We had a big day this year. For our riders, 100+ miles on some of the toughest roads in Oklahoma is enough to put you under. This year we skipped McKinley climb through Sand Springs and headed out through Tulsa. First elevation was up Reservoir Hill (one of my favorite little gems in Tulsa). Reservoir offers an amazing view of the city, and is a good warm-up. Out Rock School Rd, the riders headed West, past Zink, and up Wildcat Hill. First gravel of the day. Smooth, fast, and a cross wind. The first natural segments of nature, out away from the homes and traffic. Riders still feeling great. A little further up Rock School, it was apparent there was a fire burning back from HWY 20 and headed South with the wind. The riders were not in any danger, but the way the road was winding back and forth, it looked as if the whole region was being consumed. Shifting winds would open up the field of view, but at times you could’t see 10ft in front of your bike. Riders reached the first checkpoint at mile 32, and could see they were in the clear as they approached HWY 20.
This year 45% of the course was gravel. That is about a 10% jump from last year. Not so bad if the conditions are good, but there was a 20ish mile segment from Birch Lake Rd, into Hominy that was deep, thick gravel. Teamwork is how it gets done though! Flats. Flat legs, flat tires, flat minds. Press on. Food and water in Hominy. We can make it! After Hominy there was some brief reprieve from the gravel, and riders finally had the wind at their backs. The last two segments of gravel were much better (as in smooth-ish). Ride it right, pay attention, don’t bomb down that hilllll….pssshhhh! Time to stop for another flat! Through the creek bottom, climb-climb-climb. I see people. Food. Beer. Bourbon. Bananas. Checkpoint #4. Another 6 miles of good gravel, then onto the pavement, turn South on 97, and hang on to that one guy who still has fuel in the tank. Down in to Sand Springs, over the river, then point it East on Avery and head for the barn!
Kari Bloom! First Place Solo Female. A long day in the saddle for Kari. “That was the hardest thing I have ever done.” We are happy for you Kari, and your accomplishment!
Tony Steward! First Place Solo Male. Strong race today by Tony. He averaged 18mph on a tough 107mi course. He said he opened up a little gap on a climb north of Skiatook Lake, and just stayed on the gas!
Or ladies tandem teams opted to share the podium as they started together, and finished together! Congratulations to Team Sparkle (Laura Meiling/Alisha Shutler), and Team Hail Mary (Jane Zeigler/Jennifer Sloan)! Alisha and Laura are veterans in this event, but didn’t have the other two ladies that would have given them the 4 person team they needed this year…well, I think they may have found next years teammates!! Great work ladies!
Our men’s tandem champions (and almost overall champions). Andy Chasteen and Chad Hodges crushed the day! These guys opted to race the men’s team loop (24 miles longer than the tandem loop), and almost beat every team in the field. They lost to The Tulsa Wheelmen after missing a checkpoint, and getting a 10 minute time penalty. Great work gents!
Women’s Team Winner was our ladies from Team Isocentric with Esther Thais, Lori McCarty, Kate Ripley, and Cassie Dickerson. Great job ladies, you crushed it!! It was so awesome to have you back for year #2!!
Not to be outdone for a second year in a row, the Tulsa Wheelmen (Jason Waddell, Will Gault, Mat Ankney, Chad Cagle, and Janne Hamalainen) knock down another victory in the Men’s Team category! New course this year, so no beating last years time. A hard day on the bike, ‘probably the hardest day I’ve ever had.’- Chad Cagle.
I can’t say how much I appreciate everyone who joined us this year. It wasn’t a huge field of racers, but it was a great group of people that wanted a challenge, and something new. Every time a group would roll in, it was so evident that they had given everything to the course. I like seeing that. People with similar passions, working together. The race is a journey. We all have different ambitions, but with the common goal of completion. Hat tip to everyone who finished (especially those with $100 worth of blown tubes in their pockets). You knew it would be difficult, but you accepted the challenge. Our sponsors stepped up big with some great prizes, coffee/breakfast from Doubleshot, fajitas for dinner from McNellies, beer from Prairie, KONA for all our schwag (drawing results below), and City Cycles for that amazing rest stop (among other supportive details. Thank you Jake Drevs!)! We thank them for their contributions, and we thank you for your contribution.
And (drum-roll please) now, the moment you have all been waiting for!
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/160316121″>IMG_7601</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user46534979″>Ruts N Guts</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>