The Robidoux "Quick'n'Dirty" rolled out neutral from just below the towering Scotts Bluff National Monument this morning. This landmark on the Oregon Trail marked the end of the Great Plains and the beginning of the foothills to the Rocky Mountains. Things were calm and stayed together for about 3 miles.
Organizers gained access to use this great little connection road along the edge of the valley for a bit. Challenged the cornering-in-dust skills a bit, also picked up some goatheads. My tubeless self-sealed after spraying Stans all over the place for a few revolutions of the wheel. One other from Lincoln NB wasn't quite so lucky.
We had regrouped and split again down to five and had some non-contributors and so I made a bid to split the group at 25 miles to go. I didn't have the gumption to make it stick and decided I need to try and get some calories into my stomach so I could try again later. Easier said than done as I had rolled past the 11 hour mark on the weekend and had really started to lose interest in lukewarm snacks from my jersey pockets.
After our group generally called a truce on the Rifle Sight Pass we looped 'round for the final climb this time right up and over the paved road through the monument. I went to the front and put down the best 5 minutes of effort I had and was very pleased that I arrived at the top sooner than expected and with a sizeable gap on the next man.
The finale was up this great tree-Iined lane and around the cemetery before plunging through a crazy washout and over to the park. I had just enough seconds in hand to really enjoy the finish. Didn't think I had much of a chance today, but just tried to ride smart and conserve energy where I could, and go fast where I felt like it wouldn't cost me too much. In the end, everyone was exhausted, my winning move was probably something like 400 watts for 3 minutes, but when everyone has a thumb to their chin that's all it really takes. Not a whole lot of bike races I've ever done see their outcomes decided like that. Gravel racing is pretty sweet stuff.