24 hours ago, we were driving back to Minneapolis from Almanzo. I was still dehydrated, cramping and knackered beyond belief — even after a few bottles of water, a Coke, an A&W meal deal and some much-needed air conditioning.
Driving through the darkness, I looked up through the sunroof and saw my brand-new, trusty dusty steed, mounted to the roof rack. Here’s how it all went down:
We arrived at the Almanzo parking lot around 7:15am. After fetching our race packets and saying hello to a few old friends, we set up our bikes, geared up, filled water bottles and slathered on the SPF 50. It was already hot, but the real heat was yet to come.
We were in the starting chute by 8:45am. 550 riders, lined up and ready to roll. Lots of questions about the Auger - all shiny, new and full of potential. A few guys said, “Hey - you’re that guy who won the bike. The Auger Blogger, right? I voted for you!” I smiled and showed them the bike. They were impressed.
And then were were off. The roll out was fast, as usual. We hit the gravel at about 25mph. All of us humming along in a huge peloton - dust everywhere, lots of hooting, hollering and smiling. Then we turned the corner into the wind. Holy hell.
The day averaged 90 degrees, 20mph headwinds and 40mph gusts. To say it was “windy” is an understatement. Guys were bonking, quitting and sitting on the side of the road. Farmers were in their front yards with hoses, filling bottles. Groups were sitting under trees, hiding from the sun. In the end, I averaged a miserable 12.6mph on the bike and cramped more than I’ve ever cramped in my life. Pukey, dizzy, dehydrated and destroyed, I barely made it to the finish line – blue lipped, goosebumped and shivering, I was on the brink of something bad.
But the bike was fantastic. Weighing in at 20lbs, the Auger performed like a carbon CX bike should - snappy, fast and responsive. The disc brakes were much appreciated on the massive, loose downhill sections. Even the bar tape is primo - super gummy lizard skins. All-in-all, I was extremely impressed by the bike. Just wish I could have pushed it a little harder. My body made the whole thing feel like slow motion – like a Civic engine powering a Ferrari…
But I finished. And now I’m back in Dallas. When the bike arrives later this week, I’ll give it a good wash and go find some gravel, outside of town.