Registration went well in the morning with only a few menial issues that were taken care of within three shakes of a dog's tail. Staging was done and with a birthday shout out to Jason and a cheer for the volunteers, about 140 riders were off.
As folks were crushing the gravel, we got the checkpoint set up and then it was off to mark the trails and a few turns in the roads. The post checkpoint trail had a few downed trees which made for fun for some. I was thinking of dragging a few more into the path but there was a plague of mosquitos in the woods so I had to keep moving in order to survive. It was then out to the Luce Line and on to a road that got started, but never finished. Said road was at the end of a bike path and through some knee high+ grass. To call it a road is a generous statement but hey, it is on Google Maps. As the arrows were getting painted, I biked through a muddy section that was 6 inches deep in the path I first chose. I figured that would be an interesting crossing seeing as the pit came after a small hump. In order to warn the riders that something was coming up, I sprayed a BRAP on the path as a heads up. I got some feedback from some that they figured out the warning as they when over the little bump and into the mud.
I made it back to Schimelpfenig park and met up with Matt and Molly from Kings. They showed up with pork sliders, buns, plates, napkins, apples, granola, snickers, coke and their little guy Charlie. I can't thank them enough for their generosity. That food was soooo good and it is just a taste of what they got going down there so get there, thank them in person and tell them Dirty Benjamin sent you.
Not long after we got everything set up, the first arrivals came in. There were three approaching and all survived the sketchy finish line with Jim Bell powering across the finish line inches in front of Paul Krumrich. The photo finish was consulted and the Almanzo Open Men winner did it again.
To Jim went the Hed Ardennes wheelset. What can I say? We are so fortunate to have support from such a quality company! Their quality product is only surpassed by the quality people who work there. Thanks so much!
A minute later, the chase group arrived and I got to thinking that the St. Cloud guys came to conquer. A few minutes later a group arrived containing the Evertone Hurl and the top master, Charlie Farrow.
Me thinks this guy is super human. He is a great guy and strong like bull. He rode away with an awesome Adam Turman poster donated by the fine folks at Hiawatha Cyclery. They are very supportive of the gravel scene and though they crushed the Dirty Benjamin gravel last year, they unfortunately couldn't make it this time around. We are getting on their calendar early so we will see them next year.
A minute later, Hollywood rolled in with K-wood taking the top woman trophy and tires donated by my favorite bike shop in Northeast Minneapolis, Behind Bars. Heck, I like them so much, they got me smiling on their webpage. I look forward to seeing her rocking those this fall for cyclocross!
A minute later, Jeff Greenwood came in taking the first Single Speed. Dude has some goat legs 'cause I asked him what gear he was running and he said something like 48x17...Holy Frijoles that is no joke on the gravel. He definitely earned it!
A bit later, the tandem team of Tim Bekke and Mary Gonzalez came in. They logged maybe three miles on a tandem before taking it out for a century on the gravel roads of Carver County. They earned the gift certificates to Hollywood Cycles. You feeling that your bike is not right, get over there and get fitted. You heard it here.
We have to give big shouts out to those that donated to the Dirty Benjamin. We are so lucky to be able to put these products out as prizes for the finishers. After riding a century on gravel, to eat, drink and pick out a prize feels damn good! If you like what you got, feel free to contact them and thank them. I'm sure they would love to hear from you. Thanks to:
Planet Bike for the fenders and lights.
Banjo Brothers for the seat bags, canvas messenger bags and shop aprons. Thanks also for coming out and crushing Carver gravel despite chafing. So good.
Twin Six for the t-shirts, jerseys, and water bottles. Always there, always responsive and always a pleasure!
Behind Bars for the tires mentioned above and the socks. I am a sock fan since they get years of use. Great shop in Nordeast so stop on in.
Riot Minneapolis for the shirts and belts. So comfortable, so stylin...I fricken love those belts!
Bike Jerks for the shirts. Horses...so classy and free. Just about the most active local blog we got for doing it non-traditional style on two wheels.
Jason and I would like to thank all the sponsors, all the riders and all the volunteers. You made our day! Oh and big ups to Almanzo for braking a rib in the woods after the check point and finishing the day. He gets the Jens Voigt award for most tenacity. Give us that golden smile