My second annual Antelope Island road race was at least warm, unlike some other early season races I could mention. Peter and I went down in the morning along with my dad, who had decided to participate in his first bike race. We were not even late, but arrived an hour before start time to find the registration line at least a half-hour long. There was no pre-registration offered, and lots more people showed up this year than last year. Perhaps because there was not a mountain bike race anywhere around. The crew of Pocatello mountain bike / Tuesday nighters came down, including Zach Shriver from the junior national team. He raced with the cat 5s, which they decided at the last moment to separate from the 4s. But I'm gettting ahead of myself. Standing in line with Dad, we discovered that he could not race with the masters group on a one-day license (but could have if he bought an annual on the spot? didn't ask, he didn't want to commit anyway) so he would go with the 5s. Also saw some guys from George's in Boise, about a five-hour drive for them.
The start was moved back a half-hour to accomodate the apparently-unexpected number of registrants, so there was no rush after we got out of line a half-hour later. I put the wheels on Dad's bike (my old Trek) for him, put my wheels on. Okay, front wheels only since Peter drove and we used the rack on his Cherokee. My old rack from the Orangemobile, with my mounts. Not that I want it back or anything, since it doesn't fit my car anyway and my bike prefers to travel inside with me as well. Rode around, saw some of my teammates. Pretty much goofed off until start time, like usual. There was a team meeting of sorts that I happened across right before the start, but the details of 1-2-3 strategy were lost upon me and I was admonished along with the other 4-5s to watch for the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill.
There were about 35 1-2s and a similar number of 3s, not so many masters, and then the officials announced that the 17 4s would be separately started from the 45 5s. Whew. Off we went. A pretty easy couple of laps to start, down the hill (watching that sharp turn) and up the hill, down the hill, by the beach, up the hill to the start/finish. The pace didn't seem that high, but some people got dropped. We passed Dad, riding along merily by himself. On lap four (of ten, four miles each) I got gapped at the short, steep finish hill and had to chase down hill, which meant I was screwed at the following climb. So I got to ride by myself for a while. I passed the women's pack - after a pair of stragglers, one of whom who said "jump on her" as I cruised by; I selected "I'm not a her" as an appropriate reply. Ok, not thinking too clearly. Then I caught up with a teammate of mine, whose name turned out to be Mike. I towed him downhill and we rode about the same pace on the uphills. This continued for the rest of the race.
A lap or so after I hooked up with Mike about four 5s came zipping by, including Zach (surprise!) and Kirk. They went and caught the leading 4s. Then some groups of 1-2s and 3s went by. Passed Dad again. On the last lap, a bunch of 5s went by at the start of the first hill but then we watched them totally splinter as they went up the hill. Passed a couple of them on the way to the finish. Mike said he wouldn't sprint with me since I had done more work, which was nice of him. He made good on that, softpedaling along the beach so that he was nowhere near me on the last climb up to the finish.
Then I sat around and waited for Peter and Dad to finish. It was pleasantly warm for a change. Figuring my finish was somewhere around ninth or tenth, I was satisfied to leave as soon as everyone else was done. But before leaving the island, we visited a mountain man rendezvous at the ranch on the south end. Lots of pelts and small animal skulls.
It was starting to threaten rain, so after lunch we briefly visited the Hill AFB museum, indoor portion, and drove home through an actual rain storm. Which washed all the bugs off my bike, but didn't help my chain squeak any.
On Tuesday, it looked like rain (and was even raining) all the way down to Pocatello, but after five minutes sitting in the assembly place parking lot the clouds moved off and we went for a ride on only the still-wet roads. Where I got dropped in the hills even earlier than usual for this year, darn it. Also the wet didn't help my chian squeak, but the reason I bring up this particular Tuesday is that Super Dave relayed some information about Brooke, previously last known to be in Driggs with her boyfriend after a not-very successful national NORBA race at Park City. Apparently her sister is married to one of Dave's fellow ski patrollers, and so he found out that Brooke is in California somewhere training. Seen her, Man-Ne?
Oh, and on Thursday (May 1st) it snowed off and on pretty much all day here. Summer is getting closer, I can feel it...