Everything is setting up very well for the 6th annual Speedwagon Classic tomorrow. We have assembled an all-star team of volunteers for race support and food preparation for the big feast is well underway. The weather forecast says that we should see some sunshine streaming into the valley of trials and tribulations, with temps rising into the low 60's. A few light showers yesterday and today will only serve to firm up the soft spots.
I rode the first half of the course Tuesday on a road bike with 700x27 tires and all the dirt segments were dry, firm, and manageable. This year, the surfaces seem to be mostly smooth, but sporadically covered with a thin layer of small, loose gravel that should an appropriate level of discomfort in all the right places. The first segment on Light Road was fast and smooth in the center, but a little loose on the edges. Seifert Saddle is perfectly smooth, but the Apple Road climb has enough loose gravel to make it especially arduous. The southern most River Breaks segment is mostly fast, with a few short, tough gravel stretches. The descent down to Buffalo Bridge is fairly loose and probably the only place where knobby tires would significantly decrease the pucker factor.
As for the final 20 continuous dirt miles on the west side of the river. I haven't seen it in a couple weeks, but trust that it is still mostly smooth and firm with a few choice gravel sections (ranging from 50m to 1 mile at one point). Both of the big climbs (the Dentist (very top) and the REO (very bottom)) have one very short portion on which gravel got dumped, almost like we planned it that way to increase mental anguish. All in all, it should ride a lot like it has the past couple years, but with none of the clingy mud issues from 2012.