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Keep those cards and letters coming! Ma-Ne, what about the collegiate TTT I saw results for on r.b.r?

And now, on to your regularly scheduled race-report blather.

But first, what I did last Friday to prepare for the first mountain bike race of the season: rode 1 mile on top of snow. It's not terribly difficult if you let all the air out of your tires and then pedal very smoothly. It probably helped that the snow was somewhat compacted by the recently springlike weather. This is about 30 miles up in the hills near my house, where there are still roads suitable for snowmobile travel. I went up there with Peter looking for his roomie, and we took our bikes along. Didn't find the roomie, but on the way back (nearing dark) we saw a beaver, a moose, some sandhill cranes, and a small herd of elk. Then we went back to my house and watched _The Blues Brothers_ on TNT, only I got annoyed at all the missing swear words and had to show him how much funnier the movie is with them in there, from my copy of it. By this time it had started to snow and blow outside. Great, I have to put my snow tires back on again, just like driving to Salt Lake for Beer-Bike. By the time I got to bed it was after midnight.

Then I arose at four to be sure and get a good parking spot on the island. The roads were not even snow-covered despite the half-inch elsewhere on the ground, and that was only around Idaho Falls and northwards. Once I got headed south, there was no snow at all, leaving me to drive all the way down on my pencil-eraser tires. Urk.

I did get there plenty early. As one might suspect from the snow, it wasn't too warm. Nabbed a decent spot, picked up my number, noted my downhill start time, then went and sat in the car for an hour. Woo hoo, we're having fun now.

Eventually I got out the bike, put on several layers of bike clothing, and rode off to find my destiny. Or the downhill, whichever came first. I found the downhill course and made it to the top just before the pro/experts started blasting down, yelling at those unfortunates standing in the middle of the course. Goofed off for another half-hour, trying to stay a little loose by riding back and forth on a flat quarter-mile section of the course above the downhill start.

The course: all of the 9-mile "beginner loop" cas safely be described as non-technical, in that it's all jeep trail. Not to say it's easy, the sandy climbs suck the life right out of you. The worst descent was the downhill, and there were only two turns and a couple rutted sections. Our local Idaho studmuffin DH specialist got beaten by some velo-kilo guy from California - Ma-Ne, I didn't see you there, did I? Winning time was 49 seconds, my fairly uneventful run was a 1'06". Still good enough for third place, for which I eventually got a ribbon and some of those handlebars with the built-in barends.

Shivered in the car some more, and then it was time to start the cross-country portion of the day's festivities. I decided to ride as a Sport rather than Clydesdale, because I was stupid. The Clydesdale weight limit was supposed to be 210, but they didn't have a scale and the promoter said I looked close enough. Still, I had registered as a Sport so that's where I stayed. The Sports took off in a cloud of dust soon after the relatively large pro/expert field, and I was soon choking on the dust of the leaders. You know, I'm still not a climber. I hurt my way around once and then again, and came up with 15th/29, a time of 1:05' - best Sport time was a little over an hour. Experts did another little loop somewhere, so they took around two hours.

Shivered through the award ceremony till I got my ribbon, and then I was out of there.

later, hah