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Cow Pie Classic

by Michael Green • July 25, 2022

Cow Pie Classic #1

My second race of the ’22 season was the Cow Pie Classic, a gravel race creatively named after the cow pastures and resultant land mines one must dodge. This was really a “C” race for me, and opportunity to try out some new approaches for upcoming races. Mostly, I wanted to mount an extra bottle cage to the seatpost, carry three bottles for a three hour race rather than use a hydration pack.

I’d entered the singlespeed division on my All City Nature Cross for this gravel race, selected some fast rolling 42mm tires and knew I’d most likely spin out with my gearing but needed to keep up with the front of the race for as long as I could - the others in my division would be suffering equally and this most likely would be the difference on the day. It was mellow at the roll out, onto the gravel and the fireworks began.

The rolling terrain was okay for my gearing but it was the flat sections that caused the struggles for me, my legs only go around so fast!! I had to select a gear that was powerful enough for the gravel yet towards the end of the 100k event, we entered two farms rolling through up and down two track as well as bouncing through bumpy cow pastures. I was spat out the back of the peloton at mile nine.

The pace up front had become frantic and people were blowing up or loosing touch all around. Eventually a group of five of us formed, soon to expand to eleven, but all the work was being done by a few. I was getting annoyed at the drafters in the group who were just sitting in and no matter how much I tried to encourage them, it was really only three of us doing the work, including me with one gear!

Cow Pie Classic #2

One of my working peers blew up with cramps leaving two of us prepared to work. I wanted to be first into the first farm in a couple of miles and so on a sustained climb, and knowing the rest would just look around and not be prepared to pull, I told my other worker pal it was time to “GO”. I lifted the pace, we created a separation, he cramped and I was on my own. The gap grew to the top of the hill and I entered time trial mode. They were a hundred yards back and I couldn’t imagine they had any organization. I kept my head down, entered the farm, used my cyclocross skills on two track trails and across the pasture - I never saw them again.

Exiting the farm I could see another group of five ahead. I bridged up to them and a friend was contained within. I told him I’d work for him and help if I could. This group was much like the one prior, no organization and no leadership. The next farm was coming up and we needed to enter the farm first, push the pace hard and see if we could come out alone - the finish line would be only two miles up the road. I went first and we did, we got a gap but it wasn't enough, the others bridged shortly after. When they made contact, I went alone expecting someone to follow leaving Chris to follow wheels, but I was alone pushing a pace that I couldn’t sustain. They caught me in the last mile. I was cooked but I found a bit extra at the end to come fourth at the line for our group.

I won the singlespeed division, the three bottles worked perfectly and didn’t eject any bottle on the bumpy gravel roads. Up next I’ll be fighting the sand dunes and bears at Coast 2 Coast with 100 miles in the Huron-Manitee National Forest.

CBCC 50k Expert
Gnar Weasels