A few friends and I meet up at the starting line for what I believe is the first Oopita.
For November we are all happy it's dry and sunny but a little cold to stand around for an hour as everyone signs in and otherwise messes about wasting time till the start.
After some navigation challenges we eventually muster up at the end of the River Bottoms Trail.
The 'second' half of the race is when things really go pear shaped. The route notes or cue sheets are too hard to translate to the real world. Things like "turn left onto trail" is all you'd get and we simply didn't see any 'trails' that made sense or route us back the way we'd come.
Above: We are totally lost and many miles from anything we know. We are picking up other lost riders because we think there is strength in numbers but in reality, misery loves company and there is a lot of misery on everyone's plate with 35 miles left to go. Hills and head winds almost break me. We are all hurting.
Blake turns the pain off and drops from the race about this time. He still has to find his way home which has to be at least 20 miles so it's hardly quitting. The rest of us power on and it's not long before the pack breaks in two with the stronger riders pulling out a significant lead and dropping me and 2 others. I still need to ride home as well and the race ends in downtown Minneapolis. Even if I was to push past the pain and finish I still need to ride 25 miles home at night and I don't have my lights with me.
We stop at a local cafe for a much needed snack and I make the decision to drop and head home. It's 14 miles to the finish but it's too late and it would just make a mess so I fire down a sandwich and head east as fast as I can to jump on the Light Rail before the last of the daylight is gone. I call my wife for a pick up because I can't get from the train station to home without riding on really busy roads and I'm not at all ready to die after such a good day.
I learn from the 2 buddies I left at the snack shack that had I finished I would have been 9th overall. That may have been just enough reward to push on but alas I get an DNF for my efforts.