Ulog No. 13 "Powderhorn 24 Hour Bicycle Event: Part One"steemCreated with Sketch.

in cyclefeed •  9 months ago

Wow! I'm recovering from an epic bicycling experience: "Powderhorn 24"


About the Event

For twenty-four hours, from 7pm Friday to 7pm Saturday, cyclists ride a route along the Greenway Bicycle Path and through the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Riders can register individually or in teams of 2-6. Categories include Mixed Gender Team, Women's Team, Men's Team, Tandem, Solo Woman, Solo Man, and Solo Non-Binary. The spirit of the event is to ride, not race. People participate with varying levels of competitiveness, from very casual to achieving personal goals to winning their category. We rode as a mixed gender team of six. As I was our only female, the team was named after me: R---- and the Rowdy Rascals.

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Source: http://powderhorn24.com/

Community Building

The event is organized 100% by volunteers and a portion of each registration goes to a local non-profit organization. Community support along the route includes yard signs, cheering, cold beverages, snacks, and glorious sprays of cool water from hoses and sprinklers during the hottest part of the day. People in the neighborhood enjoy hanging out in their yards and the children flock to shout, clap, and hold out their hands for a high-five. It's a wonderful feeling to think I may inspire a young cyclist.

Yard sign.

Don't be a Jerk

The most important rule is: "Don't be a Jerk." It seems simple enough to follow, yet I did witness someone being called out for a dunce lap. This consequence involves having your lap card pulled so that you don't get credit for your next lap AND that lap has to be completed with an organizer as your escort. The organizer sets the pace and it is not fast...

Lap card side one.
Lap card side two.

Round and Round

Each rider wears a lanyard with a laminated lap card. Once filled, we turn it in for another and our points are tracked by volunteers. As you can see in the above photo, each of the ten laps has squares for four hole-punches. One lap is approximately five miles and we are required to stop at each of four checkpoints, in order. Riders will not receive a punch if the previous checkpoint has not been punched. The course is not blocked off to traffic. Drivers continue to use the streets and we encounter stop signs, traffic lights, and the usual obstacle course of vehicles, pedestrians, and potholes.

Red light ahead.

Setting up Camp

The Greenway Bicycle Path corridor turns into a campground as participants set up tents, shade structures, hammocks, and chairs for our 24 hour adventure. The day of the ride, I was the first on my team with availability to stake out our claim. The most ideal spots are underneath overpasses because they provide the most shade from the beating summer sun. I passed on this one because of its proximity to the portable bathrooms... No thanks.
Porta potties

Saving Space

This one seemed ideal because it was the closest to checkpoint four (the finish line) without porta potties. Another reason I was happy to find space here: The wooden staircase (left portion of photo) provides access to the surface streets above for easy access to load/unload gear, for team members who drove from out of town or hauled a gigantic cooler. Some of the bridges don't have ramps or stairs that access the roads. Initially I passed this one by because someone was already setting up a tent. After determining it was the best choice, I took a chance and spoke with her about sharing the space between our two teams. We agreed and I spread out two tablecloths to save space until a team mate could bring over his tent. One of the best aspects about this event is socializing with cyclists and making new connections.
A place in the shade.

Our Base Camp

One of our team members has a huge tent that provided shade and a place to change clothes or rest between our turns riding. Another teammate competes in athletic events regularly as a runner, cyclists, swimmer, and overall badass. He has learned through experience that you'll want a place to hang your sweat-drenched clothes when you peel them off and get ready for your next turn. His drying rack was much appreciated! Also notice the hammocks. This was my first experience urban 'mocking from bridge pillars. I spent a LOT of time in my hammock. In fact, when I wasn't riding I was usually eating, hydrating, or relaxing in my mobile bed.

Base camp.

Coolest Campground in Town

Riding and walking along the "campground" was fun as I found familiar faces and met new people in the cycling community. Not surprisingly, I started to recognize the riders who would later be in the top three for their category. They rode insane numbers of miles, passing by after each lap.

Urban camping.

Ready, Set, Ride!

Each rider attaches a number to our bicycle that is recorded at checkpoint four when we complete a lap. The points are credited to the individual or team and the cyclist starts another lap or hands off the lap card to a teammate. Participants on teams of six are each assigned a one-hour volunteer shift to keep the event going. I spent my hour typing in the rider numbers of cyclists as they got their lap cards punched at the last checkpoint. The time went by quickly and I enjoyed having a role other than riding. It gave me a chance to talk with coordinators and cheer on the cyclists cranking through.

Bloody Beginning

To start the event every participant is encouraged to do a "slow roll" through the course to familiarize ourselves with the route and ignite community spirit. Once the event starts, there are fewer people riding at any given time because only one person per team typically rides each lap. There are times when teammates ride together and socialize, but this pre-lap is the most crowded because everyone is together. My intention was to not clip-in because I know from experience that sometimes in large groups I get distracted and fail to unclip when I stop. Despite my intention, my feet clipped in, out of habit, and outside of my conscious awareness. At the bottom of a hill we were stopping for a red light. I usually only unclip one foot when I stop, so that I can take off more quickly. Unfortunately, I started leaning the opposite direction and didn't get that foot unlocked in time. Bam! My knee slammed into the pavement. That's never fun, especially with a very large audience. I kept on rolling when the light turned green. If someone had to "take one for the team" it was fitting that it was me, considering women typically have a higher tolerance for physical pain. As the solo woman on my team, it had to be me... I'd been looking forward to kicking off the event by riding our first official team lap. We'd decided on an order and I was excited to be first. Change of plans... The guys talked me into heading to the first aid station so someone else rode the first round. It turned out that the first aid was DIY. A volunteer handed me water, saline spray, and a box of band-aids, saying, "My hands are really dirty. Go clean yourself up in the grass."


Finally Riding

I was bandaged in time for my teammate to hand off the card after he completed one lap. For my turn, I rode two hours solo. Thankfully, the temperature went down as the sun set. It felt amazing to finally get rolling and feel the team spirit! Each time I passed our base camp teammates and friends cheered. I was not shy about ringing my bike bell and shouting out our team name :)

To be continued...

As this is getting long and I have much more to share, I'll be posting several blogs about this awesome experience... Look for "Powderhorn 24 Hour Bicycle Event: Part Two" as soon as I can type it.

Until my next ulog... ride on, steem on, and blog about it :)


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While working on the Cycling merit badge for Boy Scouts, we had to complete a 50 mile bike ride in under 8 hours. We biked around the Baker Park trail, completing the run in a little over 6 hours.

It hurt to pee for three days after that.


Yikes (that last part). The bike saddle (seat) and your clothing (especially undergarments) really make a difference. I've learned the hard way... I'm happy to hear the scouts have a cycling badge. Recently I learned that my niece's friend is about to be one of few boy scouts to complete every badge currently possible. He's around 14 years old. I'll have to ask him about the bike ride badge. Good to hear from you!

This sounds both awesome and exhausting. But I think I'd want to try it sometime.

I think I fell off my bike 4 times in the first two weeks that I switched to "clipless" pedals. I eventually learned to unclip both when stopping but then reclipping into it with one foot once I was stopped. Also, I've noticed that although it's not really possible to twist out once you start to lose your balance, I've been able to save myself by just pulling up off the pedal real hard. Getting unclipped in this single motion has allowed me to get my leg down in time.

Most embarrassing was when I switched to regular shoes and forgot I was not clipped in, sending me forward off my seat and falling to the ground when I pedaled too hard, expecting my sneakers to be locked into the pedals.


People fly/travel to join teams with their Minneapolis friends. You would definitely be welcome! I like the idea of forming a team of 4-6 Steemians who are cyclists. What if we ordered Cycle Feed Team jerseys?!?! A year is a long time to wait... I'll set an intention to contact you when the event date is set next year and see if you are interested. With the number of friends who participate annually and those who want to try the event for the first time next year, there will be several teams of riders to hang out with.

I wish I could practice saving myself without risking falling. My knees have taken a lot of hits and I don't want to end up with a lingering issue. I really appreciate the mention of unclipping both every time you come to a complete stop, and then reclipping one. That is a smart habit I'm going to try!


I have a friend moving to Rochester soon, so I could definitely make some kind of big Minnesota trip next year.

I have a knack for landing without usually injuring myself. I managed to land on my feet when I got hit by a car last year but still had injuries from the initial impact.


Cool. I strongly recommend a Minnesota trip! The lakes and trees are gorgeous, and the cycling opportunities are award winning. Several of my cousins live in Rochester. A trip to Minneapolis is only a little over an hour.


I would also love to visit the Apostle Islands and Isle Royale.


Yes! The Apostle Islands and Isle Royale are calling to me, too. Last fall I visited the islands for the first time during an amazing sailing trip. I haven't been to Isle Royale yet. Friends have raved about it. You are welcome to stay with my S.O. and I if you want to crash in the city sometime (Minneapolis). He gave the idea a green light :) We're only a couple blocks from the river and two main bike path connections. Possibilities!