Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Camp Trip To Mammoth Gravel

The Mammoth Gravel ride is a 35 or 70 mile mixed terrain route put together by the fine folks at CyclovaXC in  St. Croix Falls.  Since we're preparing for the 100 mile Almanzo gravel race coming up in May, brother-in-law, Scott and I decided to take on the 70 mile route.   
The weather on Friday was looking good so I decided, if I could get out of work a bit early, I'd pack the camping gear and ride up to St. Croix Falls and camp the night before the ride.  I got the go ahead from work so it was a go.  

Me and the gear.  It was supposed to be cold and possibly rainy in the morning, so I way over packed.

Mom and Dad are, conveniently, right on the way so Dad joined me on the ride for a few miles.

I'm diggin' the sign.

Right before the descent into T.Falls is the lovely Franconia Sculpture garden.

Dang, I could have just squatted in this, and I wouldn't have needed to schlep all this gear. 

Pulling into camp

I earned a treat.

 Scott, getting prepped for the ride.  

Saturday morning the crowd  began to gather at the Overlook park in town.  At 9:30 we began our quick roll out of town.  The front of the pack went out rather quickly but we were content just to hang back and take the start nice and easy.  About 18 miles in, we hit the notorious Sand Barrens.  Since about 100 people had tore through them before us they were in worse shape than I encountered a few weeks ago.  We ended up dismounting and walking a fair amount.  At the end of the barrens the race organizers had a truck parked to celebrate the end of the sand with trailside treats.  I enjoyed a PBR with Mr. MacNaughty, Scott downed a Coke and we were back on the road.  After tackling a long southbound section into the wind, we had a fantastic "roller dog" lunch at the Cushing gas station and then it was time to tackle the next section.  

Miles 40 through 50 are eastbound and bring a section of non-stop 50-75 ft. rolling hills that really wear on you despite their relatively small size.  About halfway through this section the rain started to come down.  We made a push to Cafe Wren, in Luck, where we decided to don our rain gear and make the final push on the Gandy Dancer back into St. Croix Falls.  We covered the final 17, wet miles and rolled into downtown SC Falls around 3:45.  We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted, near the finish, by our cheering wives and my parents.  We wrapped up by hitting the bike shop for the swag drawing and refueling with some great burgers at the Indian Creek Winery

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