Sunday, October 28, 2007

Northfield Back 2 School race report

After cleaning up from the Red Barn race Saturday, Sascha and I headed over to Grumpy's to celebrate Jim Redmond's birthday. It was supposed to start at 7pm, but by the time I waited for the swag and awards (alas, I didn't win the bike), got my long-suffering girlfriend home, got my spoke fixed, showered, ate dinner and did a little shopping, we didn't get there until closer to 9ish. Which was about the time most everyone else started showing up too. Fellow Cat6er Drew made the biggest cake I'd ever seen (not only can he brew beer but apparently he can make 'doctored' cake-in-a-box too!). Beers were drunk, gossip was exchanged, and we left at a reasonable hour since I had to get up early for the race.

After packing up and having my mocha I headed down. It was about 32 degrees with frost on the ground as I was rolling into Northfield, but the sun was out and things warmed up quickly after that. The course was similar to last year, with the awesome pinwheel of death again. The hill was different though: instead of coming straight up it, there were switchbacks and a barrier at the base. The switchbacks allowed for a remount after the barrier and for the rest of the hill to be rideable (but just barely!). Unlike the Powderhorn hill, the hill had different gradients, plus the switchbacks were steeper at the corners of course. I was also bumpy, so it was a pretty brutal hill lap after lap. Some cornering practice at the top and some rutted mud that was challenging, then back down the hill, which was really fun and allowed for some recovery. At the bottom was the pinwheel, then a long run along the football fields which were my undoing. I don't have the fitness for those stretches, so many people I passed on the trickier or tougher sections passed me again on these sections.

In the end I didn't do as well as I'd hoped. On the other hand, I was hanging with some of the people I was hanging with at Darwin, so I think I just had a bigger and tougher field to contend with at Northfield. The race was fun; the grim reaper was back, Ray was having fun cheering and heckling us and making fun of my pain face, but it helps so much to have people cheering for you up that hill! Thanks to Super Rookie for the bottle handups - he only dropped it once! ;-)

After the race I watched the women's race. All three of them. It was the Lindas and Jessica Wittwer. The Lindas were neck and neck the whole race, but in the end Linda Cooper paid back Linda Sone by nipping her at the line like Sone did in Orono. I was a sweet battle to watch!

Some food courtesy of the race promoters and I headed back to Mpls. It seems like all I do this time of year race, prepare to race, recover from racing and earn money to pay for racing. I should be thankful - one day I'll look back on this as the good old days. Hopefully that time is a long time away.

Thanks Skinnyski for the pictures. The picture from this race were even awesomer than their normal awesomeness!