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The "L" is for "Late," or possibly "Loser." Probably not "Long," thank goodness.

Way to go, Alan! Back in the racing scene! Keep those cards and letter coming. And Manny, quite the sterling defense of NCCA representation.

Turning back the clock to last Thursday, I finally took Kim up on her offer to go rock climbing. Early subscribers to AHSTHU will recall that she made this offer when I talked to her last year after pre-riding the Kelly Canyon course. Since I still am not swimming because of my road rash, I went up to Kelly's for a little ride on my mountain bike and then caught up with Kim and Mo and some other rock-climbing fools. Borrowed a harness and climbed myself silly. That's one climb. I did pretty well for hiking boots, and tried to use legs more than arms. Still, I got the shakes at the most difficult part of the climb, right near the top, and had to bail.

Deep in the mists of last weekend was the Galena Challenge, near Sun Valley. Last year it was known as the Galena Grinder, a much more interesting name. This year the race also went the opposite direction around the eight-mile course. A single eight-mile lap was the order of the day for everyone but the Sr Spt Men and all Experts (they did two), which would have been me had I not been racing Clydesdale as usual. Experts get to do three laps next year. Remind me not to upgrade.

Jim's friend from Boise, Bob Wood, was participating in this event as a first-time Clydesdale. Previously he raced Vet Expert, so right away I figured I was going for second place. Turns out I was almost right. But first, a course description. Dusty. Climb for the first two miles or so (my computer sensor was flopping around, prior to the zip-tie breaking as I put it in the car to go home), then some downhill singletracks with several switchbacks thrown in for good fun. After that, some up and some down, a hub-deep 30-foot-wide creek crossing, more ups and downs, and that's all. I finished somewhere under an hour. Bob went by me and about eight other guys right before the downhill singletrack started, on which I was being slow and squirrely anyway. So he finished about fifth among one-lappers, and I came in about 20 people later.

After another results snafu was sorted out: Bob got first, a computer and bar ends; 272-lb Duke got second, a hat, socks, and bar ends; and I got third, some Scott sunglasses. Yes, thanks to his weight "advantage" Duke was able to finish up to seventeen minutes behind me and still get handicapped ahead of me. He is significantly slower than I am, but eight miles was not enough time for me to put over 17 minutes on him. I was really beyond caring by the time this was all over, so I didn't even look at the calculated times to see how close things were. I had the second-place prizes for a while, and the hat was stylish though I typically don't wear hats. But the sunglasses I ended up with can be angled down to prevent mud from flying up into my eyes - hey, new mud shades. Something I can use a couple times a year.

As a result of the creek crossing I had to repack my BB and get a new chain. Got some new bearings with the chain so I repacked the BB again. Tuesday I rode the Mackay (White Knob Challenge for you Freudians) course with Super Dave, and my front tire was doing washouts in the sandy spots, so I got a new front tire to go with the fairly new rear tire. I sure am working the club discount at Idaho Mountain Trading. Now if only my brakes would stop sucking so bad, then I wouldn't have to get new ones.

Eddy, on the other hand, is being just wonderful despite his abusive owner. The shame of scratched STI levers! His original DA chain shows no signs of wear at just over 2000 miles, and he is just about ready for a third set of Michelins. Probably should get those sometime before Lo-to-Ja.

I am happy to report that I am no longer wearing Band-Aids regularly. Still have solid scabs on the elbow and ankle pavement burns, but they are shrinking. Other scabs are mostly gone. Woo hoo.

That's about it. I have actually been riding every day this week, starting Monday. That's a first for the year, five days in a row including the spin after work today with Super Dave. Alternating road and mountain bikes.

White Knob Challenge tomorrow, my first chance to compare a time with last year since the Kelly Canyon course was different. Gonna carpool with Super Dave, huh huh huh.

later, hah