After 82 miles of battling the wind (the first 36 miles, I rode with friends and we had a great paceline going. Pacelines are good things!) my rear tire flatted. At this point, I decided that I had enough of battling the wind, and averaging 13.6 mph, and I didn't want to waste a $4 CO2 cartridge only to push through another 18 miles of wind so I caught a ride with one of the support vehicles to the finish line.
Huge, huge thanks have to go out to the staff, committee, and volunteers who put this ride on! They did an incredible job! The course was well marked - if you went off course, it was because you were deliberately trying to get yourself lost. The rest stops were well staffed, and stocked with plenty of food and goodies - the ATK Rocket garden rest stop (by far the coolest place to have a rest stop, just look at the picture) had a volunteer out by the road handing pb&j sandwich quarters to the riders as they came into the rest stop.
This ride has been a mainstay in my season for the past five years. Nothing about this year's ride is going to change that. Everything that was under the ride committee's control was executed perfectly. Things that aren't, i.e. the wind, made it difficult, but not unbearable. I've already booked my hotel room for next year!
some of the 1500+ bags that had to be stuffed the night before.
part of the start/finish village before the ride.
The ATK "rocket garden" very cool place for a rest stop.
the top of "the wall" (that's what I'm calling it. It felt way steep!) this is the view you are rewarded with after your grueling climb - right before you plummet back down to the valley floor.