They call these races ‘Bone Bender’ for a reason, there were probably more rocks on the course than dirt. For me, the course was the type of course where it would be a lot fun to ride, for the sake of riding. Racing is a different story. I decided to ride the full suspension because I had heard that the course was pretty rocky. Riding on rocks for six hours would not be good for my back, or any other part of my old bag ‘o bones.
The start was a le mans style start up this crazy steep, loose rocky hill. Despite my strong dislike of running, I got off to a pretty good start rolling onto the dirt in 5th or 6th, and in 2nd for the six hour solo category. The guy in 1st was leading the entire field, including the three hour racers. He was obviously a lot more familiar with the course than the rest of us!
Throughout the four laps that I had completed, I was riding at a very comfortable pace, one that I could have easily maintained and even increased as the race progressed. The rocks were giving me a royal pounding, so much so that the fun of racing my bike was slowly dwindling. To add to the situation, my chain would not stay in my big or middle ring. The straw that broke my back happened on a short power climb while in my middle ring. About midway up the climb, the chain skipped and slammed me forward, bashing both of my knees into the stem and handlebars. With my morale totally gone, I decided to pull the plug. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to race a bike that isn’t working properly, especially with the fear that your middle ring won’t hold a chain when you put the power down. I put it into cool down mode and rode back to the start area, put my bike away and headed over to Geoff’s mobile boom box / pit area and had a beer with the Iowa City and Des Moines crew. On a more positive note, the weather was pretty close to perfect for having a beer with a bunch of your cycling buddies.
On another more positive note, Julie was riding impressively and stuck it out for the entire six hours. She seemingly increased her pace with every lap and passed Sally Logan on her last lap to snare a much deserved 3rd place in the six hour solo category. Props to her and Sally for riding non stop over the 6+ hours on such a brutally rocky course. I’m a very fortunate man to have a woman like that for a wife!
Thanks for reading,