I don't have as much to write about the Dakota Five-O as I did last year. In fact, at the last minute, I almost didn't go. Well, I'm really glad I went. I had a really good race. Not too hard, not too exhausting, a good deal faster than last year, and finished feeling confident in my riding abilities, not defeated.
|Beautiful sunset in Halsey National Forest, Nebraska Sandhills.|
|Full moon rising over the Sandhills, between Thedford and Valentine.|
|Riding near Rapid City on Saturday, line reading.|
|Pre-race face, tent hair, Sunday, early morning. Photo by Mark Emery.|
Camp was quiet early on Saturday night, save for being near some sort of generator. Woke up to crisp air, but nothing like the freezing cold from last year. Coffee, breakfast, tying back that tent hair, ditching the hoodie, and it was off to the start to see off Wave 1. I lined up with some excellent Nebraska women -- Casey Sheppard, Whitney Porn, and Carly Thompsen -- and we headed out of town and up the hill. Going up, Carly asked if I had a strategy. "Nope, just ride," I said, "try not to blow up. Enjoy it." I have a feeling the upcoming cyclocross season will change my JRA* attitude, but that's all I've been wanting to do recently.
I rode with Whitney up until the first aid station, where her camelbak still had water and I needed to refill my bottles. Bummer, because I was having fun riding and chatting with her. But I was really happy not to have the pack on my back this year. I was happy to see where I'd missed the turn last year, knowing right there that that was a 20-minute bonus. For much of the race, I had people following me, and got my choice of the line. Many sections I remembered being unrideable and terrifying were fun this time.
The climbs did wear on me, though, and I spent a good deal of time wondering about switching up the 1x10 for a double up front and a bit of time thinking about how much more comfortable the ride would be with a rear shock.
|Riding the ridge, not walking it.|
|Post-race, tacos and beer. Covered in dust, coughing.|
|Double rainbow, what does it mean?|