|July 30th, 2005|
No crashes, no mechanical failures, and no dogs actually latched onto anyone's leg. Good weather. Successful ride. Several impressive feats out there this year... where do we start?
Thanks Mom, Sheila and Jean!! It just wouldn't be the same without the support vehicle and the spaghetti dinner.
The route has been upgraded to 8 climbs (from 7.5); and I think they're all Cat 4's by Tour de France standards. The climb out of the Mississippi valley from Bagley was odd for this ride-- really gentle grade, fresh pavement and a tailwind heading up that one. If it ever finds its way back into the Suicide Century, we'll just call it Easy Street. The 40 mile stretch from Boscobel to Eastman really made up for it, though, with 4 splendid climbs following that straight stretch through the Woodman desert-- flat, straight, into a headwind, and hot. And bad pavement. But why dwell on the bad 5 miles when there were about 98 good ones. I really liked the stretch along Plum Creek even though we 'wasted' the climb on the Cemetery Hill outside Wauzeka. Just about half way up it (maybe a little past half way) we had to turn and head right back down into the valley. But at least it was nice and shady for a while. Coming down that last hill into PdC was a good way to end the ride.
And if you refer to Gennady's pictures we see that Marty was back in top form this year; Chris and Gretchen both breezed through again and Gretchen's dad, Ralph, joined us for the first time this year. Made it his first century and everything. Jason Day breezed right along, out for about his 2nd ride of the year, even carrying the extra weight of one of those fancy new walkman radio/8-track cassette players or something like that. Bruce was back but sporting a shirt and helmet this year (our panel of lawyers thanks you), and Amy got out there and rode a long, long ways on the big hills (to an Illinois native)-- great job. Matt and Melissa took a short cut-- but unfortunately didn't have life-sized cardboard cutouts of themselves for the group photo. Guess what would make a great going-away present... (even more unfortunately they're moving to North Carolina this winter, so next time they make it to the ride they'll be shoe-ins for the "We're Honored" award). Diane battled leg cramps, rode almost the whole route and still managed to train a service dog along the way. John Sarff rode the entire approved route this year; normally he tries to work in an extra 20 miles or so when the route is poorly marked, but I guess the orange arrows were adequate to keep people on course. Toni also rode the whole thing, even making the loop down into Bagley, and Gennady conquered the hills in the early morning and then went back to get his car and focus on the photography. Excellent job again. Mike Clark was sporting a new hair cut-- following the lead of olympic swimmers. Turns out professional cyclists shave their legs instead. But at least it probably helped keep him cool for the ride. Skip, an avid mountain biker, made a smooth move into the 100 mile road course; he also set a new sprinting speed record flying back toward the latrine at the rest stop in Eastman. Aaron, the co-winner of last year's Grit Award, made much shorter work of the course this time. Don Holly was his usual self-- although we heard a little less whistling this year, we were serenaded by his harmonica jack-ass call. My brother Scott was out for the ride again this year, looked pretty darn strong for about the first 40 miles, had a stretch where it looked like he was pulling a plow, and then recovered for a strong ride on the home stretch. Might have something to do with that computer. We also got to meet (briefly) Dave Gardner, a resident of Boscobel... no fair-- he gets to train on those hills on every ride. We don't really knows how fast Dave rode since the sag wagon just didn't have enough power to keep up with him (he had to get to a birthday party in the early afternoon). And we all missed Ted. Next year indeed.
So, upon recommendation of the committee, here is the official announcement of the 2005 Suicide Century Award Winners:
The prestigious Don Holly Award ( for the most spirited cyclist ) goes to... Don Holly, for an unprecedented 7th consecutive time.
The 2005 Iron Sow Award is a tie: Scott Anderson and John Sarff. Bruce Broker was still lugging around the most iron, but with those fancy new pedals it looks like a genuine racing bike. Scott and John were out on identical Schwinn World Tours. John's had a kickstand and Scott's had a 4 pound computer, making this one a tie. Ralph would have also received consideration for his 1972 Botecchia with a full 10 speeds to choose from; unfortunately for him this model is very similar to Don Holly's machine, and we don't pick on Don Holly's bike (or any bikes like it). Matt was out there on a mountain bike with some pretty wide off-road tires, but the frame couldn't compete with some of the 'classic' road frames out there.
The "We're honored by your presence award" goes to Scott who came all the way from Blaine, MN. This might be the last year for him in this category-- next year he could very well be teaching high school math in one of the small towns we ride through.
The "Holy-Shit" Award was a complete toss-up this year. So many impressive rides. Honorable mention to everyone. Jason Day, zipping through the ride on just one training outing for the year is up there. Dave Gardner was pretty darn fast. Amy looked great on her longest ride ever. Toni rode impressively as well. This year it goes to Ralph Suechting, keeping the award in the family for the 2nd straight year. Out for his first century in unfamiliar hills, on the old 10 speed. That guy is some sort of an athlete. Holy shit indeed.
Conversely, there was a clear cut Grit Award winner. Skip Holschbach. Didn't hear so much as a whimper from him, but he came up with a new and exciting way to dehydrate himself on a 100 mile bike ride. He was awarded the ceremonial handful of sand in his spaghetti dinner, but that didn't seem to faze him. We also sprinkled a little in his Immodium® for good measure.
Plans for #8 are already getting underway. You can expect a really easy (and flat) route for next year. Maybe even a ferry ride across the Mississippi-- can't get any easier than that. Guess we shouldn't count that half mile in the total distance. Better bring your passports for a possible excursion into Iowa. Hope everyone can make it.