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KOM Teller-Ride Solo Series - Route 2

Mackinaw, Illinois , United States
May 10, 2020
22 mi




ft elev +


Mostly this "race" was a comedy of errors that turned out well in the end,... After a beautiful Saturday that went totally sideways in ways that kept me off my bike all day, I had crazy ambitions of racing both 1 & 2 Sunday morning, despite the deteriorating weather. As a pastor of a campus church @ iSU, and with an online service @ 10am, it meant getting up at 5am to even have a shot at getting in both routes. All things considered, I didn’t have expectations on being particularly speedy. It was my first time out on my gravel bike this year. I just pulled it off the trainer Saturday, tuned it up a bit, mounted new tubeless tires on rims that are well below the spec'd ideal width. (The tires performed amazingly though,... Continental Terra Trail on the front and Terra Speed on the rear, both 40mm.) When I arrived at the American Legion parking lot, I discovered a missing bolt on my rear brakes, my power meter was out of juice, and my rear radar wouldn’t pair for some reason. I’m not super familiar with the gravel roads & routes around Mackinaw, and I had lost time with my technical problems, so figured I’d just go out, see how the bike felt with only front brakes, and maybe do the circuit and learn more about the route it at least. I chose to head to Crazy Cook hill to test if my front brake could go it alone. It was a little scary looking over the edge of that beast with just one brake, but I made it down and decided I could ride safely enough, so kept moving along.  I’ve never done a live Strava segment, so was a bit shocked when my Wahoo Bolt said “GO”, I instinctively got out of my saddle and started to push, the bike felt ok, the lack of rear brakes wasn’t too scary, and I felt like I was floating over the gravel potholes like never before with the new tires & lower pressure. But, as I neared the first turn, I stopped dead, realizing I actually didn't know the route and hadn't synched it to my Bolt yet. But I was feeling good, so I turned around, got things set up, and hit it again from the base of Crazy Cook. Again, the Bolt said "Go" and I started hammering, not sure how long I'd keep it up. I switched to the maps page to make sure I stayed on course, and kinda forgot about the live segment. About 15 minutes later, the weather started getting nasty with a hard cold rain, so I checked the segment, and IF I was reading it right, it said I was ahead of the KOM pace! At that point, I decided to push as hard as I could  through the rain and wind. If nothing else I was gonna get a hard workout in and keep warm. A couple more times, I checked the live tracking and it seemed to still be saying I was ahead of pace, which kept me pushing. But, as I ran into more headwind, more asphalt, and more fatigue, I was sure I was loosing time, so I just kept the Bolt on maps and figured I'd be fine with even being within a few minutes of the KOM. I also didn't know where the end of the official segment was, so a couple minutes after I got onto Dee-Mac road, I checked the live segment again and was shocked that I held on for the KOM. In the end this felt much like a very-lonely (maybe a bit apocalyptic) race, including pre-race drama & anxiety, post race euphoria, and even the physiologically bizarre hand  jitters and shakes hours later in the day. And, in the true spirit of this "Ride Solo" competition, I fully expect to get passed and loose this KOM within the coming days, but I'm happy to inspire some of you to push it just a little-bit harder. So, bring it on, everyone!!!




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