What a wonderful day it was on Saturday (Dec. 9). I was lucky enough to ride in the Riddlebox Winter Ultra bike race. It was a great day for a ride in the wilds of the Big Sioux River Valley near Canton.

Here’s the trick with the Riddlebox – it’s a gravel road race.

The thing about gravel roads is that when they were built, back in the day, there was no grading to significantly alter the slope of any hills. Did I mention it was in the river valley? That means that the hills can be – let’s just say – steep.

Submitted photo

And it’s not just gravel but some sections of what are known as B roads, essentially just two-track trails through a field or what have you. Also, some concrete barriers at abandoned bridges. Add in some bacon and a tasty adult beverage at the turnaround and you’ve got yourself a challenging 25 miles.

It was a great time, not too serious in terms of racing if you aren’t into that, and plenty of challenge if you are. It helps when it’s a near perfect winter day, which it was.

Big shout out to Two Wheeler Dealer for organizing the race, to Calico Skies Winery for hosting the event and the Smart Cyclist for riding with me for the entire route. Full disclosure: He could have dropped me on the climbs at the end but he didn’t.

We tied for 12th.

The top three were Alonzo Christensen, Jackson Sunde and Eric Tudor. I know all those fellas so that was cool.

Did I mention it was hilly?

Submitted photo

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