The Land Run 100 äventyr: A Soigneur's Note
Maybe you have been following along with äventyr over the last year and thought you had us categorized as a certain type of bicycle bag company? Maybe you are now wondering why we are spending so many posts on a gravel race? Maybe you thought äventyr was the brand for you until we started talking so much about gravel? Well then, this post is for you. Conversely, if you are only here for our gravel posts, we hope you will stick around and stay on the äventyr with us (For anyone new here, if you haven't read this post, maybe go back and check it out).
(Pictured above: Kurt and I Getting Social in the City).
The truth is, I find it a bit ironic that we just spent the last few weeks talking about a gravel event. After all, we started äventyr because all I could find when I was looking for a bicycle bag were bike packing and/or gravel riding bags ~ bags that were definitely not 'me', and definitely not meeting my need of riding around the city.
(Pictured above: My first gravel ride outside of Hayward, WI September 2018).
But alas, I instantly fell in love with gravel riding on my first time out last year, I am married to a man who loves to participate in gravel events, I am looking forward to lots of gravel riding this summer, and I truly enjoy being around other cyclists at events even though I am not riding.
All I can say to explain is ~ äventyr is for the Urban Adventurer ~be that in the city, or far, far out of the city. Just be you.
So let's talk about my experience from the other side of the 'groad' at Land Run 100 2019...
My experience at Land Run 100 was not as a racer, not as a gravel event die hard, not someone who likes to ride 100 miles. My experience at Land Run 100 was as an avid cyclist, a cycling enthusiast, a gravel appreciator, and most importantly ~ as a 'soigneur', which is a french word that in the world of cycling essentially means someone who helps feed, cloth, and generally take care of a rider at a race/event. I thought it would be fun to talk about what my life as a soigneur is typically like, and the benefits of being part of an event ~ even if it is from the sidelines.
(Pictured above: Hanging out at District Bicycles before the Rider Meeting the day before Land Run 100 2019. You will always see me with dogs by my side, and an äventyr bag over my shoulder.)
BASKING (in Sunrises and Positive Energy)
(Pictured above: Land Run 100 2019 Sunrise at start time, downtown Stillwater, OK).
Race starts are often quite cold (29F at Land Run 100 2019!), and although a bit warmer would be nice ~ those cold starts always seem to bring out the best in people. Kurt and I both have worked towards this moment for a long time, and I am just as excited as he is; I love this part of race/event days. One of my favorite parts of these days is soaking up the energy and enthusiasm in the air as cyclists and their soigneur's are prepping bikes, talking game plans, and saying words of encouragement. People say the funniest things (watch our Land Run 100 video and you will hear the guy saying "this is going to be epic!"), they say the nicest things, they talk to and compliment our dogs, and generally they are pumped up and ready to roll. This energy is contagious, and I know from riding a bicycle - it is one of the best things you can get from riding a bike. And this energy, THIS ENERGY at Land Run 100 was there not just at the start, but all weekend - we had never experienced anything like it and can't stop talking about it - it was magical and special and unforgettable.
And after the cyclists leave, there is kind of a carnival camp atmosphere with all of us who stayed behind as we pack up and get ready for our next support duties, but first...we spend some quality time with ourselves, our kids, our dogs, our friends.
P.S. Sunrise is one of my favorite times of day, and I also love seeing the sunrise around the cyclists as we are all prepping for the day. How lucky we are to wake up every day and see the sun and do the things we love.
QUALITY TIME (i.e. Waiting)
(Pictured above top: Hanging at the mobile äventyr HQ ~ The Silverhytten between the Land Run 100 start and heading to Perkins to meet Kurt at the halfway pitstop. Above Bottom: Waiting around with my trusted teammates in Perkins across from the volunteer bag stop).
As a Soigneur I do a lot of waiting, but it is quality time I would not otherwise have had. I frequently take the dogs to a new hiking spot, try a new restaurant, take time to reflect in my journal, and often hang out at event spots talking to other soigneurs and event volunteers, who are always THE NICEST. (If you volunteered at Land Run 100, I saw you and I was SO impressed by you - you were THE NICEST at the Perkins pitstop as I stood across from you and saw how helpful and kind you were to the riders. You were blowing me away; another thing that contributes to Land Run being such a special event).
Being a soigneur at Land Run was not a new experience or term for me, I have been Kurt's soigneur and hanging out with my dogs my entire adult life at countless cycling events, and I absolutely love it.
(Pictured above left: March 2005 with our beloved Dunker (RIP), supporting Kurt at a race as a member or the Roaring Mouse team when we lived in San Francisco. Above Right: Waiting with Inge and Loki (RIP) for Kurt at the finish of Heck of the North 2017).
(Pictured above top: Me taking a shot of Kurt leaving us after the Land Run 100 2019 halfway pitstop in Perkins, OK. I LOVE how great a rickety old building can look as a backdrop, the strength of the sun in this moment, and the determined action I captured. Pictured above bottom: I love when moments like this happen - Puppy Management sticking his foot in the action as always. Plus, THAT RED ON THOSE SHOES!!!).
Lucky for me, I enjoy setting up the composition in a photograph, and I love to write - and I can put both of those things to use here on the äventyr blog! It's not easy to take good pictures with a dog leash in each hand, especially a puppy (Solrig was 5 months at Land Run 100 2019). I am glad I can capture the moments and save the memories to share and inspire.
HANDCRAFT (making for them, but also for you)
(Pictured above top: I made all Kurt's bike bags and food for Land Run 100 2019! (The (Oklahoma) Crop Top and The Seat Rollio were custom made per Kurt's request) Pictured above bottom: Me working in the äventyr studio this winter).
Maybe like me you are happy cheering on from the side lines and supporting your partner to have the best day they can have? Maybe you take satisfaction in what you can contribute to an event in your own way? Maybe you like to find reasons to push yourself and grow? Land Run 100 is a good one for that! In my case I pushed myself to design and make new äventyr bags , and cook up a storm in the kitchen making healthy race foods while listening to podcasts to help my business (always, always working on äventyr).
Not only have I been working on äventyr as an entrepreneur, but over the winter I have put myself in intensive training to begin to master the craft of designing and making bags. And over the last two years I have worked hard at improving our daily diets to include healthier cyclist-friendly foods that are good for our body, and keep us filled up for rides. A significant part of our diet is now formed from recipes from Cookie and Kate, her recipes are spot on and life changing; we can not recommend her enough. The food pictured above is most of what I made for Land Run 100 and is a common rotation for us before we ride: C&K Oatmeal, Almond Coconut Bars, Zucchini Muffins, Pumpkin Cookies.
(Pictured above top: Team äventyr back together after Kurt's finish. Pictured above bottom: Me with my best mates Solrig and Inge on our OK birthday hike).
I used to celebrate a lot of my birthday's alone, traveling for work, when I was younger. It quickly took away the glamour and excitement of work travel and made me realize how much I was missing my life, and my family. Now work includes my life and my family! I was SO lucky to celebrate my 48th birthday the day after Land Run 100. I have to admit before we left for Land Run I was not too excited to celebrate my birthday in Oklahoma, but when I was there I knew it was the absolute perfect celebration for me. Celebrating everything I did to get to this moment, celebrating a special few days at Land Run 100, and celebrating with my family.
This is how I spent the morning of my birthday, walking the trails near Lake McMurtry, OK with my family. And in the afternoon, as I sat in the much needed warmth and sunshine at the campground picnic table, I wrote this:
"My 48th Birthday. Spending it with my loved ones, in the sun, hearing birds, being in nature, hiking... after an event like this, I can't help but feel a little melancholy. A little lost. I think we looked forward to coming here even more than we knew we were... it has been amazing. What I do know is that I enjoy being part of the cycling community. I love being around people who push themselves, set goals for themselves, believe in taking care of their body, understand the mental benefits of being on a bike, and people who want to lift each other up and support each other. I can't imagine ever doing a 100 mile gravel race, but I can't imagine not being a part of a community who supports people who do."
(Pictured above top and bottom: Celebrating my 48th birthday back in Minneapolis with more things I love (Japanese food, Winsome Goods top, Loop Jewelry Necklace, [not pictured: äventyr The Social on the back of my chair], and of course Kurt!) in places I love, being 100% me).
(Pictured above: Me with Inge and Solrig at the Land Run 100 2019 rider meeting)
I had no idea what was in store for me when we headed down to Oklahoma for Land Run 100. NO IDEA! But wow, am I glad I was there. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I am not sure Kurt or I could fully explain how special being at Land Run 100 was, or why. But it was one for the books and honestly, a bit of a life changer. I hope this post helps you understand that it is OK to be the cyclist you want to be, and to be OK with the fact that sometimes maybe like me, you are okay with not riding your bike - but know that it doesn't make you any less of a cyclist.
At the end of the day, or as it were here ~ at the end of Land Run 100... It is not about gravel biking versus city riding, or one kind of cyclist versus another kind of a cyclist, or who supports who in a relationship more and when; it is about community. It is about all the amazing people who came together at Land Run 100 to make it an event like nothing we have ever been to. And it is about amazing people like you who want to be part of a community, something bigger than themselves ~ who want to be on the äventyr.
Thank you for being here, thank you for reading, thank you for being you! Kurt and I hope to see you out on the road/groad, or at an event soon. Better yet, we'd love to see you with one of our limited production Minneapolis made bags! We make our bags because of all of this, and because we want to see you out there on YOUR äventyr.
As for me? Maybe, just maybe, Land Run 50 at 50? Never say never... ~DeAnn