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.