Yesterday a couple Cyclova people headed over to Bloomer to do the Strada Fango ride. Let me tell you, this is a ride designed to leave very few survivors. We had a great day and it was a heck of a fun time, but my overwhelming impression of this event was that it is TOUGH!
From the beginning I wasn't intending to do the whole thing. I spent Friday and Saturday getting my old, rusty, Trek 7000 into working condition. The darn thing was so corroded the wheels didn't spin straight. But hey, it was a good vehicle for suffering.
The Strada starts out on some pretty fun gravel roads and then turns off onto some ATV trails. I believe the trails aren't officially open until May 1st, so the idea of the Strada is to get out there and ride them before they're impassable due to ATV traffic.
It's a shame those trails aren't designated as Mt. Bike only because man...they are FUN! Actually you get these super steep downhills that end in a sand pit (thus killing all your momentum), followed by an extremely steep uphill. Emalea kept hitting rocks and missing her shift so that she'd go into that horrible "slow fall" and crash on her shoulder. I saw her do this twice before I completely lost sight of her and entered my own little "slow turning" world.
I kind of wish I'd started mountain biking back when I was 15 or so, because I find I'm a little tentative on the hills. I just can't allow myself to let 'er rip and tend to ride the breaks the whole way. However, this might not be due to a lack of experience, but instead be due to simply getting old (I find I snowplow more on skis these days too).
I looped back at the top of the course and made my way in on blacktop. I cleared something over 40 miles at the end of the day, and that was enough for me. Emalea, Jeff, and Mitch pounded their way through the official course like true champions. I didn't hear what happened to Lindsley, but he started the day wearing a Smartwool thermal shirt, which must have been waaaaaay too warm (always go with Cyclova gear Allan)!
Anyway, for those of you who were on the fence about this ride, I'd suggest you definitely put in on your schedule for next year. It was Fun (epic is too small a word). If the idea of riding 60 miles scares you, just do what I did and plan on cutting her off halfway through and winding your way back on blacktop (it's better to be out there and ride short than to not ride at all).
Oh, and we really recommend a Mt. Bike for this one, although we saw a few people riding it on Cyclocross bikes who seemed to be doing find. The ones we didn't understand were the three people we saw on regular carbon road bikes with 700 X 23 tires! I didn't get a chance to see how they navigated the four inch deep sand that sent my Mt. Bike skidding sideways...but I wish I had!
Strada Fango..you are the man!