville so if you want to rent a bike, bike box, get some new, quality gear, take a class, or check out some used bikes, head out there and show some love.
  • Magnetic is coming out with some high quality wheels soon so check them out. Steve was down for the long haul and spent the day volunteering so much love and thanks!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

WDB Complete!

Thanks to all the racers, volunteers, & sponsors that came out today! It was great time. We'll have a few more posts & results coming soon. Here is a link to a few photos from today. If you have any good photos you would like to share please send them over to our email or put a link in the comments here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stop the presses!!! There is a beach at the lake in the park where the start/finish is. Post race marco polo is encouraged so bring your swim trunks!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Times

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Westside Dirty Benjamin
Chaska, MN
6:30 am - 7:45 am - Registration
7:46 am - 8:00 am - Staging
8:01 am - 8:00 pm - 106.5 miles
10:00 am - 2:30 pm - Checkpoint is open
2:00 pm - Sliders till they gone

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Nitty Gritty

When are those guys gonna get wit the details you ask? Well, here goes-

First of all I gotta give a shout out to the sponsers!! They are really stepping up and are really making this event special for everyone involved. Another shout out to all the folks showing up to ride!! Your enthusiasm keeps us going and we can't wait to see you.

The Westside Dirty Benjamin will be held at Schimelpfenig Park in Chaska, MN. It starts at an early 8:00 am so we will be there by 6:30 am for registration. Staging will begin at 7:45 am so git your breakfast on and git on over to Schimelpfenig early. There is a shelter at the park and a parking lot. The lot should hold 40 - 50 cars so if you show up later, there may not be much space for parking. Across the street is the VFW. Please do not park there. We don't want to take up their parking lot and please do not park in the parking lot for the Fireman's Park. You can pull along Creek Road for a spot but it is not the most comfortable. Best bet would be to park in the neighborhoods around Cedar and 5th St. You can see that in the map linked above. It is only a block away from the start/finish and the streets are wide.

For registration all we really need from you is a filled out release form. I will be emailing everyone the form so to make things move quicker, bring it all filled out. If you are under 18, have your parent/guardian sign it otherwise it's a no go for ya. Your registration packet will contain cue sheets and a map of the course. To qualify for the Westside Dirty Benjamin, you gotta follow the cue sheets. You wanna do some cheatin, you are only cheatin yourself so stay home, yo. Nuff said-

If you pack a drop bag, we will take it to the checkpoint which is in Watertown, around 50 miles from the start. When you show up, volunteers will have the bags lined up and will help you locate it. Once finished with the bag, please give it back to a volunteer and they will load it into a car to return it to the start finish. It could be a hot day so extra water is very much recommended. Some snacks for energy definitely helps too. Watertown has a great coffee shop if you are gonna be interested in feeding or having a coffee or whatever. You will receive a second set of cue cards at Watertown so git them, git your water, git your food and git going. The Watertown stop will be open until 2:30 pm. At that point the volunteers will be cut loose and remaining bags will be brought back to the start/finish.

Ride on back to Chaska where you will see any family and friends cheering for you as you finish in Schimelpfenig park. The park facilities include a shelter, hoops, archery, horseshoes, a playground, pork sliders, swag table and big fun!! It's one of the longest days of the year so plan on hanging out and have fun.

For those who have not ridden in any 100 mile gravel races before, there are a few things you should know to help prepare yourself for the ordeal.
  1. Keep going - No matter what you are thinking...keep pedaling. You will be stoked once you have completed the century. Like the Men's Warehouse guy says, "I guarantee it!"
  2. When riding, keep aware of what is approaching you from the front and rear. If you find a nice line on the left side of the road, be especially careful of oncoming traffic, particularly on the hills. Most aren't expecting a bike to be in their face so try not to be. Be aware that traffic coming from behind you may catch up eventually and need to pass. Keep an ear open and let them go.
  3. There are dogs about! There is always the potential for loose dogs and other animals but be careful of the chasing kind. A good acceleration can discourage many-a-dog but if that ain't there, a squirt of precious water may work, pepper spray, a switch, yelling or through them that tainted steak you may be carrying around with ya. Please show some respect cause you could make that dogs day.
  4. Ride your pace - The hills are not too bad at all so the fear is for the most part not there but be aware for the potential for looser gravel. I would rather not hear of any accidents. You heard it here.
  5. There are bathrooms at the start/finish. Woot!
  6. The cue sheets contain lists of intersections and mileage. It is best to have an odometer to follow them. If not, many just follow the tracks and a person they are with or can see. Not necessary but do yourself a favor and ride with an odometer.
  7. The cue sheet directions are the standard arrow pointing the direction you are going with the street names and mileage next to it. Sometimes the arrow points straight through an intersection. This could be done in case the street name changes or just to make you feel good.
  8. You are responsible for yourself! No Sag wagon
  9. Wave to folks if you wish and help a fellow rider if you want good karma.
  10. The race cut off is going to be at 8:00 pm...that being said, we may still be hanging out after that but I hope that 12 hours is enough.
  11. The catagories are as follows: Open, Fixed, Single, Moustache, Tandem, Masters and Big Rig (Pugsley, Xtra-Cycle, Big Dummy, etc)
  12. There are grillin facilities at the park too so come prepared or you can always hit the local liq and food stores

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sales Tax.

On final tally of the course the route has been taxed by 6.5%, that is the course now 106.5 miles. It seems the man came down on us for not having enough climbing.

Actually the extra mileage came with the changes made to the course to make it safer and more scenic. It also eliminated the largest climb. If you are worried about the extra mileage please know that the last 2 miles in a nice gradual downhill and that there is very little climbing through out the course.

Here is a link to the map with the Start/Finish, Checkpoint, & other useful info.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Recon

Had a good day out on the course yesterday! The starting route is set and the scenery is spectacular. The roads are in good condition and points that were washed out earlier in the spring are all fixed now. There are some stretches though that are a bit loose so you'd be pushing it if you are running 28 mm tires.

So that racers will have enough food and hydration out there, we will bring drop bags to the check point in Watertown which is at about 60 miles. At registration, you will be able to give a bag-o-goodies to one of our outstanding volunteers and it will be waiting for you in Watertown. Please make the bag as small as possible. It could be really hot on June 19th so bring extra water. With that written, if you feel like donating something to the cause, haul out a couple extra gallons of water for others to use. If it is a real scorcher, we may have an extra water stop on the course. TBD. If you would like to run the race fully self supported, quality bags are essential. Banjo Brothers have an array of items to choose from including seat, handlebar and top tube bags. It is always good to be prepared with tools, food and agua. Tell 'em ole Dirty Benjamin sent ya.

More information to follow on parking, registration and post race hanging out will follow.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Well...if first of all, if you don't bike and your car breaks down, what would you wish for?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Been a Minute

Long time no post...We have been mad busy getting the course details nailed down and prepping for the Almanzo. Chris really knows how to throw a quality event. Kudos! Beautiful scenery, frightening downhills, resolve crushing uphills, outstanding spectator support, phenominal volunteers, and a great group of riders are only a few of the stars that aligned on May 15, 2010. Your humble WDB organizers had big fun. We finished 12th and 33rd so for us, the gravel racing is taking a back seat for a few weeks. It's time to pay back the community of grinders out there who are Jonesin to get back on the rocks and crush some agates!!

The Westside Dirty Benjamin course is shaping up to be the best route in Minnesota west of the twin cities. If you know Carver County, you know of farms, lakes, wind and turkeys. You may miss the in and out of the numerous river valleys that you were blessed with in the Almanzo and Ragnorak but hey, we believe that is what you need on June 19th. Posts will be coming more frequent now so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Westide Dirty Benjamin

Congrats to the 155 folks registered for the first Dirty Benjamin!!! Rider list can be seen by hitting the "Rider" link on the menu bar for the blog. A big surprise is that we have 14 entrants to the Masters class Word!!

We've got a lot planned since were are finished consulting with the mint on our ideas for the new Benjamin. We tried to get a bike in there but...

This weekend will be spent on recon since there are a few spots were we are trying to decide whether we should go this way or that. While the route is 95% done, those last decisions are sometimes the toughest. We do know this for sure, the start and fininsh is at Schimelpfenig Park in Chaska. There is a shelter with kitchen so we may have some dogs/not dogs grilling for a post race feast. We are looking into some more refreshments so more on that later. This being a park and all, there are plenty of structures for any offspring so tell the family to get down there to witness you finishing your gravel century!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I am so stoked for all the racers of the initial running of the Westside Dirty Benjamin that I...I'm as stoked as the fans here

We got such a great group of folks lined up for this...Final roster posting coming up...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ragnarok 105

Helmets off to the organizers for putting together a great race!! Those hills were brutal and unforgiving. Fast descents and morale crushing climbs lead to the huge exhilaration at the finish. The humble organizers of the Westside Dirty Benjamin came in at 13th and 19th places. Ride on! Get a taste of the elation of finishing a gravel century by sending in your postcard. Only a few days to go so don't sleep and get out there and ride!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Logged 58 miles doing some recon on the route today. All sorts of gravel for your pleasure! There's the ribbed, the sandy, the sandy and ribbed, the tacky going past farms, lakes in the sun and under a canopy of trees. Came across a few dogs so be prepared for that with some water, bug spray, Halt, Mace, speed...whatever.

Starting to receive the postcards so I'll start to get the list posted tomorrow. I will also be emailing riders as a confirmation. Get them out by April 15th

Friday, March 19, 2010

If the concrete jungle has got you wondering where the heck some gravel roads are west of Minneapolis, couple ideas for you:

  • Luce Line - It goes out of MPLS and if you are able to navigate the Plymouth morass, it ends up turning into crushed limestone. You can have a good time riding out and dipping off for too many gravel roads to shake a stick at.
  • The gutters of most streets in MPLS contain a fair amount of sand and other refuse which simmulates the unpredicability of gravel road conditions
  • Check the map below for a ride adds a bit of gravel to the mix

    View Interactive Map on

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Ahh, yes....registration. Sorry that I have slept on posting this info but the weather has been too nice to sit inside and succumb to the wrath my typing skills. I guess my skills in procrastination are high so they win out most the time. In any case here is the dealio-

    Classes are:
    • Open
    • Single
    • Fixed
    • 50+ (Masters!!)
    • Pugsley
    • Xtracycle/Big Dummy
    • Tandem
    • Double Dingle (Two Speed or Front Der. only)
    • Moustached
    Send a postcard containing the following info:
    • Name
    • Age
    • Male/Female
    • Class
    • Email Address
    • Home State

    To the following address:

    Westside Dirty Benjamin
    c/o Martin Rudnick
    Minneapolis, MN 55418

    Between the following dates:

    April 1, 2010 thru April 15, 2010.

    Postcards received before April 1 will be admired and then possibly tossed. Those that arrive after April 15 gots to have a postmark of April 15 at the latest. Get that postcard in the mail by the end of tax day. We are talkin bout the Benjamins here. Check this post again before you send in case I forgot something.

    While more details on the course will follow, it begins and ends in Schimelpfenig Park in Chaska at 8:00 am on June 19, 2010. Yup, right across the street from the VFW. The ride will basically take you out to Watertown and back. Don't sleep on this!! We got facilities and some great prizes from all our sponsors so it's gonna be a blast.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Westside Dirty Benjamin Rules!

    Yes! Thank You! Ben Franklin rules, You rule, the AGRS rules and each race making up the AGRS rule!!! Darn Tootin! With much respect to chaos and anarchy, we are obligated to provide a safe and efficient environment for a great time to be had by all gravel addicts. Please read and follow the rules outlined below. We look forward to a thrilling, challenging, social, fun and safe event.

    1. Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so show respect.
    2. Helmet required (and I am not talking about your german buddy)
    3. No littering!! Woodsy the Owl will swoop down and feed on any litterbugs.
    4. 12 hour cut off - After 12 hours we will be busy grillin, chillin and fillin up with good vibes
    5. You are on your own. This means no outside help. Fellow Dirty Benjamins are more than welcome to lend a hand but come prepared. This is a self-supported event, yo.
    6. You leave the course, you must re-enter at the same spot or be DQ'ed. Self explanatory, show respect to your fellow gravel fiends and don't cheat. Besides, you are only cheating yourself of a good time. Word.
    7. No electric or gas powered two wheelers. We are down with the BRRAAAAPPPP but let's keep it human powered. (I just wanted to drop a BRRAAAPPPP in here)
    8. Give a smile and a "How do" to the volunteers. They are invaluable to the race

    We are looking at what we can do for the mid-point check point. We are contemplating a bag drop so that you can replenish agua, food stuffs or bike things. Something like leave a bag at the start that we will transport to the mid-checkpoint. More on that later

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Dates & Details

    OK! now that The Stupor Bowl is out of our system let's get down to business. First big thanks to Josh, Matt, Chris, & all the volunteers for a great Stupor Bowl.

    Now onto to the Dirty Benjamin.

    Registration Dates: April 1st to April 15th, postcards are to be postmarked on or between these dates (address to follow in later post).

    Rider Limit: No rider limit.

    Start: Will be in the city of Chaska, a SW suburb of Minneapolis, at 8am Saturday June, 19th

    Classes: The first and foremost class is the overall open class and will receive the top prize. Next will be women's. From there we will move onto the sub-classes which will be required to have 8 entrants to be recognized for awards. We want to have fun with some of these so bear with us if you aren't hyped on classes. So here is what we've got so far:

    Fixed (will be combined with single if not enough entrants)
    Xtracycle/Big Dummy (combined with Pugsley if not enough entrants)
    Double Dingle (Two Speed or Front Der. only)
    Moustached (for the gentlemen... hopefully:)

    Now some of these classes might just be recognition on the final results sheet but we'll see what we can come up with by race day. Also we are open for reasonable suggestions for other classes.

    The Course: Right now it stands at 100.5 miles with about 82 miles of that being gravel. There is the possibility of a 1-2 mile trail section being added but that is still up in the air. For the most part the course is fairly flat, there is some climbing in the beginning, a nice descent at the end, and a couple of rollers in the middle. The course will mostly be in Carver County with the possible check point being either in Watertown or Winsted. This ride won't be quite as rural as the other gravel races as there will be 3 towns you will pass by with a place to stop and refuel.

    Please check back for a more detailed post on the registration process in the next 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks everyone for your interest and all the positive feedback!!

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Registration Update

    We are banging our heads and deciding on good dates for the registration. The registration will be to fill out a postcard with a bit of information and drop it in the mail between some dates that we will be posting later. Not too bad, eh? We are also coming up with categories for the race. There will be a single speed and most likely a fixed...Respect. A few others like male/female not sure about the transgender but if there is enough who register, we may be able to come up with something.

    More info to follow and thanks to all those who become fans of our Facebook site!!

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Westside Dirty Benjamin is on!!!

    What is the Westside Dirty Benjamin you ask? Well let's start off with a bit of how the Dirty B was born...

    In 2009, 100 miles of gravel road racing was gaining momentum in Minnesota. With the Almanzo 100, Ragnarok 105 and Heck of the North representing their respective areas with picturesque horizons, diabolical routes, and a down right grand ole time, the AGRS Race for the Cup was born. (Shout out to Almanzo!). Talking to many bike heads around town, there was great energy and desire to get out there and ride a gravel century. This was also evidenced by the Ragnarok filling up within hours and the Almanzo approaching 300 entrants!! Heads can't get enough of wanting to ride the bits for five plus hours. We thought that a gravel race a showcasing Carver County would be fit right in to the scheme.

    Carver County??? Yup, the same county lying west of Lake Minnetonka. The route will start and end near enough to Minneapolis for those Minnies who may not have the ability to get out of town for an early morning start. For the out-o-towners, there is a great opportunity to visit and stay with family and/or friend located the Twin Cities.

    The race is free and we'll be opening it up for postcards in a few months...more on that later so check the blog. The format is the same as the other rides of the AGRS and the details of which will also be posted at a later date. So much to look forward to.

    Oh, by the way, the date was originally June 12 but will be June 19, 2010. Nice! Should be a great day