Mn Rusty Ride Race Report 2012

This last weekend Scott Wilton and I did the Rusty Ride, a 26, 50, or 100 mile race in northern Minnesota. The course was about 7 miles pavement, 2 miles smooth snowmobile trail, 7 miles bumpy double-track, and the rest single track. 50 milers did 2 laps and the 100 milers did 4. I did the 26 miler on my 29 with 140’s while Scott rode his Schlumpf 26 with 137’s and a disc brake for the 50 miler.

We arrived Friday evening, helped out with registration for a few hours and then camped in the park where the race started and finished. The 100 mile race started at 7:30, and we both woke up just before that race started. Our race didn’t start until 10, so we had a bit of time to wake up, hydrate and get some food. I also added a stylish Cow Bell to the top of my camelbak, given me company and my own cheering section for the whole race.

The race started with a police escorted rollout through town out to the snowmobile trail. Given that my uni was not ideal for keeping up on the road I started in the very back, while Scott started mid-pack. By the time we hit dirt I was about 100 yards off the last biker, and they were dropping me quickly. At this point I decided to just finish and not walk any section of trail. I didn’t see anyone else in my race for a long time but I did get passed by a number of 100 milers that all gave me encouragement. I got passed by one woman just as we entered our first single-track and I managed to stay close to her until we hit road again. I didn’t see anyone else while on the road section but the cowbell on my back helped me keep the cadence up. I only started passing people on a section of two way trail where I passed Scott, we high-fived, and he gave me a complaint about the surface to come.

This section of trail, the double track, was much newer and less developed than most of the Cuyuna riding. It was basically a trail of mowed grass through a hilly field with the primary purpose of winter riding, making it very bumpy. The bikes didn’t seem to mind much, but it was MUCH slower for us. I hadn’t dismounted to this point, but through about 5 miles of the stuff I managed to fall on hidden holes about 10 times. One of the MTB Patrol folks rode with me a bit through this section, but soon decided the incessant ring of my bell was too much to handle.

At the 12.5 mile point there was a food/water station where a friend was volunteering. I was a little under 2 hours and feeling good, so I filled my water, ate and drank a little, and chatted for about a 5 minute stop before venturing forth in good spirits. Only a mile or so left of the annoying double-track and I was on the pavement back towards sweet, sweet single-track.

After hitting single-track again there was about 8 miles solid, sweet, up and down single-track. This was the Mahnoman unit of the Cuyuna trails and we rode most of it. 4 big climbs, 4 sweet descents, a few technical bits in between. I rode all the technical bits without incident. After the 2nd big dissent I started bonking faily badly and had to sit and eat before the third climb, and then again before the third descent. I had a lot of trouble with the last 2 climbs. Well, LOTS of trouble with the last climb. The climb is constant climb that varies in grade, going from easy to steep enough to get myself into a standing grind and back several times. I was worn out enough that I had to take a number of breaks on the hill, always starting a few feet downhill of where I had stopped but decided to walk about 30 feet of the steeper stuff at the top, but I was done climbing! Hurray!

After some sweet rolling downhill back to the road level all I had left was about 3 mile of road riding back into town and I was not in a big hurry through this section. As I hit the grass through the park to the finish and the actual final climb the cheering started and I pushed as hard as I could towards the finish, which was probably only 8 miles or hour or so. I finished in about 4 hours and 16 minutes making me the slowest 26 mile finisher at an average of 6 mph. But I was only 10 minutes behind someone ahead of me. I did manage to pull down 2nd place in the single-speed category, though.

After the race I stopped to have some potato chips, wash off, drink a lot of water, and wait for Scott to roll in. He finished in a respectable 5:20, averaging about 9.6 mph.

I have to think if I rode it again and the course was the same I would ride a 36 with 150’s and a brake and probably finish a little earlier, but walk a little more hill.

Hopefully Scott will pitch in with some more thoughts, and I’m hoping for a little better next year.

A few Pictures:
Feeling good about 5 miles in, through the first section of single-track -

Crossing the Finish line, not feeling very good:


Trail map. We started in Ironton, rode out to the Sagamore Unit and rode most of Sagamore, back to Mahnomen and most of that, and then back to town:

Great report, thanks for sharing!

Awesome effort guys

Congratulations to both of you.
Well done, and good write up.

Nice job! Thanks for the write-up.

Great effort!

Wish I could have joined you.

Try a 36er for sure, it’s all I ride these days unless it’s serious DH.

Any more pics?

Congrats! It’s great to see more unicyclists participating in organized cycling events, especially off-road events. Definitely will benefit from riding the biggest wheel you can get away with. Sure you might have to walk some of the steeper hills but you’ll be so much faster in between it won’t matter. Brakes will definitely help keep your legs a bit more fresh; especially in the later stages of a long race. Leg braking will really wear you out after a while. Just improving your general cardio fitness by running will also pay dividends as well.

Great job!

Great job Max and Scott!

We look forward to another great writeup after the race this weekend!

Thanks guys.

Nope, nothing past the album in the first post. Nothing of Scott, it seems. My camera’s been dead for a month so nothing from me.

Nice guys. Would love to join you next year if I’m around.