2016 Almanzo Stories

The 2016 Almanzo Gravel Races took place May 13-14 in the small town of Spring Valley, Minnesota.  What was started by Chris Skogen with a small group of friends back in 2007 has grown over the years into something truly special.  The gravel community has embraced the Almanzo 100 as the "Granddaddy" of gravel races.  Spring Valley Tourism with the assistance of Penn Cycle & Fitness made sure that one of the largest free gravel races in the country continued with the traditions that founder Chris Skogen set forth for this yearly event.

Once again, the 2016 Almanzo 100, Royal 162 and Alexander 380 did not fail to challenge racers.  Those racing the Alexander 380 faced strong winds, rain, sleet, muddy conditions and very cold temperatures while Royal 162 and Almanzo 100 racers experienced wind gusts up to 35 mph and a 34 degree temperature at race start.  I have compiled a list of racer accounts from blogs as well as links to photo galleries, some videos and local press.

Almanzo 100

Race Report: 2016 Almanzo 100 by 5th Place Finisher, Eric Thompson
Gravel Cyclist

This was my 4th year racing the Almanzo 100 and its become a yearly tradition for myself, my family and a few friends. It all started with my dad seeking out the newly created gravel scene in Minnesota, and with his excitement, momentum started between myself and several friends, also drawn to the event.  Read the full story

Race Report: 2016 Almanzo 100 – by Top 10 Finisher – Charlie Schad
Gravel Cyclist

The 2016 edition was my fourth year of participating in the Almanzo 100 event and I was pretty excited about going. Unfortunately I had to miss last year’s race, but was hoping to make amends with a good result; a decent block of training was bound to help. I examined the rider list and a few doubts began to creep in, namely due to the strong list of folks scheduled to take the line.  Read the full story

Almanzo 100: Wind and Gravel and Wind

Standing in line for a porta-potty, I was shivering uncontrollably. It was 37°F and extremely windy. The weather forecast for Spring Valley, MN slowly changed over the preceding days – wind increased up to 30mph gusts and temperature slowly dropped. Ted and I didn’t pack well for a cold, windy day. He forgot his knee warmers and ended up cutting arm warmers to fit over his legs. I just had thin knee warmers.  Read the full story

Hoven returns to biking during recovery
Rubicon Online

Widely known for his passion for biking, Upper School English teacher Matthew Hoven has picked himself up and dusted himself off after a fall in September and a severe concussion earlier this year. He recently participated in the 100-mile Almanzo 100 Gravel Bicycle race in Spring Valley, Minnesota, for the third time.   Read the full story

A Tough 2016 Almanzo 100
MN Bike Trail Navigator

2016 was my third year doing the Almanzo 100, on my third bike. I had finished it on my 29'er in 2014 and my cross bike in 2015, this year I would do it on my carbon Farley 9.6 with a 27.5+ wheelset. While I struggled last year on some of the big hills with my bike's gearing, this year I thought shouldn't be a problem with my Farley's 1x11 drivetrain. I was feeling good about the race even though I hadn't trained as much as I would've liked to. It would be a fun, but challenging day of riding with a lot of old friends and some new ones.   Read the full story

Almanzo 100
Mary Grove and John Ingham

Image Credit: Mary Grove and John Ingham
I had the pleasure of riding with Suzanne for much of the ride to Forestville. Suzanne called it quits at Forestville. The click in her bottom bracket was getting loud, and anyway she had been up at the crack of dawn to toss in an extra 40 miles BEFORE the start of the race in Spring Valley! That's grit for you, and you should have seen her bombing the downhills. Would that I had her skill and courage. But then again, maybe not. When you get to be an old codger you should probably be careful what you wish for. Suzanne's husband Jeff was serving up hot dogs at Forestville for any and all, on such a cold, windy day a nice precursor to the hot bacon at Cherry Grove.

Royal 162

Royal 162 2016 - A Woolly "Race" Report
Woolly Bike Club

My attempt at the Royal started last year when Herr Woolly Starr rode Almanzo for the first time. She rode it on her mountain bike as her first century of any kind, let alone on gravel. At the end of it she said she was coming back next year, but if she was going to be on her bike for 11 hours, I had to be as well and I therefore had to do the Royal.  Read the full story

The Royal 162
Cup O' Dirt Challenge

After completing the Burleigh County Cup with no knee or bike issues, I was ready for the Royal 162. I headed down that Friday, took care of registration and found the city campground two miles out of town. I set up my tent and ate at the Dairy Queen in town. Two days prior, out of nowhere my knee was a bit sore. It was enough to make me cautious, because I knew the hills and distance would be a workout for it. I thought “I’ll just see what happens”. Hope for the best!!  Read the full story

Alexander 380

380 miles of gravel mixed with rain, wind and cold-Survival, not speed, key in 2016 Alexander 380 bike race
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

The Alexander 380 held the weekend of May 14 is one of the most challenging gravel road races in the country under normal circumstances, but Friday’s driving rain, which included snow and hail for some riders, Saturday’s brutal 20- to 30-mile-per-hour headwinds and Saturday night’s sub-freezing temperatures made the 380-mile race even more daunting in 2016.  Read the full story

The Alexander: Part 1
melissa bikes

The Alexander. The little known big brother of its famous baby sibling Almanzo and the middle child, the still popular but slightly less known Royal. These three races make up a trio of notorious gravel rides in southeastern Minnesota. The Almanzo is 100 miles, the Royal is 162 miles, and the Alexander is 380 miles. Three. Hundred. And. Eighty. Miles. On gravel, unpaved roads, and with a few minimum maintenance roads thrown in just for kicks. The route travels through the driftless area of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, back to Iowa, and finally back north to Minnesota.  Read the full story

The Alexander: Part 2
melissa bikes

As we left the first gas station stop at mile 70-something, we soon crossed over highway 52. It was so tempting to cruise down the big hill to Decorah, to a hot shower, a warm bed, and excellent ice cream. Ugh. We pedaled on, and not long after leaving Kwik Trip the rain started to fall. First it was a few drops, and then the sky opened up with a vigorous rain. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and had no choice but to keep pedaling. I enviously eyed bars and outbuildings on the side of the road, pondering if we could seek shelter in there until the rain passed.  Read the full story


Partnership keeps spirit of Almanzo 100 alive-Local gravel bicycle races still a draw due to efforts of partners
Spring Valley Tribune

Although founder Chris Skogen stepped away from the Almanzo 100 and related races two years ago, they continue to draw a dedicated group of gravel bicycle enthusiasts thanks to the efforts of the Spring Valley Tourism Committee and Penn Cycle & Fitness of Minneapolis.  Read the full story

Riding Gravel Supports The Almanzo 100
Riding Gravel

The Almanzo 100 is, quite likely, the most popular grassroots gravel grinder event in the nation. Started by Chris Skogen in 2007, the free event has grown to have over 1000 riders yearly and encompasses three events ranging in distance from the original 100 miler to the crushing Alexander 380 which takes participants through three states and takes well over 40 hours to complete.  Read the full story

Almanzo 100 Report: Ringing the Bell
Guitar Ted Productions

Things changed when on Thursday I found out that my partner in RidingGravel.com was going to be stepping in for a company that had pulled out of supporting the third checkpoint on the Almanzo 100 course. Originally, Ben had thought he'd hang out, take a few images, and do a bit of a photo gallery, maybe, for the site. Well, when the opportunity came up to be the checkpoint support, he jumped in and well.......I couldn't just let him do it alone! I got with Mrs. Guitar Ted, did a bit of reconnoitering, found a willing partner in "New York Roll", and on Friday evening we were piling 20 gallons of water on a shopping cart along with some other supplies to take up to the Almanzo 100.  Read the full story


Almanzo 100 2016
The Morgan's Creations

Almanzo 100 & Royal 162
TMB Images

2016-05-14 Almanzo100 Royal 162
TMB Images on Facebook

Almanzo 100 Spring Valley Gravel Road Race


Almanzo 100 Roll-out


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