2009 Oktoberfest Classic 100 Report
It was a small, but smiling group that set out this past Sunday morning from the Holmen Square shopping center. Even with the early hour (8a.m. is way too early for me) and the blustery weather, a group of about 15-20 riders took on the challenge of the Oktoberfest Classic 100. It was great to see many familiar faces from other rides, plus a few charter members of Driftless.
Since this was an unsupported/unsponsored event exact numbers are impossible to come by, but it appears that about seven of us chose to do the 100 mile route while most of the others turned off onto the 100k route. Not that I can blame them, by the time the group reached the turnoff we were damp, cold and the winds were starting to pick up.
The course was well laid out and reasonably challenging, although I must admit my group’s navigator missed a turn and we had to find our way back to the route (never trust a Virginian with a map in Wisconsin!). There was a nice mix of rollers of varying sizes and several mid-sized climbs to keep things challenging. The route is basically the same as it was in the past, before the ride stopped, except for the starting location, which moved from Onalaska to Holmen this year. If you have done the June Dairy Days ride you will recognize many of the roads on this course.
For my small group of three riders the weather proved to be the greatest challenge. The starting temperature was around 48° and according to the Weather Underground it never got above 53°. At the start of the ride, winds were mild and hovering between 6-8 miles per hour from the NW. Just a couple of hours later it was up to a steady 10 and gusting up to 17 mph. Rain was sporadic and never enough to soak us through, but the road spray kept our feet wet and therefore cold.
It was a hard ride, but I very much enjoyed it and look forward to doing again next year. The scenic beauty of the Wisconsin country side cannot be overstated. The quality and variability of the riding in the Driftless region is so undeniably great, that it continually astonishes me.
This ride pretty much marks the end of the event season for cyclists in our region. So if you are looking for a great finish to your cycling season, put the Oktoberfest Classic 100 on your calendar for next year, it will be on mine.
I hope to see you there.