The Ament.

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The Ament.

Here we go agian. 

YES, this is still happening on Saturday!  HOWEVER, if the weather looks like hell, don't go.  Nobody will be there.  We'll make that call Friday and reschedule if it looks like heavy rain/thunderstorms.  We're all sick of riding in the rain this year...Landrun, Barry Roubaix, Trans Iowa.

 PLEASE PRINT AND SIGN this Waiver.  We will have a few in the Apple Fort parking lot.  We also ask that you ride like respectful citizens.  Not riding 10 wide in a pack, obey street signs, and give at least a smile to those you pass along the route.

IMG_0078.JPG

Again, this 100% self supported.  YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.  There won't be some magical Rapha truck with coffee and snacks waiting for you at the top of a hill.  After mile 40, there is NOTHING.  Cell phones don't really work out there, so ride SAFE & SMART.  These is ZERO sag. If you are hurting, tough shit, figure it out! So here is the Ride with GPS link, it is different than last year.  I made some changes.

 Couple of notes:

  • You can cut a gnarly descent and 5 miles out at mile 19 (recommended if new to this area), its a RIGHT onto Gamble Rd (short cut)
  • The only food stop is in Hanover, mile 30 (BRING CA$H)
  • You SHOULD top off your water at the campsite around mile 40.2 (Blanding Landing)
  • There are killer climbs right after both of those stops, so maybe hold off eating until you get to the top.
  • The course is probably 50/50 gravel to pavement.  DO NOT RIDE A ROAD BIKE.  I have seen people break collar bones on the gravel out there riding skinnies.  
  • There are no bathrooms at the start.   SO GO BEFORE YOU GET TO TOWN.
  • That town is a SPEED TRAP!  Dial it back when you get close.

We will start in the town of Elizabeth Il.  It's super small, so parking is limited.  Please look at the parking map below and CARPOOL as much as possible.

102 N Main St, Elizabeth, IL 61028 if you need an address to get you there.  Stay Rad will be taking waivers in the parking lot kitty corner.  Once we get your waiver, feel free to roll out. 

Park in the PINK lots.  The blue dot is the start.

It's not a race.  It's free.  Your on your own as far a supplies.

Afterwords, last year a decent group of us headed over to JJ & Freddie's in Stockton.  They know to expect a bunch of folks.  You don't have to go, but that's where we will be...eventualy. 

One last thing.  There is this crazy ass tunnel thing we found out there around mile 48 just after the turn.  If you see it, go check it out.  Might be a good place for a random person to set some water or something. 

Remember, "the only person you can count on, is yourself".

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Blood, Tears, & Gear(s)

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Blood, Tears, & Gear(s)

This past weekend was the fifth edition of the Grumpy Grind in Milledgeville, IL. Go ahead look it up, it’s a tiny town about thirty minutes north west of Dixon, Ronald Regan’s hometown. Big stuff out here folks. It’s on the edge of the area in Illinois we have grown to love, The Driftless Region.

Mark Johnson is the man behind all these years of great route and good time and every year he does not disappoint. And every year it’s a cue sheet ride; no early release of the route; no gps files; just a piece of paper with some road names, mileage, and what direction to turn. Each year it starts at “the farm” and goes off in whatever direction Mark would have us.

This is my forth Grumpy Grind and one of my favorite rides of the year. Each year the weather has been very different from the previous. This year turned out to be about as perfect as you could want it. The start was in the mid-fifties with almost no wind and nary a cloud in the sky.

For some reason I was at the very front of the group when Mark sounded the horn to go and off we went. It wasn’t too much of a crazy pace off the line but it picked up by the time we first hit gravel and I slid off the pack and found a place in the chase group. I was feeling really great, surprisingly great for how tired I was after not sleeping well the night before and a two hour plus drive out.

This was pretty uneventful for a while. The chase group started to crack apart and I found myself, once again, drifting off the back. I wasn’t the least perturbed by any of this; I didn’t come out here to race; I came out to enjoy myself and test my limits while I was at it.  I found myself in good company for a while as I rode along chatting with Brandon Gobel about how we had actually met each other almost a decade ago(I’m still looking for that picture, Brandon.) We ended up hooking up with a few Heritage gentlemen and rode together to the rest stop at mile 18.

HI Kae!

I wasn’t all too keen on stopping but the group did so I figured I would too. A few minutes later Eric Alexander rolled by without a stop and I jumped on and rode with him. We were going at a good 80+ mile pace and were talking about who knows what when his shifter stopped working. We pulled over and it seemed that the mech in the shifter was on its way out and he was going to have to singlespeed it the rest of the ride. Just then a gentleman of gentlemen stopped by and began to give Eric a hand. After some fussing and blowing, yes blowing, in the shifter it started to work again.  And I quote,”SRAM is like Nintendo, you have to blow in it to make it work.”-HAHA

Again, we are back riding enjoying the hills, the scenery and the beautiful weather. The Heritage boys caught up to us again and we let them slip on by. At this point it’s about 30 miles in and Eric tells me to go ahead with them if I’m feeling up to it he doesn’t want to go hard. I declined then changed my mind, sprinted off, and latched on to that group again.

Things are going great, I feel great, the roads are good, and we are pushing off at a solid speed. We took a left turn on to Astor Rd and that’s when things got weird. The road was hard, fast and smooth and I did something I don’t normally do on gravel; I was right on the wheel of the fella in front of me when disaster struck. There was a rut in the road and I found myself on the far right end of it rubbing my tire. It was quick and I tried to save it but before I knew it I was rolling around on the ground. YARD SALE.  Bottles and gear strewn about the deserted gravel rood. I’m not sure I’ve hit the ground going that fast before but I seemed to slide a lot longer than I had expected. Thankfully I was surrounded by good riders that were able to avoid running my ass over and no one else got caught up in my mess. With rage I stood to my feet and walk my bike to the side of the road I notice the chain is off the chainring so I pedal to get it back on and realize my rear derailleur in in my wheel. With no spokes busted and everything seeming fine except for the bet hanger I grabbed it and pulled it back. At this point I was probably too mad and I pulled a bit too hard and SNAP, it came off.  DAMN IT!  This is when I notice that there are steady drops of blood coming off my arm; I look at my forearm and all I can see is read. Great.

All the while the gentleman of gentlemen is there picking up my ejected jelly beans and coming to my assistance this time. His name is Patrick McIntyre and helped me out tremendously that day. I had my third bottle out and was blasting water on the wound in my arm and scrapes on in knee to see the extent of the damage and he was on the ground next to my bike with chain breaker in hand asking me what gears I want. My mind wasn't really focusing on what ratio I should be running so I told poor Patrick I had no idea. While he is doing that he is also giving me advice on what to do with the half inch wide by eighth inch deep hole in my arm. By then Eric had caught back up and the rest of the Stay Rad crew of Bionic Bob and Kristina show up to witness the carnage. Just as I was about to wrap my glove around my arm with a tube Eric recommends I use the Ziploc bag from the cue sheet and his arm warmer. That poor arm warmer, good thing it is black.

One speed, bloody ass elbow

Just as Patrick is finishing up my singlespeed conversion Mark Johnson comes by and sees the mess of things I had caused myself. He informed me that at the check point, about 6 miles down the road, they had a truncated route that is about 10 miles back to the farm. I yell back to him, “I can’t do it, I need that mug”

GG5 coffee mug of champions

That might need a little explanation. Every year there is either a pint glass or a mug for the first 50(ish) finisher and I’ve got a collection going. I couldn’t just call it because I was riding singlespeed.

By the time the bike is back in running order and I’m packaged up as best I could the pain in the muscles starts to creep up and I take off knowing the movement of my legs will hold it at bay. With six miles to the check point I am hoping they have some gauze and tape for me and I’d be lying if I was contemplating taking the short route.

When I had arrived they were expecting me and the fine folks there were more than accommodating. They did not have a gauze but he did have a clean old towel that he let me use to clean my arm again and soak in blood. He even let me cut a corner off to put inside the arm warmer in place of the plastic bag to cover up.

The man there turned to me with the cue sheet for the short route and that’s when I decided I wanted to finish. If I were to cut it short and go to a doctor or a hospital now there is nothing they could do that they couldn’t do after I had rode another 37 miles. I topped off my bottle and ate a sandwich and started to roll out with Bob, Kristina, Eric, Kyle and Paolo.

Blood on everything

The problem with singlespeed, for me anyway, is you have to do a certain pace. After a few hills I had noticed that I had left most everyone except Paolo. We ended up riding the rest of the ride together. We do good work of swapping pulls and slowly picked up some people on the way back. Looking at the elevation diagram I noticed that the second half of the ride had much more climbing and almost seemed to just keep going up. We had picked the Union team of Meesa Maeng, Courtney Reed Tanner, Laura Alagna, and Kristine Deibler along with the lone wolf Dan Szokarski and that was our group to the finish.

I could not have picked a better gear myself. There were a few times on flats that I was spinning out to stay with the group and definitely a few times I was feeling the climbs and fight off the cramps but all in all it was just about perfect. It got me to the finish, to get my mug, to show off my battle wounds and tattered drive train. After eating some delicious food and having some beers Paolo came through once more, with a first aid kit and I gave myself a proper cleaning and put some gauze on my arm.

Both crashed, both finish, both were rad.

Ever since I bought my Warbird I had wanted to ride it singlespeed and ever since I had found the Driftless I had wanted to ride it singlespeed as well. I didn’t exactly want either of them to happen the way they did but it did but I’m not mad about it either. I’m still very much tending to the damages I did to myself that day but what a great day it was.

-JOEL

Photos: us & here

Tees: here

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THE AMENT-update

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THE AMENT-update

We've been quiet.  Secretly working in the gravel mines of northwest Illinois devising our diabolical route to destroy any thoughts of fitness you thought you had.

Not really.  We're just lazy.  I was going to have everyone send postcards to sign up.  Then I realized I didn't' really want people to have my address, and I don't want you wasting paper.  So if you want to come, hit us up on any social media platform.  Instagram and Facebook are probably the fastest/most reliable ways to get a hold of us.  Or shoot an e-mail to rad1adventure@gmail.com and let us know you'll be coming.  There is a secret Facebook event page we'll try and add you to.

The course will be similar to last year, but with some new roads.  Still starting and ending in Elizabeth IL.  It's a neat little town, and they're pretty chill about us parking there.  Don't go looking around for routes online just yet.  The final course has yet to be decided on.  What I can say is, it will be about 70 miles and 5k-6k of climbing.  MAY 20TH 10AM.  

Ask the folks that were there last year.  It's hard as hell.  You will be 100% on your own.  Unless you're going to pay me hourly with full fridge bennifits, I AIN'T GONNA BABY SIT YOUR ASS!

This is basically the ride profile.  More definitive details to come next month. 

Start doing hill repeats now!

-STAY RAD

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Belgian Spring

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Belgian Spring

The 2017 Barry Roubaix Story.

It's hot, it's dark, and it smells real bad.  That is how I wake up in a hotel in the middle of nowhere Michigan with three other grown adults.  Hotel rooms full of cyclists always have a similar smell to dorm rooms.  As I walk to the window in the dark I'm dreading what I'm about to see, RAIN.  Lots of rain with no signs of letting up.

As I ate my hotel breakfast after a shitty nights sleep, I noticed other cyclists starting to gather for their "continental breakfast" in the hotel lobby.  I think to myself, "why do I keep signing up for this shit".  

It's been a few years since my last "Barry".  2014 was the last time I was in Hastings Michigan, a cute little town just south of Grand Rapids.  I always hear Barry come up when gravel races are mentioned.  Lets be clear, there isn't really any gravel or mud at Barry.  Rather, there is SAND, lots of sloppy sand that destroys bikes.  If you've ever done any kind of hiking, cycling, or camping in Michigan, you're familiar with all the sand everywhere.

This year it was going to rain all day, and never get to 40 degrees.  This ain't my 1st rodeo.  I've ridden in these conditions before, too often actually.  I know how to dress.  Wool.  Wool is your friend and should be your base.  Wool is some magical fabric that man can not recreate synthetically.  When wool gets wet, it stays warm.  Nothing else does that.  Then you need a decent shell.  An actual rain coat.  My weapon of choice has been the Giro Neo Rain jacket lately.  Really a garbage bag would work just as well, something that is basically plastic to keep moisture out and heat in.  Hands and feet are the tricky part.  Shoe covers of some sort were a must.  I had some crappy Specialized ones that I don't recommend, but they worked well enough.  My gloves, my wonderful Bontrager gloves that I've worn all winter saved my life.  I also recently invested in a Gore cycling cap.  Which might be the single best piece of cycling apparel I have ever purchased.  My head was warm and dry, the short bill helped keep the rain out of my face.

Sitting in the starting grid, I took a mental survey of the surrounding riders emotional vibes.  Many were jovial, make jokes and talking shit.  Others, have already lost.  Their faces long and full of dread.  This won't be a fitness test.  No, rather it was going to be test of a persons will and inner strength. 

Making love to the camera prior to the start.  Labok not ammused.

 Rain.  Hard sleeting rain started started to pelt everyone once we hit the 1st pavement section.  My only concern was my vision.  I wear glasses and at some point I had to pull over and gently put them away in my jersey pocket.  Which slowed me down quite a bit.  I had to be more careful of my lines and try to hang with someone who could guide me. perferable with a real fender.

Hard freezing rain.

Despair, fear, loneliness, are how I've been seeing people describe their day at Barry-Roubaix.  Mine could not be further from that.  Like I said, this ain't my 1st rodeo.  Mentally, I fine all day.  Happy even, jamming to songs in my head leap frogging from one quitter to the next.  While everyone was indoors playing on their power pads (Zwift) all winter, I was outside riding my bike.  I'm accustom to shitty weather, and I think that paid off.  I dropped people I had no business dropping.  I also never really pushed it as hard as I could have, for whatever reason.

Eventually the rain let up and I could put my glasses back on and turn the gas back on.  Half way through I started picking up others from Chicago.  Eventually I'd lose them in the headwind.  Yeah, headwind?  I don't remember Michigan having much wind.  WTF.  Towards the end I would end up working with the the woman who would later win the women's Single Speed category until her rear hub started to crap out and I started recognizing more local kits in the distance.  Clicking, scrapping, knocking, my poor bike pushed toward familiar roads and riders.  We were on the roads back into town, and I was on a mission to catch every Chicago rider I could.

With the motivation of seeing Chainlink, Lovestar, and Tuxedo Thunder riders in the distance, it was time to be done with all this.  By which point I could no longer feel my feet, at all.  My hands decided to start getting warm again at the end, letting me eat a little.  Slogging through those last few miles, trying to reach and pass every kit I could recognize was draining me.  The last few bits of gravel/sand were REAL soft, sucking my power like a vampire in a blood bank.  Pavement never felt so good beneath me as I rolled off that gritty spongy road.

I fought that guy behind me all damn day.  He won.

With blocks to go, this one guy caught up to, and passed me.  Who, I had been yo-yoing with all day and thought I had dropped for good a little bit ago.  Dammit.  He beat me.  I was dead.  I was done.  I cheered a few Chicago friends at the finish before I made a B-line to the car to get that floor heater on full blast.

Only in the car do I finally become unhappy.  Not cause I'm cold or didn't do the time I wanted, but the realization sets in that my bike is trashed and will probably need to be over hauled, replacing several parts.  Oh, and my car is now full of sand.  SIGH.  Its a real Charlie Brown moment in that parking lot in Michigan, that I wouldn't trade for anything else.

Until next year Barry-Roubaix.

 

Thank you SnowyMountain for letting me use some photos!!

-Schratz

 

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The Roads Are Clear

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The Roads Are Clear

It's still happening.  AMENT100 or just AMENT, or something.  It's not really 100km anymore or maybe it will be.  We're still hammering out the details and riding new versions.  Still a bunch of crazy grade hills.  Maybe less gravel.  Maybe more gravel.  

While riding out there, every side road is screaming, "hey come check me out".  This is probably how 10,000 was born.  Not being able to leave any of the roads out of the party.  We're still drawing maps and heading out there to explore more and decide what to keep and what to leave.

What we do know is, this year will be INVITE ONLY.  We had way too many people interested in coming.  People we don't know or trust to take care of themselves out there.  There will still be ZERO support.  This will also be on the same day as ALMANZO100.  We're not trying to compete with that.  Having ridden it several times, it's a fantastic event and will make you fall in love in Minnesota.  But it's a time suck.  This meant to be an alternative for those who can't be away, or don't want to be away a couple of days.  Also to showcase that Illinois isn't totally lame.  We got rad stuff too.

Things that make you cry.

Keep your eyes pealed.  More info coming soon!

WTF?!

Just incase you haven't figured it out yet, 10,000 is two weeks after.  This will be your Spring Classic into a Grand Tour.

-STAY RAD

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