Dickie Scramble is a 77-mile race that starts in Elgin, Minnesota every April. This year's weather cooperated perfectly with a day full of sunny, clear skies and light winds. The turnout was great with somewhere around 200 people from all over.
The race kicked off at 10 a.m. with a group roll out of town towards the first gravel road. After that, the course was open and riders were left to fend for themselves. As usual, the speed picked up for the first few miles as riders tried to find their groups and paces. I slowly made my way through the crowd and finally found some familiar faces that I knew in a group and linked up to ride with them.
After a few miles we spotted the lead group and a few of us decided to try and catch them. Four of us formed a chase and we kept the lead in our sights as long as we could. Sadly, our group began falling apart with the winding roads, hills and looser gravel. We all became solo riders again, and as it turned out, a lot of people from the lead group began falling apart, too. Racers could be seen from in front and behind strung out along the roads and it stayed like that up until the half-way checkpoint.
Dickie has a potluck-style checkpoint where everyone can bring food to be shared with all racers. After some snacks, sodas and even beers, the race was back on. Some people like to rest longer than others, but after one mid-race beer, I was back on the course.
From then on, there were no more groups in sight larger than 3 or 4 riders. I rode solo for about 10 miles before finding more people that were on the same pace. We rode together until the last few climbs, then personal records were at stake and everyone made their final pushes. The last 5 miles of the race included some thick gravel sections, rolling hills and pavement roads with the finish line up a mild hill, but with all the day's racing it felt much worse than it was.
I pulled across the finish line with a time of 5:06:47 and took the last road into town to the ending location of JJ's Tailgators for some recovery beers and burgers.
Everyone shared stories: struggles, highlights, how they could have done better, and what races they'll be doing in the next few months.
As always, everyone had a great time and only a few minor injuries were reported. On behalf of the Alt Armada I'd like to thank all the organizers and volunteers for hosting another great event that we will be back again for next year!