Le Grand du Nord 100 miles
Le Grand du Nord 100 miles on gravel roads in Northern Minnesota.....yes PLEASE!!!!! @altarmada
May 27, 2017
It all starts with packet pick up!!! The excitement builds and things start to get real. You are in this, and no backing out. We made the journey, approx. 5 hours by car to Grand Marais, MN.
We had a group of my Randonneur friends that decided we would all chip in and share expenses to make this a fun holiday weekend event, and that it WAS!
We arrived in Grand Marais and checked into the cabin that 5 us of shared for the weekend. Quickly unpacked and unloaded bikes and rolled down the hill to Voyageur Brewery for the packet pick up. Here we got to meet the volunteers, Jeremy Kershaw, the Guru of this event, and to reconnect with gravel friends. High Fives, hugs, discussions of the next day ride plans, laughs and all around great time to get pumped up for the next day. After a beer, or two, and a wonderful dinner, all at Voyageur Brewery (most EXCELLENT), we pedaled up hill to the cabin to get a good night of rest before 8AM roll out the next morning.
We again, jump on the bikes prepared for Northern Minnesota temps...it was not supposed to be above 60 degrees all day, so we covered knees and arms and rolled to the start getting in the mind set of a day on the bike anticipating all we would see and experience.
After a few announcements from Jeremy and the line up, Jeremy proceeded to lead us out by car through town to the 1st section of gravel....of course one of the biggest climbs on the route.
About 3/4 of the way up, I pulled over to the side, some clothes had to come off, We weren't even 6 miles into the ride and I was melting!
After removing knee and arm warmers and stuffing in my jersey pocket (BTW...I was told multiple times that our kit was one of the sweetest they had ever seen! Hell Yeah! @altarmada) I proceeded to finish that climb, which for me was a challenge, riding long distance as my norm.... 6 miles in I was not warmed up AT ALL...but got it done and proceeded to make my way forward working to catch people along the ride. I knew that the further I got in the ride the better I would feel, so ....Onward and Upward (literally)
We made our way through some of the most beautiful gravel riding I had ever done. The foggy morning broke and beautiful blue sky and sunshine would be on tap for the day. With about 6,000 ft of climbing and rewarding downhills with lots of flowy fast gravel rollers, I was in MY HEAVEN!!!!
We made our way to HED's first sponsored rest stop, of course you would climb to it on a gravel trail, but once at the top, some beautiful views and people there with fuel to top off and head back out.
We venture on! I was riding next to one of my friends, Scott, as he looked at his computer and said, it's 70 degrees....I looked backed and smiled, could this day get anymore perfect?!? Well, yes, yes it could! We continued on crushing gravel and making new friends. Catching people and riding together and then pedaling on....
We made our way to our last HED rest stop where there was Fresh crepes and other fuel... Again, you climbed to the stop and then continued the climb after you stopped, however this time I was warmed up as there was only about 30 more miles to go and and a rabbit in front of me to get focused and chase. YAY!
Now we start to get excited about one of the announcements that Jeremy made at the beginning of the race, he was breaking all racing rules and having us finish on a downhill.... Wha What?!?! All the YESES!!!! We round the last corner off gravel and and hit the pavement downhill that will take us to the finish line back at Voyauger Brewery. All the gears, do not stop pedaling, stay tucked, no traffic, volunteers at every street crossing stopping traffic, as the finish line became visible I see Jeremy and pedaled through.... I felt amazing, I loved the downhill finish. I stopped as Jeremy could not read my number as I came through....I high fived him and said...267. Made my way over the the brewery with a big ass smile on my face and was handed a beer ticket by my friend Matt, with beer in hand and gather with friends that were done as we waited for the others to come in and recapped the day...it's moments like these you wish you could put in a bottle and keep forever! Thanks to Jeremy Kershaw and all the volunteers, and Grand Marais, MN for putting on one of the best events EVER!! Gravel Freaking ROCKS! Thanks to The Alt for sponsoring an amazing group of gravel addicts, much love to my biking brothers and sisters! #bikelife #dowhatyoulovelovewhatyoudo #altarmada #crushinggravel
100 MILE FINISHERS