Not really sure who took all of the pix...
Word on the street was that I had my angry face on...I'm never angry on my bike, even if I get spit on or when someone threatens to beat me up.
This past weekend was a big weekend in Central Iowa for bike racing with the All Nine Yards diva’s hosting the Big Creek Road Race on Saturday and my homie’s at Rassy’s hosting the East Village Criterium. With all of the rain that we had throughout the fall, some postponements were bound to happen on planet dirt and the Maskenthine Classic was one of the casualties. With the rain date rescheduled for last weekend, I unfortunately had to miss out on all of the road raging in DSM. I hate missing out on weekends like this, lot’s of good peeps, lot’s of bikes, etc. However my passion lies on the dirt and if there’s a mountain bike race within a 1,023 mile radius, I’m gonna opt for the dirt.
At the last Psycowpath race, Kevin Limpach was the most successful survivor in the battle of attrition in the extreme heat at Tranquility and he put the hurt on me. I felt a slight sense of obligation to return the favor at Lake Maskenthine.
The usual suspects, sans Kent McNeil were all present and accounted for at the start. I didn’t really feel like leading the way into the woods this time, however when the race started, I found myself leading the way to the top of the gravel climb heading into the singletrack. I know, I know, at the bigger races, my starts almost always suck. And one of the best ways to get better at them, is to practice by going like a bat out of hell at the start of the smaller races. Maybe someday I’ll remember that at the smaller races…
Anyway, just before we hit the singletrack, Kev snaked me going into the woods and I rolled in 2nd wheel. Nate Woodman followed and the three of us were able to establish a small gap on the rest of the field during the early stages of the first lap. I settled in on Kev’s wheel with Nate in tow and we rode in this order throughout the first two laps. At some point during the first lap, Kev got off line and came close to layin’ it down. He pulled off a good save and thankfully, I wasn’t right on his wheel when it happened. A short while later he dug a pedal and almost bought it again. At that point I decided that it was probably a pretty good idea to give him a little cushion so that I didn’t get myself caught up in a yard sale. We all have days like that, where you feel like you’re riding with two left hands. Thankfully they are far and few between for me!
Monkeywrench pointman Nate and I. If you're ever in Lincoln, stop by his shop and buy a new bike.
Shimanonek wants a PRC t-shirt.
My bro JP just wants a beer.
During the 2nd lap, he dug another pedal and at that point, I decided that it was getting close to go time for me. We started lap three and as we hit a short uphill section, there was a small window of opportunity for me to get by. I took it and was able to establish a gap pretty quickly. I kept the pressure on throughout the lap and settled into a pretty good pace. I held the pace throughout laps four and five and was successful in reciprocating the beat down that Kevin gave me a couple of weeks ago. Kevin barely held on to 2nd by one second over Darin Schlake after Darin put in a impressive effort from a mid pack start to bring home 3rd. Shim finished up in 4th and Jesse Peterson rounded out the top five.
Julie raced in the Category 2 Women’s Open class and continued her impressive debut season with another 1st place finish. She is doing so well this season that I’m going to promote her from trainee to expert advisor when I hold my 3rd annual women’s only mtb clinic again this fall (Sunday, October 25). It’ll be nice to have a woman’s perspective at the clinic from now on. With her newly acquired off road skizzllizlzz as well as her experience as a professional coach, she’ll be a great addition to my ‘staff’!
A couple of interesting things to note for this race. I’ve been experimenting with various tire pressures, daring myself to go with a lower tire pressure. I just started using tubeless tires last year and I’m still trying to get a good handle on them. I usually have to go by the squeeze method because I don’t really trust the accuracy of my floor pump. I think that I ran pretty close to 23 pounds this time around. That seemed like a pretty good number as I seemed to hook up a little better in most of the corners without burping the bead. I also dropped the pressure in Julie’s tires a little, probably down to around 27, which is well below anything that I would have run when I used tubed tires for fear of the dreaded pinch flat. However, knowing her riding style pretty well, I felt pretty safe in dropping her pressure down a little. She said that it felt a little spongy in some areas, however she felt a little better when cornering. I think the sponginess was probably more to do with some of the loamy tread being pretty soft and spongy in a lot of areas.
So this coming weekend is the annual 24 Hours of Iowa race at Seven Oaks. I always feel myself getting pulled in several different directions on Labor Day weekend, with several different big races to choose from throughout the Midwest. I’ve always opted for the 24 because it’s a great time on some awesome trails and it’s always a well run event. This year was no different and we’ve made the tough decision to bypass the 24 and try something different. I’ve always wanted to do the Dakota 50 and the MNSCS race up at Mapelag Resort. With Chequamegon happening just two weeks after this weekend, a 50 mile mountain bike race is too close and I don’t think that I’ll recover in time for a race that I’ve historically had a difficult time getting myself fully recovered for. So MNSCS it is. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the MNSCS race, Julie and I are pretty stoked to check it out.
Thanks for reading,