After having spent all of last week nursing my wounded calf muscle, I wasn’t sure as to whether I’d be doing the race up until the morning of the race. Julie and I went out for am easy ride Saturday afternoon and everything seemed to feel OK. I did a few very short, hard efforts to see how it felt and I didn’t notice any discomfort. However a 30 second effort is a far cry from a 6 hour effort, preceded by a le mans start.
The next morning we drove to the course, Julie and I did a short recon of the first part of the course and everything felt great, so I decided to sign up for the 6 hour with the intent of dropping out if I didn’t like the way my leg felt. We lined up for the start and I took it really easy on the run for fear of blowing my calf out again. I ran slowly enough that I didn’t feel a thing and finally got to my bike and ended up at about mid pack of 200+ racers.
I encountered the usual traffic jams going into the singletrack when stuck in mid pack. I was OK with that though as it forced me to take it easy in the beginning. The traffic was such that I ended up having to dismount a couple of times at a big log crossing and one of the rocky drops, due to others having to dismount. I had a couple of cats behind me that were annoyingly talkative in their efforts to get by me. I had kinda forgotten how people get when they get stuck in traffic, anxiously trying to get by in areas where there is no place to pass. I’m never sure where they think they’re going to go because if they get by me, they’re gonna get stuck behind the guy in front of me.
I finally cleared myself of the traffic jams near the end of lap 1 and was finally able to settle into a good enduro pace. I had no idea what place I was in throughout the race, however I was feeling good enough that I felt the urge to increase the effort to make up ground on the leaders. My better judgment kept my aggression in check and I maintained a comfortable pace as I didn’t want to exert more effort than my bad wheel could handle. Once clear of traffic, the course became a lot more fun to ride with plenty of techy stuff such as logs and bike component/man eating rock gardens.
Here’s a short list of interesting things that I saw throughout the race. I passed Squirrel at some point and noticed that he was riding a fully rigid bike, my lower back hurt a little worse as I passed him. The next time that I passed Squirrel, he was hangin’ loose underneath the Rassy tent with a cold beer in hand. I saw two dudes riding their bikes with on crank arm in place, and the other either in hand, or dangling from the bottom of his shoe. Lebeda and his son doing a father/son duo in the six hour race. I passed his son and started thinking about how cool it would be do something like that with your son. They’re both going to cherish the memories from this event for the rest of their lives. Passing Maria Von Ruhtenberg a few times and noticing a little more blood trickling down her leg with each pass. She’s taking her lumps this year, however she’s progressing nicely and is making a strong case for earning the title as the all time best in mental fortitude. She finished the 6 hour race and I’m very proud of her for sticking it out. Julie had a great race and ended up finishing 2nd overall on the 3 hour race, behind Nebraska mountain biking studette Roxeanne Feagan. When I talked to her after the race, she expressed regret in settling for the 3 hour race because she felt like she still had a lot left in the tank. So to make up for it, she decided to sign up for the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, CO. We also talked her brother into signing up. I think that she’s going to chick her brother, despite the Firecracker being held in his ‘back yard’.
I ended up finishing 5th overall, within a few minutes of 2nd through 4th. The guy that won was something like 30 minutes ahead of 2nd place. I’ve never heard of the guy, however I’m guessing that he must know the place like the back of his hand to get that kind of a gap on everybody else. I was pretty content with the result, crap, I was pretty happy that I was able to even ride after what I had gone through last week!
The following weekend, Julie and I made the trek to Iowa City to do some road ragin’. Not much to report other than my discovery that as you get older, you have to pee a lot more often. I must have peed like 6 times prior to the start of the race! Ten minutes into the race, I had to pee again, so much so that I was seeing yellow. It was very distracting and made it difficult to keep my head in the game. Finally, after 4 ½ laps of doing the anti-pee dance on my bike, I finally caved in and stopped to pee on the side of the road. The neutral support vehicle slowed thinking that I had a flat. He slowed long enough to see the golden shower flowing into the ditch, and then hit the gas and took off. I wasn’t able to catch back up to the group, so I decided to bail with a lap to go. I was pretty anxious to hit the road and see my niece on her 3rd birthday anyway!
Two more reports down, three more to go before I get caught up. Three weekends ago I did the Psycowpath race at Swanson, two weeks ago-ish I did the IMBCS race at Camp Ingawanis. Last weekend I did a couple of roadie races at the state fair grounds. Reports coming soon-ish.
Thanks for reading,