After all the climbing fun at Twin Falls, I was not looking forward to this one. Two laps on a course that wasn't very fun last year when I only had to do one. But it is pretty short per lap, anyway.
Up the road to Bogus Saturday morning in 30 minutes, it was fun until I got stuck behind traffic. The Audi is, oh, a little, faster uphill than the GTI. Hmm. Check in, my race doesn't start until 12:30, hey, there are some dual slalom entries to put into the computer. Whee, fun.
Beginners start first at 10:30, doing only one lap. Pro/semi-pros are separated from experts from this race since it's an AMBC event, they all go three laps at 12:30 followed by sports who do two laps. Not a large rider turnout, bad luck for Ron. The weather was even pretty good, sunny with a breeze that was only a bit chilly if you weren't moving around. Oh well.
Put the bike together, spun around with Rich a bit. Ignored a small rubbing sound. Time to go stage.
We take off from the base area, around the lodge, across a parking lot and drop down onto doubletrack. Whee! More fun than last year when it was very dusty and I couldn't see anything. Down through an equipment boneyard on the doubletrack, Rich passes me when I wash out in some sand and dab on a turn, then the first little climb and I get him back. Some doubletrack rollers, I'm motoring along, maybe feeling better than last week, when SssSssSss goes the back tire. Hmm. Better fix it, I guess. I pull over and do so as everyone goes by: Rich, Mark, vets, juniors, women. Pump it with my mini-pump and notice almost too late that the bead didn't seat on the over by the weld. Take some more time, pump it again, slap it in the dropouts, take off again. I get to the start of the singletrack, going down into the deep hole, and SssSssSss again. Looks like I didn't fix the root cause of the first flat, though I felt for stickers and glanced at the rim tape.
Of course I only carry one spare tube as a rule, so now I am down to either walking out or trying a Speedpatch kit of approximately three years age that has been floating in my seat pack. Not that much a walking fan, so I slap a patch on the identified hole. Maybe now I should try to figure out the pattern behind these flats? Perhaps it has something to do with a certain small rubbing sound. Made by a brake pad pushed a little out of alignment by rear wheel insertion, rubbing a hole in the tire sidewall and tube. Well, it's been couple of years since I did that last, I guess I'm due. I can fiddle with the pad, hopefully, but that will still leave me with a patched tube and a tire with a sidewall cut. I suck a PowerGel while contemplating the fact that I don't seem to have the pieces-of-old-tire I thought were included in my seat bag of tricks, and no dollar bills either. Perhaps an emptied PowerGel packet would do?
Yes, it would. Pump up the tire again, insert, align brake pads carefully, and off I go. It's not like I am racing against anyone now, more like a nice little ride where I just don't get to stop. Twisty singletrack down to the bottom of "the hole" but I manage not to hug any trees.
Start up the climb - purported to be "6 minutes, as slow as I could go in granny-gear" by acquaintance (skinny expert) Paul Fleming - only I might as well walk, I'm not going to catch anybody. I am expecting to get lapped by pros, but it happens a little sooner than I think, before I am out of the hole two go by. Another just after that, and pretty regularly thereafter. After the hole comes some rolling descent to the base of the next climb, alleged by a certain Mr. Fleming to be only "12 minutes, as slow as I could" yadda yadda yadda. I walk again, this time because my chain is making dreadful gritty noises, and worse, trying to remain attached to the small ring in a chainsucky-fashion under climbing torque. No fun.
I push most of the way up the climb, getting back on and trying to vary torque delivery in order to avoid chainsuck-imminent noises. Past the upper lodge, onto last year's downhill course which is mostly fire road/cat track down to the base. I now think that, having done one lap, I might as well do another and finish in third place since I only Mark and Rich. But there is one little last climb that Ron added to the end just to use his flyover. Instead of going directly to the start/finish at the end of the downhill, the course travels up to the top of the dual slalom course, over and down a bit to go over the flyover, then up a ski slope (I hate those) around a knob to come to the finish down a steep new piece of trail, under the flyover.
*Now* I have completed one lap. I'm so silly that just grab a handup PowerGel and go do it again, but without having the flats this time. I even catch a couple people despite not being able to use my little ring. And of course many more three-lap riders pass me, probably frightened that my chain will explode and riddle them with fragments.
I finish only 40 minutes down on Mark, who beat Rich by some much smaller amount. Supposedly there was another in our class, but I never saw him and he didn't show up on the tagboard so he didn't exist.
Then to work running qualifying for the dual slalom, only without the timer-to-computer cable that makes it all so easy. We end up having to write plate numbers on the timer tape and then enter the times manually - actually the preferred method for downhill because we don't have enough wire to run a top light and the bottom light to the same timer, but with the computer connected to the timer it's just enter the numbers of the riders and tell them to go. Of course every racer gets two runs to qualify (one on each course) so it's about 10pm before all the times are entered. I've had a long day, but after heading down the hill (23 minutes - no traffic except for almost- a-deer, woo hoo) and a shower I go over to the office to print off a set of points results.
Sunday is all work and no play, up the hill in 25 minutes, help with downhill and dual slalom, yadda yadda yadda.
Down the hill in 20 minutes, need to head home but I'm hungry and there is also a basketball game still on, hopefully. Stop in at a sportsbar for a burger and the last three minutes of game six, what timing. Then awaay, home.