2018 was the fifth year the Pony Express Gravel Dash was held in Marysville. Happily, this year I finished our community’s 120-mile bicycle race for a second time in three attempts. For multiple reasons, my local gravel ride has proven the most difficult to complete. One year there was an antique car event in Minnesota that pulled me away, another year it was a funeral. Last year my ride was filled with unbearable suffering thanks to heat, flats and poor preparation. If there is anything I learned from 2017’s dozens of rides, it was that smart pacing and an upbeat attitude will take one far.
I entered the Gravel Dash this year determined to have a good ride, not worrying about the racing aspect. I found success, as I often do, where I least expected it. I did not have to consciously stop worrying about whether I was eating or drinking enough, nor did I have to intentionally correct my pacing to the younger, harder-core cyclists. My attitude correction came courtesy of one athletic Paterdale puppy.