Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Squirrel's Nest

Brutha Squirrel, look at the size of his heed, looks like sputnik.

Ch-ch-ch-chia Chad Vandelune, good to see ya smilin' bro.
This cat can grow the coolest skullet and beard, chia style.

As most of you know by now, two really good friends of mine suffered a huge lose back on September 5. 8 month old Price Vandelune passed away in his sleep from what was diagnosed as SIDS. Chad and Dorothy Vandelune (along with daughter Sydney) are some of the nicest people one could meet. I’ve probably spent more time traveling to mountain bike races with Chad than anybody else and through our travels forged a pretty strong friendship. I was pretty devastated when I found out about Price. My sister has a 5 month old daughter and my brothers’ son is going on a year. I don’t even want to think about it…
So this weekend was all about the Price Vandelune Memorial Fund and things kicked off with a ride at the Science Center to raise some fundage. Around 50 or so peeps showed and I heard reports that nearly $1,300 ended up in the pot once all of the dust had finally settled. That is the main reason that I am so into cycling, we’ve got a great group of people here in Dead Moines and everybody genuinely cares about each other. You could say that we kinda have the family thing going on.

Sunday: the last race of our fledgling IMBCS. I say fledgling because we’ve been treading water since it’s inception and in a lot of ways I’m OK with that. Everybody knows everybody and it kinda has that good ole’ grassroots feel to it. Chris Maharry’s Sycamore TT went through a pretty major transformation this year. The Sycamore Trail has pretty much succumbed to urban sprawl, high water, ATV’s, junked out cars and trailer park trash.

Master trail builder Squirrel, brap!!

CITA kingpin Ryan Hanser, if you see him, shake his hand and say thank you. If you're a hot chick, give him a hug, say thank you and give him yer digits.

This year’s edition, appropriately called ‘Squirrel’s Nest’ was held at the Science Center Trail System. Squirrel had a very hand in the evolution of this awesome network of trails smack dab in the middle of Des Moines. Race director Chris Maharry announced that half of the proceeds generated from the race would go to CITA (Central Iowa Trail Association) and the other would go to the Price Vandelune Memorial Fund. At the end of the day, CITA received $400 and the Vandelunes received close to $500. Pretty successful fund raising weekend!

Dirty goodness, Iowa style.

The race: I pre rode the course on Saturday and due to the short length and the technical nature, I figured one of four cats were going to win, Andy, Squirrel, Conlan (JC), and possibly myself. JC and Squirrel are the two best bike handlers in the metro and a course like this would suit them well. Andy is pretty good bike handler also, but I’ve seen him romance too many trees in past races to be in the same class as Squirrel and JC. It’s not uncommon to see blood and / or dirt skid marks somewhere on his body after a race. Despite Andy’s affinity for trees and other immovable objects, he’s still one of the fastest in Iowa and always needs to considered as a threat.
I would typically ride a hard tail for a short TT like this, but I haven’t ridden a hard tail all season and my body, especially my nether regions, greatly appreciates that. I chose the Orbea because she’s been good and not bucked me all season. I also love the way the bike feels, she fits me like a glove and is very nimble on tight, twisty courses like the SC.
When my start time came I had no idea what kind of times everybody was throwin’ down. I locked the front and back out for the long, paved slightly uphill grind. As I approached the turn off into the dirt, I unlocked the front so that I could maximize power transfer to the rear until I got to the top of the short climb by the pump house. Once at the top of the climb I unlocked the rear and began my descent down Rollercoaster, the coolest stretch of singletrack in Iowa.
Once I hit the pavement after Rollercoaster, I locked the rear out again for the climb up into the Hillside. Once at the top I unlocked and began pursuit of my minute man. Much to my surprise, the first person that I caught and passed was JC. I figured I must have been riding really well and found it very motivating. As I passed JC I offered some words of encouragement and, with his tongue hangin’ out, he offered what I assumed to be the same. I passed a couple of others and motored on to the finish with a time of 18:31, good enough for first overall. Andy had the 2nd fastest time clocking 18:55. Squirrel brought home 3rd with a time of 19:02. WWJ came in 4th with a time of 19:11 and Sea Biscuit rounded out the top five with a time of 19:49. Great job to all!
Because it was such a short effort, I decided to go again. Andy decided to go again also (on his singlespeed) and this time he was my minute man. My goal was simple, catch up to Andy and knock him into the weeds as I pass by. I didn’t see him until I hit the hillside and I had finally caught up to him just as we were approaching a couple of big logs. As soon as Andy realized that I was on his wheel, he dumped the clutch and launched himself over the first log at full speed. I suck on big logs and slowed as I approached it. I popped my front wheel up and over. As my front wheel approached the top of the log I lifted my back wheel over. I was going a little faster than usual and mistimed the rear wheel. My wheel bumped into the top of the log and went skyward. My front wheel hit the ground and rolled about 20 feet before my rear wheel came out of orbit. Yep, my eyes were as big as a VW hubcap throughout the stunt and was quite happy when I realized that I had pulled it off. I saw Andy off in the distance and watched as he rode over the 2nd big log. As much as I enjoyed the experience from the previous log, I found it to be in my best interest to cyclocross the 2nd log. Once over the 2nd log I continued my chase. As we approached the finish I began to close the gap to Andy. As soon as he realized I was getting close, he drilled it and crossed the finish line a couple of seconds ahead of me. Good times!

Taylor's in the hurt locker, even before the race starts, he looks real mean in them Oakley's.

Check out the Mostly Reverend, he's wearing a helmet!!!

Proper post race nutrition is extremely important to ensure a speedy recovery. Looks like a cup of Endurox Beer4.

As I had mentioned earlier, this weekend was all about raising funds for a couple of great causes and it was a huge success! From the looks of it, everybody had a great time and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
This weekend Andy and I are heading up to the Land of Oz to do the Blockhouse Roll. I’ve done the race a couple of times in the past and the trails, only open to the public on race weekend, are pretty sweet.
Two more races to go, then hamburger, French fry and taco ride season begins!

Thanks for reading,


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