2018 Almanzo Stories

The 2018 Almanzo Gravel Races took place May 18-19 in the small town of Spring Valley, Minnesota just south of Rochester.  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 all gravel races.  Spring Valley Tourism with the assistance of Penn Cycle 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.

The weather for the 2018 Almanzo gravel races was the best it's been in years bringing out a combined total of 1014 riders to the start line for the Royal 162 and Almanzo 100.  Seven brave souls were on the start line at 5am on Friday morning for the start of the Alexander 380. After last year's dismal rain, cold temperatures and wind, this was a welcome change for cyclist that came to Spring Valley from all over the US, Japan and the Netherlands.  I have compiled a list of racer accounts from blogs, local & national press as well as links to photo galleries and videos.

Almanzo 100

Race Report: 2018 Almanzo 100 – Spring Valley, Minnesota
Nicholas Garbis

It’s the Saturday after Mother’s Day in the town of Spring Valley in the southern corner of the state of Minnesota. About 70 miles to the east is the Mississippi river, past Bratsberg, Houston, and Hokan, you will find the big river down below the bluffs and across from there, La Crosse, Wisconsin. The land on either side of the Mississippi in this area, once you are above the bluff line, is wrinkled and rolling where streams and creeks have dug their paths, leaving high grounds, natural quarries, and rolling vistas of green lushness. Read the full story

Couch to 160k | Almanzo 2018
Shimano Gravel Alliance ambassador Ben Popper

I had developed a foolproof training plan for the ALMANZO 100 in Spring Hill, MN and was calling it "Couch to 160k." It mimicked in premise the couch to 5k program that aspiring runners use to overcome the uncertainties of doing their first running race. Start small by, in my case, getting my butt out of my desk chair and pedaling around the block. Then slowly build over the course of weeks, doing longer and longer rides, until I’d be ready for race day and fit enough to ride 100 miles. It is a proven strategy for building fitness. I started the program with a solid base of couch sitting. Then skipped everything in the middle, finishing my training by showing up on the day of the ride with about ten miles in my legs total. I needed to find a supplemental plan. Read the full story

Shimano Goes Graveling - Almanzo 100

An email invite arrived in my inbox. Something to the effect of "Would you like to race the Almanzo 100 and try Shimano's new clutch road derailleur in the process?" Would I?! Well, the Almanzo has been on my gravel bucket list for some time. Checking out a new derailleur was icing on the cake. So I flew to Minnesota where I met up with what seemed like a battalion of Shimano and PRO engineers, product managers, PR peeps, and Shimano's large crew of gravel ambassadors. Also along for the fun were several other journalists, all keen to ride an event that none of us had experienced. Read the full story

Stevil Kinevil

The short version for those who perhaps missed it previously, is that roughly ten days ago, I was half conscious in the back of an ambulance not only not able to recall my name, but even how to say it. So what better physical condition to fly to Minnesota for the whateverth annual Almanzo 100? Read the full story

℞: Racing the Almanzo 100 with Shimano’s Gravel Alliance
Parker Bloom

Add another tally to my listing of improbable spots I’ve been to for bike racing. This weekend pastime– of packing up a bag to bursting with spandex, shoes and a helmet and departing for somewhere strange to line up and race my bike– continues to surprise me. I’ve raced in freezing rain, and under Las Vegas lights, had snow build up on my bars, and have been cradled between craggy Rockies. But this trip to Minnesota was a first. Read the full story

Guitar Ted Productions

"Gee, you're here kinda early, aren't ya?", said the salt and pepper haired man. He was a local, and had been loading up a motor scooter on a trailer from what was once likely a thriving business 100 years ago, but was now serving as a storage shed. The village of Cherry Grove, Minnesota is not much on retail business these days. The man with the salt and pepper hair was curious as to what we were up to and I think he figured out we were with the Almanzo 100 in some capacity, so he sauntered over to have a word with my son and I. I replied to the man by saying, "Yeah, I like to be early." I said that because he was right, by the way. We were a bit early. Read the full story

Royal 162

Mike Nichols

For me, endurance cycling, and endurance gravel riding especially, has always been about testing and pushing my boundaries. That includes pushing my athletic ability. But, it is also very often about testing my will. My experience at the 2018 Almanzo Royal 162 was very much about testing my will. It was also an up-close, intimate encounter with suffering. Read the full story


Spring Valley Tribune-David Phillips

Although the weather earlier in the week called for rain last weekend, bicyclists in the endurance gravel road races that make up Wilder Fest enjoyed ideal conditions May 18 and 19. About 700 bicyclists took part in the annual races that start from downtown Spring Valley. The majority of riders were in the Almanzo 100, which had a temperature of 60 degrees at the start, rising to about 70 later in the day. More importantly, winds were calm until the evening when they neared 15 miles per hour, and the riders stayed dry under cloudy skies. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

2018 marked the 12th year of the Almanzo 100 gravel race held on the unpaved roads around Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota. After a 2017 race that was marred by 35-degree temperatures and rain, this year’s race was drier and dustier, with temperatures reaching the 70s and the sun peeking through the clouds at times. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

After seeing Winfield race on Saturday, her quip about being “washed up” is about 100 miles of gravel from the truth. Winfield survived a tough challenge from Kristen Legan and Jenna Rinehart to win the Women’s title at the 2018 Almanzo 100 gravel race in Minnesota. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

“I found it as an abandoned bike with a bunch of broken stuff on it,” he said about the re-built Medici Gran Turismo he rode at the Almanzo 100 gravel race. “I eyed it for a long time sitting outside for a couple months, and then eventually I decided no one’s coming for this bike.” Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Last weekend at the Almanzo 100 gravel race, I rode the Allied Alfa Allroad for the 100-mile gravel event. The bike was equipped with Shimano’s new Ultegra RX805 clutch-based derailleur and a complement of Shimano components and Vittoria Terreno Mix tires. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Last week, we did a full profile of Dee Dee Winfield’s Blue Norcross SL and Matt Allen’s Medici Gran Turismo and today, I have a quick look at three more bikes and the stories behind them. Stay tuned for a look at Women’s runner-up Kristen Legan’s titanium Firefly after she tackles the Dirty Kanza XL on the platform this weekend. Read all three stories

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Cyclocross Magazine attended an Ultegra RX event hosted by Shimano at this year’s Almanzo 100 in Minnesota that tackled 100, 162 and 380 miles of gravel roads around Spring Valley, MN. According to Shimano Product Team leader Dave Lawrence, Shimano chose Almanzo for the event because the annual race was among the first to put gravel races on the company’s product team’s radar thanks to event sponsor Penn Cycles of Minneapolis. Read the full story


2018 Almanzo
Chris Chavie
2018 Almanzo

Ed Denbow

Stephanie Olson
Image Credit: Stephanie Olson


Lead Group at the Preston Checkpoint
Chris Chavie

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