A slightly different format for this race this year. There were two batches of starts, at nine am and eleven am. The early risers included 5s, master 45+, women 1/2/3, and women 4s. Later risers would then be the 1/2s, 3s, 4s (woo hoo, separate start), and master 35-45. So I arrived a little after nine in time to see the very large women's cat 4 field, women's 1/2/3, and large cat 5 group going around on the first lap. Among the 5s were Peter and briefly, Dad, because he had such a good time last year. Couple other people from Pocatello were there too.
A little cold still, but it might turn into a nice day. I registered anyway, the fifth 4 to do so at that early hour. Dave Gates (featured in the Blacks Creek event previously) and Bad Bob from Poky were there too, Bob on yet another new bike (a Fondriest this time). Must be nice to own a bike shop. Other familiar faces from SLC showed up, even some Boise boys, and a carload of Poky folks just in time to register before the second starts began - Matt, Craig, Rob.
The 1/2s field was as large as the 1/2/3s at the Boise races (~30?), another just as large 3s group, and I think around 20 4s, 10-15 masters. Dave was in the 4s with me as well as Matt, so we could get a little team action going. We started down at the parking lot this year, meaning an extra trip up the finish hill to officially begin the first lap of ten (everybody except 1/2s who did 13). Oh well, what can you do.
Off we go, pace isn't that high seemingly. No really hard attacks on the hills, I'm hanging out in the back. Dave likes to hang out at the front, and Matt being a mountain biker likes it up there too. Looks like they are doing a lot of work. On the second lap I take a pull up the finish hill and down the other side to remind them not to sit up there the whole time, but to little effect.
Lap after lap goes by, couple flyers go off and are soon chased down, some people start dangling off the back and then go bye-bye, but I manage to just kind of hang out. Don't know what I'm waiting for, it's not like I can win a sprint up that finish hill or anything. But it's more fun to not get dropped so I go with that.
We are down to about eleven individuals with a few laps to go. I say "a few" because I apparently can't count to ten, and neither can the race official. Not so helpful. We did get lapped by five 1/2s, confusing things perhaps, but he told us "two to go" *twice* when obviously the later one should have been "ding ding ding". After the second "two to go", next time up the finish hill everybody started to sprint. I was cleverly hanging out in back after towing Dave a bit when he started cramping on the last backside hill. They aren't fooling me, there's another lap to go. Wait, why is everybody stopping? Oh, I get it, that was really the last lap. Doooh.
In response to a query about this counting business, the official said, "You knew where you were." I see, we only listen to the official when we know him to be correct, and not when we think he is wrong? No, that wasn't a centerline violation there, Gary, you must be mistaken like that time at Antelope Island when you didn't count the laps right.
That would be eleventh place for me, then. But it was a nice training ride.
At the Tuesday nighter Matt says he heard a single bell on the last lap from his usual position at the front going up the hill. Hmm. More people this week, very much nicer weather, I'm still not trying any big attacks because I still don't want to get dropped in the hills. But I do get sick of the yo-yoing at the back so coming back through Inkom I roll off the front and stay away (after catching then working with two course-cutting flat-repairers, I must admit) until a kilo-to-go. Then after sitting in a bit I roll off again way too early, but I don't want to stand up so must go early. Only Craig can jump on my wheel and he tries to come around but I think we call it a draw at the Tastee-Treat Space Burger sign marking the finish line. More fun than Antelope Island, I think I am using races as training for Tuesday nighters.