Only one race this particular weekend, but I did get some extra riding in.
It was the Audi's first bike race road trip, since only one flavor of racing was on the agenda. So I tucked Eddy in the trunk and was off. Kind of a boring drive, I took the interstate; the Audi will go so fast so easily that it's safer points-wise to just set the cruise at a reasonable pace and crank up the tunes.
Saturday helped Ron with some trailer wiring, the house was in a tizzy over his impending departure to Seattle to prepare for the race there the following weekend. Around noon I took off and went on a ride with Mark, a Clydesdale competitor (won last week). About 30 miles, sort of chilly and breezy, a few sprinkles. Not what one expects when one is in the Banana Belt (Boise). He says he will be at the race tomorrow. Tried to hook up with Rich for a beer, but he wasn't answering his phone after going for a mountain bike ride. Later claimed to be out puttering with his landscaping or something.
Sunday morning, and I suppose I should have reminded Mark about the "spring forward" because he showed up about an hour too late to register - as we were lining up to start. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a fellow Poky bike club member, Dave Gates, in my race. He had even brought his wife over to ride in the women's race, too.
The course was an out-and-loop-and-back-and-past, but the last and-back had been lopped off. It still went out and around and back past the start line, but instead of going out a couple miles and finishing back at the start, someone found a nice hill to finish on out there. About 35 miles. Rolling hills, partly cloudy and chilly with wind. Yay. At least it wasn't snowing, and the finish was only a little hill, not like last week's race.
1/2/3s go off again, followed by us 4/5s once more, and the women/masters bring up the rear as before. Numbers seem about the same as last week, maybe 20 in each field. The start is neutral for a mile to cover some cattle guards and racing begins after crossing some railroad tracks. And we are off. Pace doesn't seem to be all that high, and I hang out in the back trying to find a shield from the crosswind. Not much going on, maybe a couple attacks that get chased down in a hurry.
After about, oh, ten miles, someone calls for a pee break! What's with that, did they forget to go before the start *and* were drinking heavily the night before? Of course the neutral pee break is seen by a couple guys as an opportunity to get away, and so it breaks down with much cursing on the part of the unsuccessful pee-rs. (I am neither an attacker or a person with a full bladder here.) Some fragmentation, and I have to go around some people to maintain contact with the leaders. They should be pulling me up there, why aren't these guys in better shape, I know I'm in pretty lousy condition.
One guy (must be a mountain biker) decides to put the hammer down and tows us all for a while. Front group is down to ten, and surprise, I'm in it, and so is friend Dave. Presumably the rest of the field has splintered rather than organizing a chase. I take the occasional pull, and suck a lot of wheel. Turning back towards the start, there a couple little climbs which are enough to send me off the back with a couple others. Luckily the chasees slow after the hill and I can get back on. A caught 2 now hanging on the back of our pack says, "good job". Hey, thanks.
Now as we head over the railroad tracks, I'm waiting for attacks all the way to the finish, which will be mostly uphill. So I'll wave bye-bye. Sure enough, splintering does occur, and I'm chasing for 6th place. Not too far back, but pretty well out of reach. Dave is up there with the leaders, looking pretty strong. They are attacking each other, I'm gaining on 6, what will happen next. I catch 6, we suck each other's wheel but don't work together, and then I let him go up the final 200m. Dave looks good but gets stuck with 4th out of the front 4, (haven't seen that many finishes of winners on inclines) and I straggle in with 7th 20 seconds later.
Pretty good result for not much training, I think, and I coast back down to the car. Hang out with Becky at George's [bike shop] for a bit, then go buy Ronda some cookies for a birthday present. Becky gets off work and wants to ride, so I tow her for 20 miles or so, being social sometimes, but she likes to draft into the wind (which seems to be both out and back) so it's hard to talk to her. Then we take Ronda out to a nice birthday dinner, but can't get to a movie before she has to be home for child duties.
Monday I check into the dual-slalom timing equipment at the Wild Rockies office, and Ronda wants to fly me to Seattle to supervise its use. Well, twist my arm. Leave way too late to get any work done back at my office.
Although I do decide to take the twisty two-lane way home, give the Audi a workout, and make it in just over three hours despite small-town speed limits and encountering bus traffic heading home from the INEL. Whee!
Bonus: the first Tuesday nighter of the year was, you guessed it, last night (being Tuesday). Quite the turnout, there were plenty to split into our new-bike-club-planned two groups. Zach was there, on his cross bike (to take it easy on us?), and Todd Smith is riding again. Peter even made it down though I didn't offer him a ride since my bike was still in the Audi and I was too lazy to put it in the GTI (and go get tags for the GTI since it's expired). Craig, Devin, Kevin, Brian, Rob, Matt (Zach's brother, apparently on the Zach training program), Jamie, me and a couple others (but no Kirk) made up the "A" group, while the "B" group had almost as many including a tandem and Dave Gates' wife (who he dropped off, didn't stay to ride himself).
The pace was Zach-inspired, as we let him tow us all along for a while. No really big explosions on the hills, I got gapped just coming into Inkom but the group slowed after that last climb, partly to pass the "B"s who had left 15 minutes earlier. So I got back on, and hung on some more past Pebble Creek and back through Inkom. There was a bit of a headwind, but I had been sucking enough wheel that I wasn't bothered. So I attacked on a slight climb right before a descent. The jump itself felt pretty good, but after that was a lot of pain and slowness, though I did manage to get off pretty far and not get caught until a ways after the descent. Then I sat in some more and waited to be dropped at the freeway overpass, as the slowed pace seemed to indicate a resting up for attacks there. But I didn't quite get dropped, and was soon hanging out again. Surprise. Coming to the sprint, I decided to take a flyer from about 200m since I wasn't feeling all that fast-fast, and held off Todd (barely) at the line. Can't complain about that.