This past Saturday was the 2nd annual Dirty Benjamin race in Carver County Minnesota. This race is special for a number of reasons, one the organizer Martin is a homie, two it takes place close to the Twin Cities, and three it is the third major race on the Minnesota gravel calendar.
After abandoning at Almanzo my ambitions for this race were to simply finish and have a good time. I was mostly excited about getting to find out about all these gravel roads within riding distance of Minneapolis and treated the race as such.
Josh, Tom Hudson, and myself ended up all riding together. I tend to ride my bike really slow when I'm not racing, so even the normal group ride pace was a higher output than I would normally do just riding by myself. We took our time, stopped for a total of around an hour throughout the race and soaked it in.
I have to admit that I wasn't very excited to get up early and do the race, I was mainly just doing it to do it and most of the ride was fine but not anything to get real excited about. The roads were pretty flat and surprisingly squishy, the quality of gravel isn't what you have for the Almanzo where there are miles of that super hardpack that rides likes slick cement, and my back was still hurting from wrecking it a few weeks back.
But after a break with 20 miles to go, I realized that finishing was a sure shot and that since my legs were hurting I should take this opportunity to hurt them more. I did my best imitation of hauling ass on that last leg and the joy of digging in and finishing the longest ride of my life made the whole thing so much fun in retrospect.
this is my toolkit for the race, just the essentials: pump, two tubes, spare glueless patches, spoke wrench, links, chain tool, tire levers, hex set
Josh and Tom, Tom rode a Moots cross bike, Josh rode his Cappy
the most amazing turkey jerky from Everett's (best butcher shop in town) (nice call Tom)
last stop, I was on the Mr. Pink
one of the organizer's, Martin, on the right
dudes at the finish
I ended up finishing 68th out of the 180 or so riders, I'm very happy with the day I had in the saddle.