The next event was the Oregon Trail Classic, round three of the Nike/Wild Rockies [insert sponsors here] MTB series. My goal for this one was to exploit my two-count-them-two training rides and beat Rich, who had won round one (the Barking Spider Bash, you will recall). Round two had been in Kennewick, WA, the previous weekend, while I was in Draper. Luckily, it seems that almost no one from Boise, especially in the Clydesdale class, made that trip. It's probably four hours from Boise, so it would have been eight for me. I need a stage race to drive that far, not a one-hour mountain bike race.
I drove over to Boise the night before (Saturday, race on Sunday) and stayed in Anna's spare bedroom. Anna is going to give her Eddy to her favorite bike mechanic who is leaving town. Anna decided she was burned out and would not go to the mountain bike race because it might rain. Anna has a boyfriend. Oh well.
The morning did not look promising. It was gray in Boise, and there were some nasty squalls on the way to Baker City, OR. But by the time I got there, it was perfectly sunny, and not even windy. I tried to call Anna to berate her for bailing without even a good reason like actual rain, but couldn't get hold of her. Then the wind picked up before the race, and it was not so much a fun thing to do, calling Anna.
It seems that I pick up more dust under the contacts when I am standing around than when I am riding. Funny, that. So I rode around some. Talked to some guys from Pocatello that had camped there overnight, and they said the squalls I drove through had just moved out a few hours before. But the ground was quite dry, as the swirling dust clouds would attest. Go figure.
Again there was a cattle-chute start, one minute between groups. Clydesdales are the 18th group to start, just before the little beginner kids who always bunch up in front of us before the start, asking each other, "Do we go now?" But we get started anyway, and I'm keeping an eye on my buddy Rich.
This shorter, stocky guy takes off from the start, and I might as well go after him, right? Right. I catch him. Then the climb gets steeper, and he passes me. So much for the two-training-rides-and-I-crush-everyone theory. But nobody else goes by, so the theory is not totally without merit. Perhaps I should try even more training? Maybe so.
This is another race course in a dirt bike park, and there are three downhill ravines which are like bobsled runs. Fun to ride, but again I would prefer not to be racing through them. There is even one which goes uphill, and it is decidedly less fun. I lose sight of the guy I am chasing for a bit, then make some time on him and can see him again. More training would be nice, I'm thinking.
And here is the last bobsled run before the finish (still a couple miles out, I suppose). This one has a big dive to enter it, and I am six inches too far to the right. Which puts my front wheel into a bit of a cavity instead of the accepted line of travel. So it stops, taking a bit of a side load somewhere, as I continue on my merry way down the ravine. Over the bars, in a ball and cushioning the landing of my bike generously with my body I go. My butt is dirty, but nothing hurts so badly that I don't try to get right back on and ride. Whereupon I discover the result of the aforementioned side load, my front wheel in a bit of a Pringle shape. It doesn't look unrideable after I beat the appropriate spots on the ravine wall. As about 20 people fly down the appropriate riding line a couple feet away.
I slap it back in, and it rubs a litttle, but shouldn't it be mostly downhill to the finish? It mostly is. The bobsled run is a short one, and then it's a long fairly straight bomb run down to the little hills near the finish, up and down some dirt bike whoop-de-dos. And I finish. I talk to Mark, a former Clydesdale who lost 20 pounds and won the beginner 27-34 today, and when I turn around I see Rich. Who came in first?
It turns out the stocky fellow came in first, then a guy named Dan who must have gone by while I was beating my wheel on the dirt, followed by good old me and then Rich. So I did, I did beat him, but two other guys beat us. Hmm. At least I get a podium trip, accompanied by another custom medal and a Zipp Speed Weaponry t-shirt. Does Zipp make mountain bike stuff, or was someone cleaning up the bike store leftovers conveniently while providing prizes?
Now it's still very windy. I hang out for a while waiting to talk to Ron and Ronda, but they are very important and many other people must speak with them quite urgently. Eventually, now cold and dusty-eyed, I retreat to my car and leave with only a quick hug from Ronda.
Then I Zipp along home, leaving a sarcastic answering-machine message for Anna along the way.