Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farmhouse Classic - Saturday July 18, 2009

The Inaugural Farmhouse Classic was this past Saturday. Joe Fox, fellow gravel endurance junky, hosted the event at his family farm in beautiful rural Lathrop, Missouri. Saturday was Joe's Birthday and he usually takes the day off of work to ride a century. Well this year he decided to invite a bunch of his gravel buddies along for the ride! A hundred miles and change (approximately 108 miles) through Northwest Missouri on gravel and dirt roads. The event was free! A perfect example of grassroots racing at it's finest.

A small crew from Lincoln made the trip down on Saturday morning. Troy, Matt, Jim and myself in the Disco and Gersib in his Honda.

A bad pic of the farmhouse. If I hit the lottery, I'd love to buy a farm just like this one. Beautiful traditional two story farmhouse with all the updates, large corner lot, huge yard with thick lush grass, a barn for storage, lots of trees, and a mini-rec center (or banquet hall) with seperate men's and women's restrooms and a full kitchen. It was perfect.

We timed our travel nicely and had plenty of time to chat with some folks, check over our bikes/gear and kit up prior to the start. These events seem to attract a lot of familiar faces. All good people.

The smoker was already goin' by the time we arrived. Joe and his family were cookin' up some really tasty BBQ while we were out pounding the gravel roads. I was really excited about riding new gravel in a different state, but I was really, really excited to get back and eat some authentic BBQ!

Joe handed out cue sheets and reviewed some general info prior to the start. Someone started up singin' Happy Birthday and everyone joined in.

Around 30 riders started the event. A overwhelming majority on cross bikes.

Neutral roll out for a mile or so behind a pace car.

The weather was perfect. Sunny and in the sixty's to start. I was actually a bit chilled. That didn't last long as the pace picked up after the pace car peeled off.

The Birthday boy! Happy Birthday Joe! Twenty six years young.

The first 15 to 20 miles were relatively flat. I'm not sure who was the first to break from the group, but while I was chatted with Joe I noticed Peter Krause and Troy off the front. That was my cue. Time to make the donuts!

A group of ten got off the front. Troy and Matt were leading the charge early and often.

Jim powerin' through the gravel on the fat tires of his 29er. I wish I had ridden a 29er a few times throughout the day.

Troy soakin' in the gravel goodness. All smiles.

There's that bridge that's out. No dismount required.

Around mile 20 or 25 a crop duster was spraying a field along the route. The smell of something funny was in the air. I was hoping we'd stay clear of it, but we ended up riding next to the field which was being sprayed. The plane is barely visable just above the road in this pic.

The duster came very close to flying right over us. Josh Stamper calmed our nerves and kindly informed us that the chemical wasn't anything that could kill us. Just fungicide. Whew.

Rollin' into the first and only checkpoint at mile 31. I'm not sure the name of this small town. It was tiny. Both Matt's are gesturing for the camera. Matt T. gang signs. Matt G. double bird.

The checkpoint was stocked with all kinds of goodies. I grabbed Fig Newton's, maltodextrose, and new cue sheets. Troy, Matt T., Peter Krause, John Waller and I took off together from the checkpoint.

And then there were five....

The gravel roads went from Nebraska style gravel to cherry sized white rock somewhere around mile 35. I'd estimate we rode over 25 miles of it. It was brutal. My hands and upperbody were getting worked from bumping around all over the place and trying to keep the bike in a straight line. Lots of watts were powered out on that stretch. That was the hardest section of the day.

Matt putting the finishing touches on a directional marker. We went the wrong way and wanted to warn riders behind us. I don't think anyone noticed it. Oh well, at least we tried.

B road! I nearly crashed as the dirt went from hardpack to soft wheel sucking sand while getting this pic.

Amazingly this was the only flat of the day. I figured we'd all flat at least once on the white rock. We got lucky.

Another B road with lots of ruts. This B road was bitchin', but sketchy. The ruts were deep and hard as concrete. Picking the "right" line was guesswork.

On a fast stretch of the B road, Peter fell victim to a large rut and took a dive in the brush. He shook if off and was no worse for wear. One tough dude. He's got a great future in cycling. He's only 18. Darn kids!

Matt pushin' on into Stewartsville. This was Matt's first gravel event. He really seemed to enjoy it and rode very strong all day. The best pedal stroke of anyone I know. Smooth as silk. He makes it look easy, but it's not.

Sweet sign

Quick refuel in Stewartsville and off again.

"Alright, we can figure this out. We wanna go South."

Back on track

The next generation of gravel endurance racers. They seemed to be a bit amazed to see us ride by. Hopefully we inspired them.

Rollin' into the finish

Peter crossed the line first with Troy, Matt, John and I afterwards. Peter took the first place medal while Troy and I had a game of rochambeau for second place. Scissors beats paper...Troy takes second. Matt and I duked it out for third....rock beats scissors...I take third.

Josh and Jim rollin' into the finish. Josh getting the beer toss up. Unfortunately the beer took a tumble.

Jim was there to rescue the downed beer and slurped it down.

MG, Josh, Brutus, and Al at the finish line.

BBQ! Pulled pork, chicken wings, baked beans, pasta salad, cole slaw, sweet corn, muffins, biscuits, chips, blueberry cobbler and all kinds of desserts. Hands down the best BBQ I've ever had.

After three plates and numerous grazing runs on the dessert table I was stuffed, but hungry an hour later. That's what a gravel century will do.

Jim feastin' on a pulled pork sandwich.

KC Chiefs tailgating trailer complete with external keg tap and dozens of KC Chief player autographs peppering the outside. Wicked.

Loaded up the Disco and headed for home around 7 PM. It was a great day. Thanks Joe and family/friends for hosting a great event. The course was a fun challenge. Much tougher than I expected. The food was amazing! Also thanks to all the riders, especially Troy, Matt T., Peter Krause, and John Waller for riding with me all day. You fellas rode great all day. Until the next gravel grinder!


mw said...

looks like good times.

Anonymous said...

looks like a super event! i hope he does it next year.

Endurosnob said...


Steve Fuller said...

Have to put this on the radar for next year as well. Hopefully no other conflicts come up