5 Star Rating
|18 rating(s) given|
great first gravel race - did the 100 miler "baked potato." finished in just under 7 hours good for90th overall - not bad for a 60 year-old. the 4-5 miles of mtn bike trail called "el diabilito" was a real surprise and very difficult for a true roadie like me - not sure I would do the baked potato again if the mtn bike stuff stays in for next year - may opt for the 50 miler instead w no mtn bike stuff unless i develop some mtn bike skills on my 3T exploro.
This is my third RPI Small Fry and by far the most confusing. At the second rest stop (where everyone was to "stay right") the volunteers were literally yelling at me to "STOP" (I think to get food). The volunteers who (I think) were supposed to make sure that everyone did stay right, were just standing there (which added to the confusion). (They needed to be standing in a different spot with arrows/flags/pointing) I appreciate everyone volunteering and understand it can be a thankless job. (I do my share of race volunteering). When a person is in "race" mode, it can be difficult to make sense of this type of confusion. Perhaps at the intersection in the future there should be some barriers with arrows (yes, I did see the signs). Admittedly, I was at that junction when the leaders were coming back in, adding to the number of bikes/people,congestion, dust,and chaos.
My wife Melissa and I registered for the French Fry on a whim and because our friends suggested it. We're sealevel dwellers from NY with zero experience cycling on gravel. We both do a lot of road cycling and compete in long course triathlons so we figured we could rest on that fitness to carry us through.
We arrived in Ketchem Thursday, felt the elevation, hopped on our shiny new rental bikes on saturday for the "practice/preview ride" and has a blast. Meeting Rebecca was cool - clear high energy and had everything planned for fun and challenge.
The ride was much tougher than we thought it would be, my heart rate was through the roof and we both bounced all over the place on the washboard roads with our over-inflated tired. I got back to the hotel thinking a race triple the distance of the preview ride would definitely leave a mark.
We enjoyed the expo, got our tire pressure dialed in (thank you SRAM and ENVE for all of your advice for the rookie gravelers!) and enjoyed the town and parade.
Race day I had two goals: 1)Ride Strong, 2)Don't crash. Mission Accomplished!
Loved the neutral rollout to get legs warmed up, cruising through town with no pressure and then start ratcheting the effort up. Only thing is my ratchet was full on dialed up on mile THREE!
That elevation is a definite kick in the pants and the ticker!
All was great (tough and fun) until the miles 35-40-something - The climb with the headwind. Somewhere in my meticulous (not) race preparation I failed to see that climb - I thought it was all smooth sailing DOWN the hill and homeward bound. That whole section left a mark, but made the whole race experience that much more memorable.
All was good and the aid station at the summit, with cold red bull and gels was key.
Five Stars across the board and I'm already looking forward to next year's ride. Might even step up to the 100 miler!
Thanks a million!
Our first RPI Baked Potato lived up to the billing. Grit and dust, seemingly impossibly long uphill pulls and bone rattling descents. t was gorgeous and memorable.
We've done probably 30 centuries around the country and we've ridden a lot of gravel, but never raced. We survived.
A comment: It would have been helpful to know before the racers meeting that there was a cutoff. When you travel hundreds of miles at no small expense to ride a great event, not making the cut is memorable in the not happy way.
It's your race and if its meant for only elite rides, just make it known. On race day while riding we heard that the cut off was 43 miles not 35 as announced. We thought the needed avg. speed to make cutoff was 10 mph as presented but 12.5 mph - not counting stopping time so more like 13.5 mph. That's a big difference. We made the cut. Not sure if "adjustments" were made and if so, we appreciate it. We're not elite riders, but we love supporting great causes while enjoying great scenery. Thanks for sharing your Idaho.
Big thanks to Rebecca and all the volunteers! A fantastic, beautiful ID ride!