In a moment, the Herriman RR report (what a boring name for a race). But first, a word or two about my new mountain bike.
I still haven't really beat on it, but did get a chance to fiddle with settings on Friday night. Jacked the seat up to where it needs to be, and now there is 1/2" above the if-you-can-see-this-line-the-post-is-out-too-far line. Hmmm. Ground away the lawyer lips on the fork, so it really quick-releases now. Took off the spoke protector/frisbee and wheel reflectors, and looked at the rims and tires. The spokes seem a bit looser than my other wheels, maybe I'll tighten them up. But the tires are kevlar-bead, just like my other tires (and the same tread patterns too). The cogs are a little different, though still an 11-28 stack. My older XT set has four loose and four on a spider, with little holes through all the teeth; whereas the new stack only has two loose and the rest riveted together, and no holes so it's _much_ heavier. Like that matters. The new SPD pedals seem to work fine with my old cleats, though I've heard the cut-away body design can make your feet hurt it your shoes aren't stiff enough - the shoe rests only on the cleat and not at all on the pedal. We'll see. Mounted the pump brackets on the bottle mount under the part-that-would-be-the-down-tube, and the computer went in the normal location. Messed with the shocks some but I really have no clue if they are set up "right" for me, I'll have to just ride it hard and see how it feels.
Ok, on to Herriman. It turns out that Herriman, Utah, is at the base of the Kennecott Copper Corporation Mine, which has perhaps the most impressive tailing pile in the world. They dumped so much stuff off the top of this mountain that it's now a plateau for a good mile. And such a pretty orange color, too. So the finish line is on one road that runs along near the pile. At the top of a hill, who would have guessed? Start was a ways down the hill, so we didn't get to quite do six full laps (missing maybe 1/8 of a mile). Nine mile course again, and the 3/4s get to go 54 miles. 1/2/3s do 81 miles, and they were all bitching about it being their longest ride of the year. From the start there is a little rise before a crosswind downhill to a gentle turn, another crosswind straight/flat to an easy 90 to a downwind flat - whee! - another 90 through town and it's into the crosswind, uphill gradually at first (serious false flat) then the grunt up the last 400m to the finish. Not as bad a hill as the one at Bluffdale, it seems.
Our field was 32, and I'm thinking, great, the sandbagger 3s who don't want to ride with the 2s will still have no trouble dumping me up that hill the first lap. Weather was a bit odd, like the course. Gusty windy, mostly sunny and just warm enough to make me not want to wear leg warmers, just arm warmers, two jerseys and shorts. I got good and chilled by the end, though it wasn't ever really actually _cold_ cold. Off we go after the masters (who ride seven laps). Two guys take off pretty much immediately and nobody chases them at all. They stay away the whole race, hurting each other, ten minutes up on the field and totally out-of-sight-out-of-mind. This was either brilliant teamwork or blatant stupidity on the part of the field. We just kind of lollygag around the first lap, I am just lazily turning over my 12 and pull the field on the downhill and downwind legs, then look for a draft on the uphill upwind part. I don't find one, but I don't really need to fight for a place in the echelon because it's moving at a whopping 11 mph! Of course, my brand new HRM is still beeping to tell me I'm out of my target range at >160. Well, not _my_ target range, I haven't set it yet as 80-160 seems like a good starting place. A really nasty false flat, here. Up the hill, and I drift to the back but don't totally get dropped. Surprise! Down the hill, and there just seems to be a lack of initiative on the part of everyone. We're just goofing off for the next couple laps. I make it up the hill in the tail of the pack twice more, except now mysteriously the field has dwindled to 12. The others couldn't keep up on the downwind sections? We pick up a 3 that had tried to go after the two leaders; he joins a couple others that look like 3s in sitting at the back with me, looking for a wheel on which to sit.
Up the hill again, down the hill again. One of the 3s, apparently bored, takes a small flyer on the crosswind flat. I'm also bored so I wind up the 12 and cruise on by him. After a while I sit up and look back, and they have totally let me go. Fine. I have a little fun on the downwind, trying not to wear myself out for when they catch me again. It doesn't happen by the time I turn upwind, so I now take it really easy so as not to get caught and dropped on the hill. It still doesn't happen, and I crest the hill in sole possession of third place. Well, I didn't know how many were in front of me, figured it was maybe more than two since nobody seemed at all interested in chasing me. Might as well cruise the next two laps, maybe I can stay away? I don't really think so, but continue at a moderate pace. Still stay away, this time I go a little harder on the downwind part, it being my favorite and all. I'm still expecting to be caught, as I ride by a master and the second woman (racer) I saw that day. She says there are only two, and I tell her she must be winning then, because we already passed the other one. Like she doesn't know this? Anyway, she sucks wheel for a bit but then drops off when I go by a master whose pace is more to her liking. I really wasn't trying to drop her, didn't even make her pull. No draft anyway, of course. Haven't seen the Merckx babe again, darn it - but I think she lives in Boise, of course. This time (finishing up lap #5) a guy from my field comes cruising along and catches me at the base of the hill, blows me away up the hill. As if he thinks it's the last lap or something. Well, if he doesn't want to play nice...I zoom by him on the downhill, put time on him on the downwind. Last lap, and I have not been caught by the field. I am now quite sorry that I didn't bring any food to munch, as I explode big time after the last time on the downwind flat. Held about 40 for a while, though. That was fun. The same guy shows up again at the base of the hill and stomps up it again, only this time it _is_ the last lap. I coast to a stop near the free bagels and he comes by and says he did think #5 was the last one. What an idiot. About 30 seconds after I finish, the field starts straggling in. They got to sprint with each other up the hill, good for them.
Still not knowing how many others were in front of me, I go to the car and put all my clothes on and am still cold. After an hour and a half 3/4s results are posted, and there I am in fourth. Woo hoo! It's another hour until awards are handed out, and I miss out on getting my entry fee back. What I do get are 3 (I think) upgrade points, a water bottle, medal, dinosaur bar tape, and a box of Tiger Sport bars that are like frozen half-size Power Bars without the flavor. They are probably a year old, being the result of a bike shop cleanup effort like most of the other prizes. Steve Johnson, a master's national champion, wins the masters race, to no one's surprise. Some mountain biker guy with a gnarly goatee wins the 1/2/3s - I saw this morning on r.b.r. that some of the Utah big guns are at the Vuelta de la Bisbee.
So. My first placing as a 4, and in a 3/4s race at that. And all just because the field was brain dead. Woo hoo. Now if only I had some clue for a topic involving software project management for the paper I'm supposed to present in my last class Wednesday night, I'd be happy. Well, happi_er_ anyway, let's not get into full happiness conditions here.