Sunday was our Haymaker ride out of Red Wing MN. We had about 20 riders and a gorgeous 80 degree day. The course for this ride is hilly to say the least. It's a quite challenging 43-something mile long course. The hills vary from lung searing, short and steeps to long, winding, leg burners. The roads are quite dry following unseasonably warm temps and no rain to speak of. The dusty, slippery conditions made for hard hills and technical descents.
The ride started off on a hill, a long hill. One rider described it as one of the most demoralizing starts to a ride he'd ridden. While I don't feel it was quite so bad as that, there's not arguing it set the tone for the ride to follow. The group is mostly together at this point, although you can see a group of riders starting to move off the front. We stayed within several minutes of each other throughout the ride, but the guys at the front were some seriously strong folks. I felt good just to be staying up at their "casual" pace.
Jim and Curtis at the beginning of the ride. A huge thanks to Curtis. We were up way too late, and quite early putting on the finishing touches to the route and marking the course. It was a fair bit of set up, but totally worth it day of. Rolling valleys and undulating crops were hallmarks of this route. It was truly gorgeous out there, I can't wait to go back.
I love this shot of a rider headed up what looked to be a wall of a hill. This came after a section of flat, valley bottom road. We could see it coming for a few miles, and it looked just awesome. It brought out cries of "look at that thing!" and "oh man," more than once. A great hill.
Of many in the area, this is the one minimum maintenance road the course took. This hill is also on the Ragnarok route, as several were throughout the day. Apparently this spring at the Ragnarok there was still snow at the top! The below shot gives you a good idea of what the hill looks like elevation wise. It's made up of hugely chunky gravel, rocks really. There are three big ruts across the whole thing. It's as technical of an uphill as I know of on gravel. I can't say I cleaned it, but I did ride all the way to the top after a bobble.
Here's a link to a video a William shot of his ride of this hill!
William had a gorgeous lugged Mercier equipped with classic Campagnolo parts. He wins my favorite bike of the ride award hands down! Here he is at the top of the hill above, presumably with camera rolling.
Messieurs Herman, Strachen, and Oney on the tail end of the ride. They are on a Salsa Vaya, a Salsa La Cruz, and a Surly Cross Check respectively.
After heading through a few more valleys, and at about mile 35 of the ride we stopped at a nice country church for water and a regroup. The breeze was cool as we sat in the shady grass in front of the church. All hard parts of the ride were over. We cruised back into town on some nice rolling gravel to finish off the day.
Thanks again to all who came out and made this day special. We had a heck of a good time. Our next ride will be on October 23rd, on the classic Rawland Route in Dennison. This is our classic fall ride on stunning roads in and around Sogn Valley. We hope to see many of you there!