Yes, I realize that we are only two hours into the actual race, and that even though the conditions are pretty decent (aside from some serious wind), nobody is finishing in two hours. I mean, some people may be finished at this point, but the finish line is still devoid of whatever you call those people who cross the blah blah blah blah. Yeah, whatever that whole things was.
Last year I announced to the world that my little know DFL Gravel Racing Career was over, done, finished. It was time to move on and do fun things, WHICH I HAVE BEEN DOING, but damnit if old habits are hard to break. I think we can all agree on that point. Unfortunately my drive for bike racing mediocrity overturned my sense of fun and I entered CIRREM.
CIRREM is absolutely the worst, yet achievable, event for me. It’s “only” 65 miles of gravel, albeit with some nasty climbs here and there, and the weather is definitely a factor in some past failures. Iowa in February is a weather crapshoot, more crap than shoot. Last year I had let my health slip and was a total fat ass, out of shape dude that couldn’t even muster a DFL on what would possibly be the nicest day of CIRREM weather ever. It hurt. I made some changes, lost a grip of weight, decided that I would just take it easy and skip the attempt at heroics, but GODDAMNIT I HAD SOMETHING TO PROVE!
Did my weight loss help my ability to finish? Did my massive improvement in internal health mean I would be able to finish this thing I started trying back in CIRREM 3 or so? Questions needed to be answered. It was decided to start really getting some miles in, the end of last year was so busy that I had very little time to bike, and log every single mile. I rode over 300 in during the last three weeks of January, which isn’t bad in these parts and during our absolute shit winter weather. Thanks, fat bike. Then I moved to a new house that is rotten with stairs. Due to my own terrible organizational skills, most of the move was done solo, and during one of those days I reawakened an ankle injury that happened in July of 2016, and took about a year to clear up. This past Thursday night I rode out to the Cumming Tap to drop off my donation for the race, and on the way back decided to horse it and see how fast I could get to town. There was a lot of standing up and cranking away, then more beers, then Friday I could barely walk on the ankle at all. The severe pain has continued today, and I had to make a decision whether to push through it and do all the climbing or rest and hope that this doesn’t screw up my entire year of cycling. I have some big plans.
So I pulled the plug on my CIRREM around 7am this morning. I’m really not happy with it, I was as prepared as ever. The course looks pretty dope, glad they postponed for a week due to very unsafe conditions. I will be back next year for #11. I will be more prepared, the good lard willing, and smash my own course record of DNF.
Thanks for reading along, and godspeed to all those out there cranking away through the hills, rocks, and wind.