Monday, November 27, 2006

Jingle Cross rocks!!! Day 1

__After fueling up at my mom's in Des Moines with an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with her, my step-dad Larry and various family members, Lynne and I woke up at the crack of dawn to head over to Iowa City. My mom and Larry were coming a little later to watch us and see what I've been doing these past few months.
__Wow. This was the hardest race I'd done so far in the Midwest. This was due in large part to the fact that I was doing the 'B' race, 45 minutes. The race was very well organized; pre-registration meant everything was ready to go at the sign-in table, including the pre-filled out release form that I just had to sign, number already assigned and logged, a $5 discount and no waiting. We were called up based on sign-in order, which was great, and the staging area was clearly marked so people didn't stand around at the finish line and have to move en masse to the staging area. Great job promoters!
__I got a decent start and hung with the main group for most of the race, which could be considered the accomplishment of the season for me and my fitness level. The course wound through the grass and there was a double barrier after a turn which bunched up of course; someone turned into me and I couldn't get unclipped because I was pushed over to the wrong side, but eventually I worked my way over it. Should have gone for the hole shot on that one... A couple more turns and then a long grassy straight where I'd later lose time to the roadies. Then a short steep runup with a forced dismount to a bumpy off-camber run behind some bleachers and then back down to the long grassy straightaway, again summoning up whatever fitness I had. A couple more turns with longish grassy runs and then into the fairground's stables and buildings, the first of which was 'Grinch's Lair' featuring some deep sand and Grinch music blasting from a boom box.
__The sand I chose to run every time, which was faster than riding, especially since many riders would bog down and/or crash in the sand. Of course on the first lap everyone tried to ride it which resulted in mayhem that I couldn't run around due to the confines of the stable. Again, hole shot... Then a gravel road and another grassy run, featuring a lip over a gravel path that I was having fun catching some air on, up and back down the embankment for the road, another bumpy, slightly uphill grassy run that really wore me down, and a triple barrier with shorter-than-UCI barriers.
__Tired yet? Ha! Right after we remounted from the barriers we had to dismount again and portage a mud ditch before a little hill, then back down over the mud ditch, remount, tight turn, come back up the little hill and down, then catch your breath before the real hill - 'Mt. Krumpit'. This was another race in which the Beginners bypassed the fun stuff, so I'm glad I signed up for the B race. The hill was just barely rideable, and I was able to pass people on the hill most every lap. Those I didn't pass on the hill I could pass after the run back downhill as they were recovering. Of course they'd pass me again on the long grassy stretches on the next lap, but at least I had an advantage over the roadies with the hill. After that was a fast run-in to the finish line and another lap.
__45 minutes is a long time when my fitness was all about 30 minute races. By the 30 minute mark Peter from Cat6/LGR had passed me and I was riding around with Super Rookie. I was so exhausted after the race! Afterwards Lynne and I hung out with the LGR contingent and we bullshitted until I could walk again. Lynne was starving and my parents were getting bored, so we took them out for dinner. Larry got some sweet video of both of our races. Hopefully he'll figure out how to download it to his computer so I can finally analyze my technique. I looked better out there than I felt, so that's a plus!
__After dinner we hung out with the LGR crew and wondered how Little Guy, Super Rookie, (dis)pencer, Peter, his wife Rachel and another guy all fit in a king room. There's a pullout sofa, so the room could accomodate four people somewhat cozily, but six? Sarah reports that SR 'slept with' (dis)pencer. Since they were both wearing Velo Bella uniforms from Karla the next day, I have to wonder who was spooning whom... I'm sure Rachel loved sharing a bathroom with five guys! Speaking of Rachel, she raced on Saturday as well. She races like I do; good starts, good technical skills, but doesn't have the fitness of the roadies, and when stuck behind the pack after 'doing the drift', can't summon the motivation to suffer without a wheel to chase. Hopefully some good base training this winter will help all of us non-roadies next year.
__After hanging out Lynne and I got the munchies (no, Hollywood wasn't there) so we raided the vending machine and then hit the sack.