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Bite Off More Than I Can Chew Update

Old 05-23-21, 09:18 PM
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tigat
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Bite Off More Than I Can Chew Update

About a year ago, I started a thread on my decision to sign up for a brand new event, the CO2UT Desert Gravel ride that started in Colorado, ventured into Utah and came back again, all on winding gravel roads and trails in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. Although it was called a race, I figured that was nod to the fact it was timed, but assumed most would be approaching it as an adventure, not a competition.

As the website veered more into race mode, and started to mention gravel climbs over 20%, I started to get second thoughts on a one-armed guy bombing across the washboard, ruts, soft sand and potholes on a Trek Domane fitted with 40mm tires, with a low of 34 - 30 as a granny gear.

When I posted, I'm sure I mentioned that: (1) I have never been in a bike race, but knew, from a life of sports competition and coaching the difference between pretending to dance (fast group rides and training programs) and actually dancing; and (2) Before the big tire set-up for the Domane came in, I had spent literally no time off the beaten path.

The responses on this site ranged from gentle cautions ("maybe you should rethink"), sound technical advice, and outright encouragement, each wise in their own way.

After a year of Covid 19 postponements, the event was rescheduled to last Saturday. With the rampant component shortages, I was not able to address the gearing issue without changing the road bike character of the Domane in a way that seemed excessive for a one day ride. Need be, I could walk up the steeps. More concerning was the the lack of time I spent learning to ride off road - at best 20 hours of gravel, dirt, and the like.

When the rumors started a week ago about the abysmal road conditions that awaited, which caused a number of riders with suspension bikes to choose that for their ride, and the weather service followed that with a high wind forecast, I took the option of dropping down from the 100 mile to the 75 mile version of the ride, still uncertain on whether I would show up. But call it stubborn or intrigued, I was there Saturday morning at 7, rolling out en masse with the other 75 mile riders through the seven mile neutral zone to the start of timing.

For the next close four and a half hours, I can't think of a moment when my senses were not tingling, at the attitude and camaraderie of fellow riders, the technical challenges of washboard descents, the potholes left behind by cows walking on muddy roads, the need to pick lines through ruts and soft sand, and the seemingly never ending series of ramps that had my front wheel lifting off the ground with every pedal stroke. Every descent that ended rubber side down, every little stretch of smooth at the side of the road, then the middle, and then the left, and every one of the hills crested, and there were dozens, was a victory to be cherished for only a moment and then the next challenge was in front of me, all the while marveling at the beauty of the surroundings.

It never occurred to me that this was a race. The racers were on the longer courses or so far ahead that I had not seen them since the parking lot at the mass start. I lingered at the aid stations, chatting with those I had seen out on the course. They were much like the the wonderful riders I have met in countless group events - adventurous, determined and humble. I measured my effort on the course. My GPS was not there for me - early user error by the blind squirrel I have become - so I never knew what was left, except that it would be hard.

At the end of the day, I came in safely, 5th among the group of 33 riders that should have been old enough to know better, and somewhere in the top third of the 122 riders on the 75 mile course. When I saw the results, I had this momentary thought of where I might shave time next year (maybe not spend so long at rest stops) and then laughed at myself. If I needed a prize, I would simply declare myself the best single-handed rider in his 60s to head out that year (at least I didn't see another one), and try not to pull a muscle patting myself on the back. No, next year, I'm looking for someone to join me and take the same leap of faith I did, an old dog trying a new trick and gaining an experience we will never forget.
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Old 05-23-21, 09:46 PM
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Super!
Congratulations on a grand adventure.
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Old 05-23-21, 10:38 PM
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You are a brave and courageous soul. Good on you for attempting and even better for finishing!
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Old 05-23-21, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
(1) I have never been in a bike race, but ... took the option of dropping down from the 100 mile to the 75 mile version ... For the next close four and a half hours, I can't think of a moment when my senses were not tingling, at the attitude and camaraderie of fellow riders, the technical challenges of washboard descents, the potholes left behind by cows walking on muddy roads, the need to pick lines through ruts and soft sand, and the seemingly never ending series of ramps that had my front wheel lifting off the ground with every pedal stroke. Every descent that ended rubber side down, every little stretch of smooth at the side of the road, then the middle, and then the left, and every one of the hills crested, and there were dozens, was a victory to be cherished for only a moment and then the next challenge was in front of me, all the while marveling at the beauty of the surroundings.
^ That's a fairly good description of how I've always approached athletics, and being outdoors doing whatever. Golf, kayaking, hiking, competitive distance running, cycling to get from A to B, etc.

For me it's about the journey, not the destination. The road less traveled, often as not. That approach itself generally being the "road less traveled," compared to how many these days seem to crank their activities into an unrecognizable thing.

Healthier, too, as I age. That "biting off more than I can chew" thang is for younger pups, that's for darned sure.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."


- The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
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Old 05-24-21, 05:41 AM
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Congratulations

p.s. my post reply on 08-13-2020 at 02:34pm to your Original Post >>>>

Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
I am certain of your awesome abilities plus given the right gearing, simply change out what is needed, you would make it to the end.

GO - 4 - IT !!

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 05-24-21 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 05-24-21, 07:55 AM
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I think your title is a little of an overstatement or feign of modesty.

75 miles in 4 1/2 hours on poor to crappy roads. Some of that time socializing at rest stops. I'd say you did quite well. Especially for a first timer at that event.

All I can say is I wish I could have done it. But you can now say you did it! So what's next?
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Old 05-24-21, 08:24 AM
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Sounds like you had a blast! Thanks for the report.
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Old 05-24-21, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I think your title is a little of an overstatement or feign of modesty.

75 miles in 4 1/2 hours on poor to crappy roads. Some of that time socializing at rest stops. I'd say you did quite well. Especially for a first timer at that event.

All I can say is I wish I could have done it. But you can now say you did it! So what's next?
Sorry to be misleading - I wasn't that fast. I rolled the full 75 in 5 hours over an elapsed time of 5 1/2 - the timed part, sandwiched between the 7 mile neutralized start and 7 mile end, was the source of the 4 1/2 hour comment, a half hour or so of which was spent at rest stops, waiting with folks who had wrecked, riding back to pick up my number when it blew off the front of my bike and then chasing it on foot through the desert - the usual stuff.

As for next, I'm putting the road tires back on for a bit and giving my butt and nerves a rest. It the right event pops up on the calendar, I may give another gravel ride a shot yet this summer. I just don't want to start measuring my enjoyment of cycling by race results.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I think your title is a little of an overstatement or feign of modesty.
This was the title of the original thread or something close to it, followed by a question mark, when I had signed up for the 100. I figured those who responded then might remember the thread and want to see how it turned out.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
For me it's about the journey, not the destination. The road less traveled, often as not. That approach itself generally being the "road less traveled," compared to how many these days seem to crank their activities into an unrecognizable thing.
https://susanbaroncini-moe.com/pleas...oad-not-taken/
"Okay, thatís it. Iíve had it. Those of you who are using the last lines of Robert Frostís ďThe Road Not TakenĒ as your anthem of independence, uniqueness, and taking rare roads that others donít take? You need to stop it. Because youíre getting it wrong. What you think the poem means isnít what it means at all. In fact, itís kind of the opposite."
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Old 05-24-21, 12:02 PM
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Well done and entertaining report! I've never met a rest stop I didn't like.
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Old 05-24-21, 01:14 PM
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Well done. Nice writing!
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Old 05-24-21, 01:28 PM
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Great goal. Great update. Tremendous accomplishment.
Here are four gravel races this weekend to get you stoked on the season ahead | VeloNews.com
Scroll down for subject event.


Hope you make it next year. I won't be there, even tho my father in law is in Grand Junction.

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Old 05-24-21, 01:59 PM
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Wow! Good deal. I had seen that event advertised and gave it some thought but nothing seriously. I can ride all day on my road bike but I’ve learned I start to fade on my gravel bike at 4 hours or so. At that point I start thinking about being done. It sounds like a pretty challenging route but I bet there were some spectacular views along the way.
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Old 05-24-21, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
I started to get second thoughts on a one-armed guy bombing across the washboard, ruts, soft sand and potholes on a Trek Domane fitted with 40mm tires, with a low of 34 - 30 as a granny gear.
By any chance were you riding in Bear Creek Lake Park a few weeks ago? I remember a one-armed guy passing me in the other direction of a hill I was climbing, and I felt really motivated that someone was getting it done on the hills there, not to mention doing CO2UT. Last year, just 8 months after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, I was able to ride to the summit of Mt Evans from Echo Lake. With enough determination, it really is amazing what a human can do despite their physical limitations. I wish I had known about it this year, but you can count on seeing me at CO2UT next year.
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Old 05-24-21, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
By any chance were you riding in Bear Creek Lake Park a few weeks ago? ... I wish I had known about it this year, but you can count on seeing me at CO2UT next year.
I rode through the park on May 2 and May 13, so probably.

You will love the ride. Team Evergreen co-sponsors, so get on their mailing list and you'll get notice of when registration opens. My guess it will fill up pretty quickly.
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Old 05-24-21, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
https://susanbaroncini-moe.com/pleas...oad-not-taken/
"Okay, thatís it. Iíve had it. Those of you who are using the last lines of Robert Frostís ďThe Road Not TakenĒ as your anthem of independence, uniqueness, and taking rare roads that others donít take? You need to stop it. Because youíre getting it wrong. What you think the poem means isnít what it means at all. In fact, itís kind of the opposite."
Uh, use of a line isn't about the meaning of a whole tome (or poem or passage). It's about a line, the line used, and the imagery surrounding that line.

I'm all for comparative literature class, but use of a line and its imagery to speak to an approach to opportunities in this life are two different things.

Plenty of things to howl over, in this world. Hard to imagine how this needs to be one of them.
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Old 05-25-21, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Uh, use of a line isn't about the meaning of a whole tome (or poem or passage). It's about a line, the line used, and the imagery surrounding that line.
The entire poem was quoted.
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Old 05-25-21, 05:13 PM
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Congratulations! I agree: nice write-up.
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Old 05-27-21, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
The entire poem was quoted.
Sure. But your rant centered on the line you'd mentioned. "The road less traveled."

As you recall, your rant was: "Okay, thatís it. Iíve had it. Those of you who are using the last lines of Robert Frostís ďThe Road Not TakenĒ as your anthem of independence, uniqueness, and taking rare roads that others donít take?"

The reference I made was about the idea of being open to the journey that unfolds. In reality, too, it was merely building on what the earlier poster suggested: that "going with the flow" on the road he'd traveled turned out to be a better and more-fulfilling journey than expected.

Plenty of important things to grouse about, in this world. Silly, to harangue about this one. It was a simple reference for the imagery, not comparative lit 101 class.
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Old 05-28-21, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Sure. But your rant centered on the line you'd mentioned. "The road less traveled."
You keep talking about "my rant." You realize I didn't write that, don't you? That's why there are quotation marks around the paragraph. It's the opening from an article by Susan Broncini-Moe which is the link right at the top of my post. She's the one saying she's had it, not me. The article explains in detail why the common interpretation of the poem is wrong and is worth reading in its entirety. On the other hand, if you don't like her style, there are plenty of other articles on line saying the same thing in different ways.
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