Texas Gravel Grinder | El Camino 105
Route length: 108 (so we were told)
Location: Palestine, Tx
I’ll tell you what, sleep sure does matter when you’re about to hit a 100+miler. The couple of days leading up to this event was challenging in that I hadn’t much time to sleep.
Sleep and nutrition goes a long way. The morning of, it was breakfast burrito time. Delicious. But, that wasn’t satisfactory enough. There was the gut feeling of impending doom.
I took with me 4 water bottles, another breakfast burrito and several other snacks for along the way. Don’t forget the pickle juice, REAL pickle juice. This plays an interesting part later on…
There was a lot of hype at the start line, people were geeked up to get this ride underway. A few technical issues had the start pushed back a couple of minutes but quickly caught up. There were also several professionals that attended the race — only found out afterwards.
The first 20 miles were devoted to pavement, fast moving pavement and rolling hills. I personally need to do a better job reading route information before starting the race, mostly because I under prepared for the hills. I always have about half the elevation in mind for these events… which comes back to bite me.
Once pavement ended (very quickly) it was a couple of miles of sand. Thick. Fluffy. Sand. I spent most of that time, on/off the bike. Switching between move fast and granny gear to keep pumping through the fluff.
Latter Parts of the ride
All in all this ride whooped my ass. The humidity and heat slowly crept up on me and I fought the urge to throw up about a third of the way in.
The terrain was gorgeous. All types of gravel were encountered during this event. From small pebbles, to hard pack and yes, even sand. This event had it all combined. Living up to it’s name — The Texas Gravel Adventure.
I did get to meet some nice folks along the route. They were from Miami, FL. This was a strong community based event. We crossed paths around mi 50, so they had to trek some distance to even hear about the event. They passed along some water bottles, which was needed. Although, at this point, I knew I was done for the day.
One of the few things I struggle with is finding the right balance for nutrition along the way and stopping. I ate granola mix along the way, but it didn’t seem to help. I try to ration my water intake so it’s about 10mi/bottle. But, that’s always a flip of the coin depending on the conditions. This day ate me alive
Pickle juice when you’re dehydrated. It’s supposed to work wonders for the body. Unfortunately this time, it hit the back of my throat and up came the juice and whatever else was in my stomach.
Tapping out is a hard decision to make. For this ride, I was underprepared and under nourished along the ride, which ended up being a painful road to recovery over the next couple of days. I had a sag wagon called and was able to bow my head appropriately.
Just like game 6 for the Dallas Cowboys, you finish the game and go, well, there’s always next year. I had a great time on the event, despite the sour outcome.
I will for sure be attending the event next year.
What your legs look like, caked with dirt and what was once sweat.
What Moanna looked like post ride… sandy.
Bike: Surly Disc Trucker
Frame Bag: Revelate Designs Full Frame Bag
Helmet: Bontrager WaveCel
Kit: TwinSix Jersey, Pearl Izumi, Defeet Socks