Gravel Cyclist and the Cycle Logic posse from Gainesville, made their third trip to Tallahassee, Florida, for the 31st running of the Spaghetti 100 – November 15, 2014. In our case, we were there for the 65 mile dirt epic. On offer was the prestigious Tallahassee World Champion jersey; four jerseys available in all. Men’s and women’s jerseys for the Spaghetti 100 road ride, and the same jerseys for the 65 mile dirt epic ride.
Before You Race
You must wake up early, eat a bit, visit the facilities (a few times), load the bikes and bollocks into the car, and drive to the race. That was all going to plan until the second car in our race convoy, the Belgian Express, derailed in the parking lot. That stubborn vehicle didn’t like the cold any more than the riders.
So, what do you do in that situation? Simple. You pile six guys into Dr Pain’s minivan, with the sixth bike cradled by those in the second seating row. Not so squeezy.
Sandpits and Seatposts
The ride, or rather, race, kicked off at 8:10am. Scheduled start time was 8:15am, so yours truly, thinking I had five minutes to spare, was still fart arsing around in the car with clothes and such, when the massive peloton of gravel crunching bikes, came hauling arse out of the Miccosukee Community Centre (yes pervs, Miccosukee is a real town). I jumped on the steed, and with no warmup (Graeme Obree didn’t do warmups either), joined the bunch.
The pace was MUCH faster than last year’s race. It was pretty obvious there were serious contenders at this event, all looking to sort things early, and snap the cord. Dirt / Gravel Sector #1 was traversed at record speed. Only my loaner rear facing GoPro camera would reveal the tale of carnage behind me.
Sector two, and things got a little interesting. Firstly, my bloody seatpost, which gave me issues at the Sac O Suds 50 race, suffered the same exact malady, except at about four miles into this race. Brilliant. Picture smashing one’s taintus maximus into a skyward pointing saddle for 60 miles of a gravel race, and you get the picture. The seatpost company will be receiving a warranty phone call on Monday…
I was hanging at the back, bashing on the nose of my saddle with my fist, in a futile attempt to correct its position. Meanwhile, someone at the front of the group went full gas through said sandpit. I was comfortable in the sand, although my progress was nearly halted, when various riders, including one of my own teammates, began floundering, slowing my progress. My heart, legs and lungs were none too keen about this most unpleasant of efforts. Unfortunately, my esteemed Belgian teammate was a victim of the sandpit, and never seen again.
The Cord Got Snapped
Following the sandpit carnage, things settled down for a minute or two. I took the opportunity to take a headcount; roughly 15 – 20 riders remaining in the front group. The local Tallahassee team (Guardian Automotive?), had extreme tribal knowledge, and four strong riders in the group. Cycle Logic / Gravel Cyclist had seven (including The Fraulein), and a couple of dudes who were independent.
Rick (don’t know your last name, but K-Dogg refers to you as the Sith Lord), launched a nuts out attack, that was swiftly bridged to by Pfaff Junior. Incidentally, Pfaff Junior may be from Gainesville, and car pooled with Pfaff Daddy (his dad) and The Fraulein, but he wasn’t on our team. He doesn’t respect his elders either. Thankfully, our #1 stud male rider, Clayton, bridged across shortly after, followed by Pfaff Daddy and a couple of dudes from the Pensacola Off Road Cycling (P.O.R.C.). ALL teams represented. This would be the MOVE OF THE DAY.
Almost a Gran Fondo
With everyone’s teams represented in the move, it was time to settle into Gran Fondo mode, and actively block, not chase, disrupt chasing, or hang out at the back. I disrupted chasing, much to the chagrin of Jimmy Railey, the uber strong MTB dude who just returned from an overseas MTB stage race – yes, I have forgotten the name of that race, d’oh! Jimmy and another solo rider, both worked hard to get to within 20 metres of the break ahead.
After taking a left turn, another of our teammates, Nature Boy, blasted out of our group, to bridge across successfully. The timing was fantastic, because I was about to do the same thing, but wasn’t relishing the idea of suffering like a maggot with about 45 miles still to race. Sometimes I am so farkin smart. Thanks Nature Boy 🙂
Back to Gran Fondo mode.
The break established itself ahead, so we had a little time to chat, and mostly sit the wheels of Jimmy and the other solo rider for a while. Jimmy is a good sport, and realized our less than stellar workload was all in the name of playing team tactics.
The Town of Boston
Boston, Georgia is a booming metropolis. I struck out in song, “it’s more than a feeling”, which nobody appreciated. It was probably the most work I’d done up until that point. Moving along…
Chugging Towards Home
Our little grupetto had slimmed down to nine riders. Darien Angelier, Tim Shank, the MTB dude with the VeloToze shoe covers (all teammates of Rick the Sirth Lord), Jimmy Railey, MTB dude with beard, Dr Pain, K-Dogg, JOM and The Fraulein (all Team Cycle Logic). It should be noted The Fraulein, our esteemed female team member had crushed whatever opposition she had, and was riding towards winning the women’s TALLAHASSEE WORLD CHAMPION JERSEY.
A state of urgency caused an increase in the pace of our group. We didn’t want to catch the winning break, but we weren’t stopping for wine and cheese either. The pace was solid enough to dispatch a couple more of our group, somewhere between 20 miles to go, and the finish line. I didn’t look back, but Tim and MTB dude with beard disappeared somewhere.
Meanwhile, in the Winning Breakaway
Excerpt courtesy of Cycle Logic’s rider, Nature Boy.
As the group approached the hard left turn off Cocroft Road (approximately seven miles from the finish), Pfaff Junior, and Billy from P.O.R.C., took a small advantage of approximately 30 metres. I was so spaced out, our #1 stud rider, Clayton had to gesture towards me to chase them down. My wheels, like everyone else, slid a little in this corner, but I quickly ran them down.
As soon at the catch was made, Pfaff Junior attacked again, this time with a little more determination. No way was I following that 18yo lad.
This is where things get a little hazy – I believe Pfaff Daddy, being the next domestique in the chute for Clayton, ran Pfaff Junior down. A short, but steep hill followed, which really hurt the legs. In my mind, I repeated the mantra, “hang on, just hang on”. I was on the back of the group, about one bike length behind Pfaff Daddy. We were both toasted from our domestique duties.
The sand patch, again.
Since our first pass across it, the patch had been torn to pieces by 200 bikes, and countless feet trudging through it; akin to a bucket of grapes at an Italian wine stomping festival. Our group smashed through it, full gas. My next memory, is Clayton’s bike turned almost completely sideways in the space of less than a second. Momentum lost. Braking in sand, even slightly, to avoid collision and changing lines with little steering choice – more momentum lost. And just like that, the group of seven which had ridden around 45 miles together, was dissolved.
Race to the Finish Line
Excerpts courtesy of Cycle Logic riders, Nature Boy and Pfaff Daddy.
Following the clusterphuck in the sandpit, Pfaff Junior had a 100 metre gap, pursued hard by Billy and Jacob from P.O.R.C. Behind in varying order, was the Cycle Logic squad of Clayton, Nature Boy and Pfaff Daddy, along with Rick the Sith Lord, and “another guy”.
Somehow, Clayton came back from the behind. He caught and passed everyone, barring Pfaff Junior by the finish line. A pretty astounding performance. One has to wonder what could have been, for team Cycle Logic if Clayton didn’t end up sideways in the sand. Ironically, Clayton left the wheels with the wider tyres safely in the car. If only JOM had called him the night before the race with a little tribal knowledge… bollocks!
The Second Race
Daren Angelier decided to have a little fun about 15 miles from the end of the race. The Fraulein, JOM and Jimmy Railey, took turns reeling him back in. That was about the only excitement in our bunch as we came to the finish line. But, I’m pretty sure The Fraulein was really excited. She’d just won!
Team Cycle Logic / Gravel Cyclist accomplished its goals. Get riders into the winning break, and attempt to pull off the win. It almost worked, at least in the Men’s division. Pfaff Junior, aka Justin Pfaff came home with the Men’s win for the 2014 Spaghetti 100 65 mile Dirt Epic. CONGRATULATIONS!
Cycle Logic’s best finisher was Clayton Mathews in second place. The P.O.R.C. lads finished 3rd and 4th, followed by Pfaff Daddy in 5th, and the Nature Boy in 6th.
The Fraulein, aka Antje, came home with the second group on the road, to take the women’s win for the 2014 Spaghetti 100 65 mile Dirt Epic. Absolutely STELLAR work by The Fraulein. CONGRATULATIONS! Her male teammates, JOM, K-Dogg and Dr Pain finished with her.
Overall, a great day of teamwork, at a fun event, organized by nice people. Do yourself a favor, check out the Spaghetti 100 events in 2015.
Thanks for reading – race video coming soon!