The weekend was a blur with putting the final organizational touches together, and then riding the 3rd Grumpy Grind Bicycle Adventure. The overall vibe on Sunday was incredibly positive. At the end of the day, I was exhausted, but when I went to sleep my mind was still buzzing with energy. Like all of those who rode, Monday was a cold blast of reality. Going back to work seemed kind of awkward, and slightly annoying. But that's how it goes. We work hard so we can play hard. It makes things that much more rewarding. So it's Tuesday now and I wanted to throw out a few highlights of this years event that made it such a great day.
- There was a record number of participants starting off the ride. The 80 riders that showed up more than doubled the number that participated last year. 62 riders completed the course.
- We can now say that the Grumpy Grind had an international field of riders. Kae Takeshita (Japan) and Colin Flannery (Ireland) came to ride. I'm curious how many states were represented?
- Eleven female riders participated this year. That's ten more than in 2014.
- The weather was the big story of this years ride. It was actually decent this year. Yes, it was windy, but I didn't hear anyone complain about the almost 20 miles of amazing tailwind they also got to experience.
- As a single speed rider, I'll complain that my easy gearing choice made the giant tailwinds a bore to ride. Hills and moderate winds are actually my friends.
- Gravel riders have to be the kindest people, and hardest working riders out there. There's just something about not needing to have a license, not worrying about your ranking, and competing for free (and for fun) that brings out the best in everyone.
- The overall strength of field for this years riders was impressive. Five riders finished under the 5 hour mark, with five more riders on the cusp of doing such. Word has it that that the top riders put down the hammer right from the start.
- We had our first tandem rider of this event. They put down an impressive finishing time of 5 hours and 15 minutes! Who knows, maybe the Grumpy Grind can make claim to be the Tandem Gravel World Championships?
- There were a record number of campers who stayed at the barn the night before the ride. It was a peaceful night to pitch a tent and hang out by the fire. I'm considering camping out next year myself.
- Next year we might have a "Jack Crowe Finish", named appropriately after Jack who veered off early into the grass ditch that ran through the cornfields. It looked fun. We might have to add that to next years ride.
- There was a generous amount of swag provided by Meads Bike Shop. Airplay Sports donated some delicious mine-scones, and The Loop Barber Shop helped support the food provisions. Shawn Cotter, a representative of Hayes Bicycle Group, kindly donated a rim set to a lucky finisher.
- Thanks for all the generous donations of the riders. The event was free, but riders and sponsors offset the true cost. I promise I don't make a dime on this event. I do the organizing of things, but when everyone pitches in a little, the costs are offset and everyone benefits. It's kind of like having a Gravel Grind Co-Op.
- It was great seeing so many local bike shops and clubs represented. There were riders from Mead's Bikes, North Central Cyclery, Green River Cycles, Healthy Habits, Bicycle Haven, and Comrad Cycles (just to name a few). I love seeing so many groups involved.
- Fred Johnson was out on the course taking pictures, and rerouting a couple of people who wandered off course. Check out Fred's Facebook page to find these photos. He did an amazing job of capturing the beautiful scenery of the day.
These are just a few of the many positive thoughts that crossed my mind after the event. The date for next years ride will be posted sometime next October. There may have to be rider cap next year due to limited parking and space at the farm. I like to set the date two weeks before the TransIowa ride, but on a date that doesn't conflict with Easter. So check back occasionally for updates and the Grumpy Grind, as well reading about other happenings in my world of cycling.