A Type 'A' First-Timer's Guide to Powderhorn 24

By : Emily Wade · August 22, 2015

Powderhorn 24 is an annual 24 hour community ride that celebrates the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Riders participate solo or in teams to complete laps around four check points at any pace they please. Bonus stops earn riders extra lap points while engaging local businesses and organizations. Last week marked my first Powderhorn 24, revealing my most neurotic side to the cycling community I love so dearly.


Photo by France Barbeau

One month before

Register team online. Fantasize about future glory.

One week before

Have planning brunch.  Wrangle as many teammates as possible, though inevitably not all will be able to make it. Discuss strengths, weaknesses, strategy, & supplies.  Make a google doc summarizing what everyone committed to bring. 

Put in t-shirt order. Choose tank based on stock availability. Bemoan last-minute rush; rejoice in teammate’s clever design. 


Photo by France Barbeau

Day of event

Wake up earlier than expected because everything is just so gosh darn exciting. 

Meet teammate to set up tents (plural) at 10:30 in the morning to ensure the perfect spot in the shade equidistant from porta poty clusters. Text other teammates who have the day off multiple times to see when they can come to base camp.

Realize tents will be totally fine for a few hours.  Go to Cub.  Get way too much food.  Take a nap. 

Arrive back with supplies at 4 PM. Double check everything. Realize you forgot THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Anxiously await teammates’ arrival so you can run back without having to bring everything with you.

Register team. Distribute numbers. Zip tie numbers on to bikes of riders arriving later. Eat dinner. Organize. Lay out sleeping bags. Organize again.


Photo by France Barbeau

The ride

Rally teammates at riders’ meeting earlier than necessary. Listen to instructions. Mostly. Coordinate who will grab the sheet of bonuses at the start/finish.

Roll out on neutral lap.  Make sure teammate who will ride first lap is in the front, not hanging with the team. Because priorities. 

Chat with other WTFs on the ride. Amp up comradery, feel the love. Because priorities.

Route bonus stops on a Nice Ride map. Develop numbered system to record who will do each bonus when. Tape both items under written out rider order hanging from tent. 


Photo by France Barbeau

Ride. Experience two hour cycles of anxiety, drive, manic euphoria, hunger, exhaustion. Try to be chill. Fail. Sleep only when the other hyper-organized person on your team is lying next to you. Because that makes sense. 

Find dread in hair. Revel in hard-core-ed-ness for 30 seconds before brushing it out.

Check-in with team you have a big crush on. Tell them how awesome they are. Anticipate social media friendships.

Split volunteer shift with another teammate. Cheer for everyone who rolls through, but mostly the WTFs. Coordinate with teammates to change strategy for final laps half a dozen times.

Aggressively seek shade. Reflect for a moment on how rad your teammates are for coming together and embarking on this adventure for the first time together. Feel proud, loved, affirmed regardless of rankings. 

Hustle. Hard.

Do last lap as a team pursuit because you’re fancy. Drink champagne after cleaning up base camp because you’re fancy. Lay down on ground and wait for awards because you’re fading.

Cheer, laugh, get sprayed with champagne. Look in awe at the incredible humans around you. Feel privileged to know more of them better after the past 24 hours. Hug everyone. Cry. Hug everyone again. 

Think about doing it again next year, maybe.  

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Love this post... I'm type A too :)
Posted by Holly on
Things I understand: Organize.  Organize again.  <3
Posted by Lowrah on