Cirrem is like the finest microbrew. Not mass produced, doesn’t appeal to everyone but to those that love it’s flavor, it’s dope! Here are my race highlights from 2014.

1. Getting in. I screwed around and it filled before I registered. Fortunately they have a waiting list and I rose to the top of it.

2. My new ride. I took my Salsa Mamasita and converted her to a light and lithe gravel monster.

3. A speeding ticket. Less than and hour into my 10 hour trip home!!! More on that later.

4. Breakfast burritos. I believe every mountain bike race should include pre-race breakfast burritos, Cirrem, you’ve set the bar.

5. Old friends. I got to catch up with the Fritzenator before the race and on the way back to the car to prep my bike, heard someone cry “Beernuts!” Only DePenning calls me that.

6. Crazy people. Lots of them at this race but I’m thinking of the kid with the totally tricked out Surly Ogre that had used it for off-road touring in Alaska. I bet his bike started out around 40 lbs. ice and frozen mud would have pushed it to over 50 by the end.

7. Fat bikes. Lots of them this year. Sorry, I don’t get it, it’s a race. Why start on something that’s heavy and slow. Might as well ride on flat tires.

8. Missing the start. About 1 minute before the start I realized I had forgotten my race number in the car. After a mad dash to the car and sticking myself twice with the pins, I rolled out only a few seconds behind the pack.

About the time I freaked because I forgot my number.

About the time I freaked because I forgot my number.

9. The first 15 miles. They were dry.

Pace lines work when the road's dry!

Pace lines work when the road’s dry!

10. The cookies at the top of half way hill. I almost turned around and went back for seconds. I passed on the PBR’s.

11. Broken spoke about mile 40. A chunk of frozen mud must have fallen off and taken it out. I heard a metallic snap and hoped it wasn’t my frame. The sexy curve in my rear rim told me it was a spoke.

12. The steady loss of gears. At mile 30 I had maybe 4 or 5 I could use. I was down to a single speed by mile 45.

13. Always racing. After riding totally by myself for miles I heard voices behind me with 5 miles to go. I glanced back and saw two riders closing in. I could have let them catch me and chatted with them while we road in together. We were all just in survival mode anyway at that point. Instead I put the hammer down and dropped them again on the last hills. I also passed a guy 1/4 mile from the finish. In fairness, I did tell him, ” come on, let’s finish this mother!” And tried to get him to pick up his pace a little and ride with me but he was toast.

Typical section.

Typical section.

14. Finishing!

15. Post race. Tacos and beer for racers, need I say more? Korean chicken and wasabi brisket from Tacopocolypse were my flavors of choice. Caught up with Squirrel (creator of the race awards), DePenning and the race organizers, Kent and Jed.

16. Inspiration.Chuck, aka the Fritzinator, broke his derailleur with 13 miles to go (I saw two other broken rear d’s and two broken chains). He decided to walk the rest of the race pushing his mud encrusted bike with him. He said he did not want a DNF.

17. Bike maintenance included two washings, once at a car wash to get the concrete like frozen mud off the bike and once by hand at home to finish it up.

This was all frozen as hard as a rock.

This was all frozen as hard as a rock.

Look at this thing, why was it still going!? I replaced the broken spoke and put on a new chain. Surprisingly it still shifts. Headset needed to taken apart and cleaned out, too.

18. I checked out the spot where I got my speeding ticket on the way home. The two signs giving you a heads up about the reduced speed were both blown parallel to the highway by the wind. You couldn’t see them at all, especially in the dark. I took pictures and I will be vindicated! See you in court sucker.

Cirrem 2014…another memorable batch!