This weekend marked my fourth trip to Dubuque, Iowa to take part in the Triple D Winter Race, a 100K snow race modeled after events like the Arrowhead 135 and Iditarod Trail Invitational. In addition to the bike event, Triple D also offers running and ski events, and it attracts an eclectic crowd of Ultra weirdos that gives the race a unique, fun vibe.
.The 100K course is made up of a mix of private snowmobile trail, alleged singletrack, and the Heritage Trail – a multi-use rail trail that comprises the bulk of the course. I love this course because although it never takes you that far from civilization, racers are still treated to views of wide open spaces and prime Driftless Region scenery. Finishing the race gives you a feeling of actually having gone somewhere and seen something — a nice alternative to the multitudes of short format fatbike races that are currently exploding in popularity.
This year made for a challenging event, thanks to a combination of fresh snowfall and tropical temperatures in the mid 30s. Long sections of the course were marginally rideable, and I did more pushing off the bike than in any other year I can remember. Fortunately, things never stayed unrideable long enough to be really soul crushing, and I slogged through the rough sections in relatively good spirits
I eventually finished in just over eight hours – the longest day I’ve had on a bike in a number of months. I was satisfied to have finished, and admittedly a little disappointed about not having been closer to the front. An 8 hour race in the middle of January is a great indicator of how much work is ahead of you to get ready for Spring!
As always, race director Lance Andre and his crew of volunteers did an excellent job of running the event, and the majority of riders who showed up seemed to finish with a smile on their face – an impressive feat given how tough things were this year.