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Red River Riot, The Texas Gravel Grinder

Red River Riot
Muenster, TX
03/30/2013
USAC Permit Number 2013-691

Register here: Red River Riot, THE Texas Gravel Grinder | Race registration | Webscorer

The Red River Riot is back and better than ever with the focus being the best and most challenging route possible. This is not an official “race” so don’t look for prize money, sag support, or even rules. Get your spot early because prices go up as more riders entry. Early bird entries get in for as little as $20. Every ten riders takes the price up $5 to a maximum of $45.

We’re going to give you a great route to follow that will cover well over 100 miles of dirt roads in the scenic Red River area of North Texas. Entry fee includes a great staging area, food, classic t-shirt, swag and will provide directions for everyone to find their way from Point A to Point Z.

The long route will be around 120 miles The short route will be around 60 miles We will also offer a mini route of around 30 miles as a gravel grinder intro ride. Please be aware that there will be a strictly enforced 1 PM cutoff to go out on lap 2 for riders doing the longest route. This works out to about a 14 mph average.

The most current information will most likely be on the Spinistry Facebook page or on Spinistry.com. See you there! REMINDER: This is a self supported ride. There WILL NOT be any aid stations or SAG wagons. Do not attempt this ride if you are uncomfortable being 20 miles from civilization with ZERO support.

Recap from last year: Red River Riot Wrap Up 2012 - YouTube
 

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That was HARD. 2 inches of rain overnight made many of the sections very soft and or muddy. Climbing a steep hill, in soft mud, with a 20+mph headwind. If you stopped pedaling, you'd fall over. Yeah...brutal but so awesome. Beautiful countryside. I loved every minute of the suffering.

I was doing well until the halfway point. I was mid-pack, about 1/2 way back as we turned on to the first gravel section. Things kind of bottle necked on the first two hills there due to the mud/soft roads. Basically only two tire tracks that were soft mud but rideable. If you got out of those to attempt a pass, the soft ground would jsut sap your momentum. So I just kinda sat in and spun until I could find solid ground to get around. As I crested the second hill, I could see the leaders way way up the road and that's the last I saw of them. 3 miles in and we were already dropped. Not so much dropped as it was pretty much single file as far as I could see in both directions. So I just settled in to a manageable pace, staying within myself on the climbs, bombing the downhill sections, and really pinning it when I had a tail wind. Passed probably 20 to 25 riders between there and halfway. Only 3 riders passed me.

I was feeling really good coming in to the halfway point. We scouted the route and my wife had planned to meet me there for a bottle exchange. Well, city girl didn't realize that gravel gets really soft after a rain and when I rolled up to her, our car was sunk in mud up to the hubs. And we were out in the sticks. No help, no cell service, we were f**ked. We got so lucky when a photographer pulled up in a big diesel Dodge pick up. She had a tow strap and got us pulled out but I lost nearly 45 minutes and probably 50 or more positions. My race was over.

I rode almost all of the second half by myself. And I went way too hard after leaving the halfway point. I caught and passed several riders but none of them had anything left to be able to work together in the wind. So I suffered on alone. I had to walk Windmill Hill. I was so spent by that point. All the nervous energy and work to get the car unstuck really took it out of me. The last 10 miles after Windmill Hill was just a death march into the headwind. Lots of self coaching to make it in but quitting was never an option. No way.

My goal was to beat 4.5 hours for the 65 mile course. Well, the course was shortened by about 9 miles due to the rain and muddy conditions. I had to work really hard to finish in 4:03:12. There is no where in the Houston area to train for hills like that. I thought I was ready but I wasn't even close. It only got harder the further you went. More hills, steeper hills, longer hills, and the brutal winds. I will definitely be back next year and in better shape.
 
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