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Maybe I should be grinding out more of these here reports, eh?

The Galena Grinder. A fun little course. Up doubletrack road, then rolling sidehill singletrack, a little more doubletrack, more singletrack, then doubletrack to a creek crossing followed by a little known singletrack loop used in, I think it was, could it have been, the 1988 NORBA Nationals.

Drove over with Dave in the morning, plenty early. Way early, in fact, thanks to a sporting Corsica driver who wanted to be a front door and the wide-open stretches of highay in the Idaho desert. Checked in and got my back-tag - getting to enjoy this comp thing. Rich is still in Alaska fishing, so I'm not expecting much competition. Dave is gunning for his class points leader, Don. Don. Dave. Don. Dave. No, that's Dan and Dave. Sorry. I would like to hammer this short 8-mile course, just because two years ago I "lost" to someone I beat by about ten minutes due to the infamous weght/time handicapping. Is that a good reason? All right, just for fun then, because it is so short. Not that there isn't a bit of vertical. Sports do two laps, experts three, but beginner classes just one. Heh.

So there was a standard multi-lap start order, experts followed closely by sports followed by beginners. And we are off, and the first part is really dusty, but not too steep. After a bit it gets steeper, and thus less dusty both because I am not close to so many people and because everyone is also going slower. Still grinding out a few passes on the steeper slope, but not as many as before. Then, just before the entrance to singletrack, my contact takes a vacation. Must be climbing too hard and/or not drinking enough. Sure, it's hot, but hey, didn't this happen the last time I did this race? Hmm. The official permanent record does not reflect this event or non-event.

Therefore I was somewhat conservative on the downhill sidecut singletrack, annoying the people behind me. Call me Mr. No-depth-perception, and the shadows weren't helping either. Then we would get to a wider place, and they would blow by. But at the next climb, I would pass them again - for how did I get in front of them if not by outclimbing them in the first place? All sorts of this kind of yo-yoing going on.

Eventually that got kind of boring, but things did sort themselves out with a longer descent that allowed everyone to get far in front of me. At the bottom-bracket-ruining creek crossing, I opted to ride across the handy bridge instead of replacing my first cartridge BB. Then after a somewaht flat road it was through the little (I mean really little) loop of 1988 NORBA National fame, when Johnny T won it all and Juli Furtado was just a mid-pack sport rider, and on to the finish.

As expected, not much competition for me. Dave's bike could sense that he was doing well and so it had a mechanical snit-fit, dropping him about five places. After a nice plate of vegetarian chili bean soup, I got bored with sitting around so I started helping Ron set up for awards. After lining up all the prize bags, it was my job to collect them as prizes were handed out and return them to the safety of the Rubbermaid tub from whence they emerged. For the bags are labeled by place and class, so all Ron has to do is fill them up beforehand and whip out the prizes as he reads off the results. Except that the coiled-up new tires are a pain to get out of the bags. And what did I get for first place? Well, a tire. And a custom medal. Ron is also instituting a "killer beginner prize" since someone complained that beginners never get cool prizes (upgrade if you want good prizes! duh). One beginner class is selected at random, and an expert-level prize goes to first place.

Well, that was over. Now, for fun I tore down the finish fence, fending off more than one indiividual who wanted to know if one little 4-foot Nike banner would be missed. Um, yeah, they get used at the other races, you see.

Finished that up, then we had to blaze back home in order to catch le Tour (TIOOYK) on the deuce. Not so fun in the construction zone. I think I bent a rim there. Not a bike rim, either. But (only after cupping the tire) a few taps from Mr. Sledgehammer seem to have straightened things out nicely.