Thursday, June 24, 2010
Ponca is a pretty tough course, if you don't believe me, ask Jed.
Ponca…another one of my favorite courses. With all of the rain that the Midwest had been receiving, it was pretty amazing that the race even happened. God was kind enough to provide all of us with near perfect trail conditions as the dirt was damp and very grippy. Lot’s of Iowa peeps made the trip across the river to experience some of the sweet singletrack that the state of Nebraska has to offer, Jed, Maria, Keely, Nate C, Jesse and Katie B to name a few. It was great to finally see a lot of folks from Iowa there. It’d be great to see more Iowa folks head to Nebraska and vice versa.
So the usual Nebraska suspects lined up for the start sans Kent and Steve, I ended up with a pretty lousy start sitting near the back of the pack. As we were approaching the singletrack, I saw MOD roll to the side of the trail with his chain dangling from his drive train. I was really looking forward to dukin’ it out with him, so I was pretty bummed for him. I ended up going into the woods in 8th on Jed’s wheel. It was actually OK with that because we were all in a pretty tight line throughout the beginning of lap 1 (of 5). Jed found some creative ways to get past a couple of dudes that had over-extended themselves at the start. I sat back and patiently waited for chances to pass in the tight, twisty singletrack. Throughout the course of lap 1, I managed to claw my way up to 2nd behind Kevin. I did pretty well in selecting the right places to pass, never pushing myself into the red zone.
As we approached the steep climb leading up to the road crossing, I passed Kevin at a location that would be difficult for anybody else to get by him. I accelerated up the climb with the intent on opening a gap. As I crossed the road at the top of the climb, I could tell that nobody else had gotten around Kevin and that I had established a pretty decent gap. I kept the pressure on throughout lap 2 and took an occasional glance back when the course doubled back on itself and saw nobody….perfect.
I backed it off a tad on laps 3 and 4, keeping one eye on the trail ahead and one eye on the trail behind. As I started lap 5, I turned up the heat again to ensure that nobody (MOD in particular) caught me. MOD has enough bike savvy that he can fix things quicker than the average joe, especially a dropped chain. Nobody ended up catching me, though I think that it would have been a different story if MOD could have kept his chain on his bike. It also would have been a different story if Kent had been there. He instead, opted to spend the weekend down in Arizona chasing forest fires on his bike. Despite dropping his chain three times, MOD managed to salvage a much deserved 2nd and Jesse P continued his good season with 3rd.
Julie had some good competition in the Cat 1 race with Keely Shannon of the PRC Divas making the trip from Des Moines. I was really looking forward to the outcome as they seem to be pretty evenly matched. As I was beginning lap 4, I saw Julie up the trail. I always find myself experiencing the same dichotomy whenever I pass Julie in a race, one hand it would be good not to see her because that would mean that she was having a better than usual race. On the other hand, I love coming up behind her and watching her get her rage on, it makes me smile. Thankfully it wasn’t during a tricky part of the course as it is always a bit of a distraction when passing her during a race….purrrrrrr. Seeing Julie before Keely could only mean one of two things, either Keely is ahead of her, or Keely had dropped out. About a half lap later, I caught and passed Keely. I thought about knocking her into the weeds to kinda help Julie out a little, however the sportsman in me took over and I opted to pass her with kindness. Keely ended up taking down Julie for the win with Julie finishing in 2nd a few minutes back. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching the two of them duke it out over the rest of the season!
Thanks for reading,