Best race I’ve experienced? CIRREM, no question. Why? The organizers Kent and Jed have figured out how to combine all of the components that bikers and racers love into a single package.

First, it’s an adventure. It’s early season so people are working on their fitness levels and not usually up to full racing trim. It’s in February and the weather can be anything. This year turned out to be the best one yet as far as road and weather. We got 4-6 inches of snow a couple of days before the race but it was off the road for the most part on Saturday. It was sunny and not too windy, and the temperature was high 20’s.

It’s in a cool location. The Cumming Tap in Cumming, Iowa sits right on a major bike trail about 15 miles south of Des Moines. It’s one of the most biker friendly bars around. Bob, the owner, is a biker and rolls out the red carpet for the race. The finish line is actually in the bar and you’ve got a 50/50 chance of someone handing you a beer as you check in.

They deliver more than you expect. The entry fee is minimal and this year it including build-your-own breakfast burritos, cookies and beer at the halfway point, post-race tacos, post-race beer, a sweet t-shirt and, bonus, a bar style bottle opener.

The bar is packed with happy bikers before and after the race, there are a ton of volunteers making food, pouring beer, handing out swag, awards and congrats. There are serious awards for the winners and great swag from the sponsors.

The course was fast this year. A new course record  was set by the winner and I turned in my best time. Not sure what my place was yet, I’m curious. Fargo with aero bars this year. The fast guys are all on cross bikes and cross single speeds. Two  Wrecked’em’s competed this year, me and my buddy Chuck. ChuckThe race was itself was pretty uneventful. My Camelbak didn’t freeze but my Cliff bar did. I got gel all over my lobster gloves. I had some great cookies at the halfway checkin but passed on the beer. I met some interesting people including the optometrist from Milwaukee, the guy from Missouri with diarrhea and Dan from Des Moines who’d ridden his bike to the race so he could make it a 100 mile day. Turns out Dan is doing Trans Iowa this year too and has one previous attempt under his belt.

After the race I had a couple of beers and more than my share of tacos from Tacopocalypse. I did not win any of the schwag, bummer, then went home opened another beer with my CIRREM bottle opener and wore my new sweet t-shirt out for dinner with my wife.

That my friends, is a perfect day!

  • Mileage: 63 miles, 100% gravel, Fargo / aero bars
  • Weather: high 20′s, 10+ mph SSW wind, sunny
  • Route: CIRREM race course