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2014 Almanzo Pre-Ride Checklist

A great shot of the endless rolling hills at the 2013 Almanzo 100! Photo Credit to Craig Linder.

The 2014 Almanzo will one for the record books, 48 hours from now!  This is the event that started it all - the free event movement, the gravel movement.  Be a part of it in any way you can!

I expect 20-30 Cyclova XC riders will be braving the 100 mile course this year, and I'm proud to be one of the team!  I can't wait to enjoy the day with 2000+ of my closest gravel loving friends!

For many, this will be their first Almanzo, and perhaps their first organized gravel ride, so with that said, I thought I'd share a few things I'm checking off on my own pre-Almanzo checklist...
  1. Print out your waiver, and fill it out in advance.  This is a free event - don't rely on the very hard working volunteers time and money to print your stuff.  Download the waiver HERE, and come prepared!
  2. Print out your Que Sheets, and better yet laminate them - in case they get wet!  These are not provided, as this is a free event.  See notes about this being a free event in point #1.  HERE is the link to que sheets.  Also, have a plan as to how you're going to carry these (pocket, or clip onto your handlebars next to your computer, etc).
  3. Have a navigation system planned out, and know how to use it!  The course is not marked.  Use the que sheets you printed out & laminated (see point 2) and a cycling computer, or a GPS device with battery life sufficient to last you the entire event (HERE is a link to the Map My Ride GPX file, also the best way to check out the topography in advance).
  4. Water & Food:  This is an unsupported event - really!  So, bring with what you need for nutrition.  This means a whole lot of water & food - bring way more than you expect you'll need.  I accomplish this by having a Revelate Tangle Bag on my bike - all sizes are in stock at Cyclova XC.  There are one or two towns along the way where you have minimal opportunity to top off your water, but don't count on that.  Bring with your normal sports nutrition type food (bars, gels, chews), but also be sure to bring real / substantial food.  My secret rocket fuel is Salted Nut Rolls (not a secret after the Mammoth Gravel Classic Nut Roll & Bacon stop), and Chef Boyardee Ravioli (yup, right out of the can - now available with a pull top, no can opener required).  I of course bring with a titanium spork to enjoy my Ravioli with!  
  5. Tools, spare parts, etc:  Again, this is an unsupported event, with no tech support.  You are responsible for you!  Bring with multiple tubes, patch kits, tire repair goodies, multi-tool, etc, etc...  
  6. Wear some good cycling shorts, and bring with a chamois cream to use - such as Chamois Buttr or DZ's Nuts.  You won't regret it.
  7. Remember, this is a long day in the saddle.  No one will remember your being a hero in the first few miles.  Keep in steady, and keep a bit in the tank for the big hills later in the race!
  8. Embrace adventure, natural beauty, and all of the thousands of amazing people celebrating the bicycle, the road less traveled, and health along with you!

For more thoughts on gravel riding gear, see THIS POST on preparation for the 3 day gravel stage event known as the Gravel Conspiracy.

For more on Almanzo, check out the Almanzo Website, or the event Facebook Page.

See you in Spring Valley!

Update from Ben:
Here's a map I just did, it's pretty low-tech, but I prefer to see the whole picture at once.

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