Friday, March 31, 2017

Some notes as I get excited for tomorrow

I dug this up from years ago... still holds true...

Many of you have ridden in gravel centuries/events before, and those that haven't have probably put on at least a few miles on the dusty/muddy/icy dirt roads this winter/spring... but some things to have in the back of your head while riding this weekend:

- Please obey all road signs. If the sign says stop. Please do so.
- It's a long race so be smart about bombing down hills and whatnot.... it's a gas, but always ride within yourself.
- When cresting a hill, or going around a blind corner always ride to the right side of the road.
- Gravel is a very inconsistent surface to ride on. For the most part the roads of Goodhue and Wabasha counties are premium surfaces to ride on. Patches of frost heaves, loose gravel, mud will still pop up though, so be prepared! Right now ice is even a possibility, though the temps this week should help in that respect.
- Dogs. In general the dogs we've ran across while riding this spring have been well behaved. Watch out though. Even when they are just trying to be friendly they can cause a crash.
- Be respectful of others. We're using the roads, but they are not closed and they are not solely ours. Don't litter. Smile at folks. Wave. Goodhue and Wabasha counties have been happy to give us permission to run the race so far. Let's not give them reason to change their minds.
- Be prepared. There is roughly 40-45 miles between civilization and in some of the valleys you probably will not get good cell reception/coverage. The organizers of the race also are not responsible for providing you with a way out if you get in trouble.
- You are responsible for you. We won't have piles of tubes, water, gel packs etc. We will not drive all over picking people up who have to drop out for whatever reason.
- Please have a working blinky red rear light and some sort of blinky white front light.

Do you have any questions about cue sheets? Well... here is a great primer...

See you tonight or tomorrow! 

One day to go!

We're almost there! One day until the 10th running of the Ragnarok 105! Is there a better day than April Fools Day to ride this course?

Some quick details for those not on facebook , or in case my phone stopped working.


Night before check in will be at the Red Wing Brewery yet again. I'll be there around 7:30 or so with waivers, cue sheets, and numbers. We'll be there until 9:30 or thereabouts, so if you're staying in town, or just want a few more minutes of sleepy time tomorrow morning please come on down!


We'll try and have everything set-up by 6:15 or a little earlier. I'd love to have everyone checked in and getting close to ready by 7:15 or so to allow for a prompt 7:30 getaway time.

You will have until 11:45 to get to Zumbro Falls and check in with our volunteers, and 4:45 to get to Lake City and do the same. While going into the checkpoint, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE slow down and come in a semi-orderly fashion. Make sure that we get you recorded.

Random Notes:

The Zumbro Endurance Race is actually next weekend, not this, so don't count on any friendly faces in the Bottoms (though I would guess you won't see any grumpy ones either)... they may actually be out doing course prep, so you might still get some waves.

We're using the same course as last year (and the past few years actually), but we can't vouch for any GPS tracks that you may find or use or whatever, so we will require you to carry our cue sheets, which you'll get at each checkpoint. One of these years we will change things up!

The latest weather forecast is actually looking better and better. 60 degrees and sunny? Yes please. That means sunscreen for me. If it means sunscreen for you please remember it as we won't have a ton on us on the course.

We will not have any water or any supplies of the like on course with us. If you need that stuff either bring it along or stop at a convenience store, which are conveniently close to checkpoints.

Now some thanks, in no particular order, and I'm sure with some exclusions...  since this weekend will be crazy and I'm thinking semi-clearly now:

Huge thanks to Mississippi National and the Red Wing Brewery. Their accommodation of our little event (at no cost to us) really makes it possible and keeps my heartburn to a minimum.

Thanks to my wife and family! We've been busy moving, and work has been crazy for me, so I haven't gotten as much time on course as I would like, but they have been patient and very supportive of continuing on what Larry, Jake, and I started 10 years ago. Without that we wouldn't be here.

Thanks to Larry! The work he put in to the race years ago still keeps it going strong now years after he stepped away from the pre-race organizing. Also, the day of help that he provides is invaluable.

Thanks to Jake for flying in from Colorado for this! What I said about Larry goes for Jake!

Thanks to Mark S of Trans-Iowa fame and Chris S, founder of the Almanzo for providing the inspiration/motivation to start this event so long ago.

Thanks to everyone who has ridden, and will be riding the Rok. It's humbling having people drive down and give up a day (or more) of their valuable time to ride.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Details for Saturday

I posted up the most important info on facebook, but here is a more thorough version of it:

The ride is April 1 (this Saturday). We start at 7:30, but please be at Mississippi National and checked in by at least 7:15. If everyone waits until 7:15 it may just be chaos, as with the weather looking pretty decent (knocking on wood) my guess is there will be less no shows (thus more riders) than ever before.

The Ragnarok Volunteer Crew will be at the golf course and set-up by 6:15 or so (maybe even a bit earlier). When you come in please park in the "lower" lot, which will be where our table is set up. I'm assuming that we'll need to use some of the upper lot too, which is fine, I just don't want to use up their whole lot. Please park efficiently!

A quick timeline:

6:15 Check-in opens
7:25 Announcements
7:30 Start
approximately 11:30 Checkpoint 1 closes
approximately 4:30 Checkpoint 2 closes
7:30 Cut-off time to "finish"

We will still try and have night before check-in. With life being crazy I haven't finalized this yet, but will look to today. Expect to be able to sign your waiver, get your number and cues Friday sometime in town if you want a more streamlined Saturday experience.


Always ride within yourself and be aware of your surroundings.

You are responsible for yourself! (both while riding, and if you need to get extracted from the course)

You can certainly give or receive help from other riders though.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

April 1 is coming up!!

Sorry for the bit of radio silence, work has been (and continues to be) crazy busy and we just moved across town this past weekend. So there has been a lot of stuff going on!


We're under a month away to the big day now. Hopefully you've been logging those miles... or eating those donuts to give you the energy to persevere over the nasty roads that the Rok has to offer.

Course Update!:

The course will be the same as in the past few years. As always life gets in the way of making changes. There is a small change to the end of the course that I hope to get into the 2018 running (if there is a 2018 running) that would add in some not even minimum maintenance road. Just a little nugget.

The main roads should be fast and good to go like normal. We got a foot of snow a week and a half ago so things at the moment are sloppy on the MMR sections. The storms, rain, and then incessant wind we've had the last couple days will be helping dry everything up. Minnesota weather is fickle though so who knows what is in store for the weeks leading up to the race.

Checkpoints will be at the same locations as always. Zumbro Falls (a bit under 40 miles in) and Lake City (right around 80ish miles in). There are convenience stores on the route fairly close to the checkpoints (in Zumbro Falls the one actually on the course is after, though there is one before too... in Lake City is just a bit before the checkpoint).

Other notes:

As I always say: You are responsible for yourself! This is a ride on open roads.

You MUST ride within your limits, obey all posted signs, not trespass, stop at stop signs, etc.

Please don't litter! I know that you'll see a few discarded Natty Ice cans along the way, but don't make more of a mess. I (and those who help me out) like to ride on these very same roads, and don't want to give anyone a chance to think "those darn cyclists".

If you have a mechanical, or need to drop out.... HAVE A PLAN! We are not responsible for any sort of taxi service. We are a small rag tag crew that has to be all over the course for other reasons. We ask that you call me to report that you are dropping out, but other than that you need to have a bail out plan. I cannot stress this enough. You need to be ready for any situation, no matter the weather, etc.

Start and Finish:

We'll be at Mississippi National Golf Links again for the start and finish. Try and park in the "lower" section of the lot. Try and just take one space as well. If the weather is nice they will also want to be golfing so I don't want to affect them too much as they don't ask for anything from us in return. Note, I believe that they now have made to order food along with beer, pop, etc. So your post-ride refueling may have gotten easier.

Night before check in:

I need to confirm the location, but we will have some night before check-in somewhere in Red Wing (either Downtown or at the Brewery or something... details are being hammered out).

What am I missing? Feel free to ask in comments or on whatever social media I'm not ignoring at the moment...