Sunday, June 30, 2013

Odin's Revenge - Double Thumbs Up!

 Riders lining up for the 6 AM start

Had the pleasure of riding in Odin's Revenge yesterday.  This was the second year of the event and also my second attempt at it.  The first year was brutally hot and I pulled the plug after 100 miles (180 total mileage last year).  This year the weather was perfect.

 Lots of Rasta and PCL representin'!

The grinder is located in central Nebraska and begins/finishes in Gothenburg.  The city of Gothenburg is smack dab in the middle of the state right off I-80.  If you blink you'll drive right past the exit. 

 And we're off!

The folks of the DSG cycling crew of central Nebraska host this event.  BTW, ask them what DSG stands for...it'll make you laugh. 

 The pink clouds hover over our destination in the horizon....

They have put together one of the most beautiful and technically challenging gravel grinders that I have participated in over the years.  Last year we couldn't see a lot of the scenery in the first half due to thick fog.  This year we were able to enjoy the landscape and take it all in.

 Flat heading out of town...soon to change!

We had about 40 starters this year, up from 25 last year.  This event will get bigger every year.  I have no doubt.  Once folks see the pics and hear the stories, more will come.  Think of the famous line in Field of Dreams..."If you build it, he will come."  Now let's be PC and change that to, "If you build it, they will come.".

 Smiles and sunrise...Jeremy came out of retirement for this event!

This is another classic grassroots grinder.  No entry fee, top notch support by enthusiastic volunteers, and excellent sportsmanship by all riders.

 A rather large bull blocking the road...he stared us down for awhile...thought it might get ugly for a bit.

The event is split into two parts.  The first is a southern loop of about 97 miles that take us through the canyons that rest just south of the Interstate.  Driving across Nebraska you would never imagine that there would be canyons 5 to 10 miles to the south. 

 Anatoly Zlotnik and MG grindin' it out

After completing the southern loop, riders head back to Gothenburg and grab a cue sheet for the northern stretch.  Last year that section was 80 miles, this year it was trimmed down to 50ish.  The north didn't have the canyons, but had plenty of rollers and deep wheel sucking gravel/sand.

 Love this bridge

On the southern loop of the course I didn't see one automobile.  We did see mule deer, pheasant, turkey, plenty of cattle and one stubborn bull who gave us a long stare down prior of conceding.

 Good group rollin' together most of the morning

The gravel roads are nothing like the roads surrounding Lincoln.  Due to the topography, the roads wind and twist through the canyons. 

 MMR!

The difficulty of this event is hard to quantify.  The gravel was very thick this year which multiplied the effort needed to push across the roads.  Numerous times during the day I found my front wheel "snow plowing" through the gravel.  At times there would only be one good line across the entire gravel road.  Finding that line was part of the challenge.

 Todd and Robert leadin' us out

Numerous times during the day I thought I was gonna crash.  Mainly on the super fast descents, but also on a few of the MMR's that went from semi-hardpack to stop you in your tracks foot deep powdery silt.  After last year I told myself to run a minimum of a 40c tire, but I obviously forgot and stuck with my 35c's.

MG and Mike enjoying the gravel goodness

The crew of riders this year were great to ride with.  Ended up riding with Robert Sack and Jeff Caldwell, both Nebraskans, all day and rolled into the finish together.  Another great day on the gravel. 

Big thanks to all who had a part in putting on Odin's Revenge.  I'll be back again next year!

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