Ok, first some Tuesday night info. There was another Brooke sighting. Todd took off pretty much immediately, I fell off on the last of the little rollers, but then they stopped so Craig could fiddle with his new OCLV Lemond. Apparently he trusted the bike shop guys to adequately tighten the seatpost clamp. Anyway, I hopped back on with Todd, Kirk, Brooke, and some other guy. We were working pretty hard, and then I got dropped on the last hill. Is there a pattern here? So much for finishing with Brooke and impressing her with my sprinting style.
It turns out she had not been aware of the apres-ride hangout at that sandwich shop, and when duly notified she said sheíd drop by after going home for some money. Several people offered to spot her a sandwich. But no. I went to the sandwich shop and was hanging out for a bit waiting for anyone else to show up. Eventually Brad appeared, and we went in and began ordering our sandwiches. Then this girl came in and ordered a sandwich, and it took me at least 30 seconds to figure out it was Brooke, only wearing jeans and not wearing her helmet and shades. She sat down at the table with us (with her sandwich and *beer*) and said, hi, Iím Brooke. I said, Iím Henry. I left out the uh-huh, huhuh, huhuh part. I have now talked to Brooke Blackwelder. Sheís very nice. Then a bunch of other people showed up and the noise level increased rather a lot, and I had to go home and feed the stupid horses.
On to our feature presentation of the High Uintas Classic. Perhaps you will recall how I fared last year at this event (3rd in 5s, robbed in the Best Calves Contest) - but if not, please feel free to pause for some research in the archives.
Things were a little different this year. Iím a big fat cat 4 now, instead of a big fat cat 5. And we got to ride over the pass instead of up, down, up. My companion, instead of my little sister, was Allan Butler. He has moved back to IF for the summer from Salt Lake, and was forced to upgrade to a 2 after getting second in the Chums Classic in St. George earlier in the year. So he was whining about how hard it is to ride with the 1-2s. Waah. And he was hanging out with Brooke after I left Tuesday, and she wanted a massage on Friday afternoon (apparently heís studying massage therapy), but he had to go to the race with me instead. Double waah.
But luckily he has friends in Salt Lake with whom to crash, and we slept on someoneís floor there Friday night (ok, I did get a futon). Thus, in the morning we had only an hourís drive to the race start instead of, say, four had we started in IF. But first we went to breakfast with Allanís team, EDC - apparently that stands for Equipe del Corazon, equipment of the heart? The head team guy, Chuck, handed out new jerseys. Except to me, since Iím not on the team. Gosh, it would be nice to have new jerseys with sponsors on them. And go to breakfast with my large team before a race.
There we are at registration, signing in. It costs Allan 40 bucks because heís a 2 and didnít pre-register. Some guy walks up and hands his license to the official license checker (I think it was the Wyoming district rep). His license is big and green and laminated. Never seen one like that. The license checker says, "You canít do this race, itís not an invitational." That big green license means heís a pro! And canít do this race because itís not an invitational. I look over at him and give him my best "It really sucks to be you."
Some of the guys from Poky show up. Brian will be in my field, and Tyler will be riding with the 5s. I am bemused by this, since Tyler has won several Tuesday night finish sprints while I have seen only one. Brian points out the large bag of sand Tyler is dragging along behind him.
Itís time to start in Kamas, Utah, elevation 6400í. Weather is pretty nice, warming up as the day goes along. Allan goes off with the 1-2s. 3s go. Masters. Then us 4s. And itís a very small field, only 18. The 1-2s have 40, around 30-35 3s. Whatís up? Easier for me to win, right? Away we go. Some easy rollers at first, but the general trend is clearly upward. According to the profile, all the climbing is over by mile 31 of 79. Mile 21 is where I get dumped, and I grind along by myself for the next 10 miles, except where Tyler cruises past me (having started 10 minutes later, with the 5s) towing another 5 and the cat 5 support vehicles. Finally reaching the 10,700í top, where there is still a little bit of snow off on the side of the road, I look forward to coasting all the way to Evanston, Wyoming, elevation 6750í. Not quite. The descent is a wimpy thing where I only get up to 49, then it peters out to a gentle slope thatís easy to push a 12 down, but a tuck wonít do much good. Three guys catch me after the fast part of the descent is over. I am mildly surprised, thinking I was pretty much in last place going up the hill apart from the two guys I caught right at the top.
We work together, though it seems that only one other guy is doing much work. After some time we catch another group of four 4s. They are pretty much lollygagging along, so I pull through their group and we pick up a couple. Now weíre moving a little faster, though the nuances of a rotating paceline seem lost to a few souls. More miles, more crosswind, what fun. The cat 5 support vehicles come into view, with Tyler sandwiched in between them. Then the other guy who was working flats his front Cosmic, and I pull the slackers up to Tyler. Iím not sure if we are supposed to work with him or not. I call him a sandbagger some more. We end up working with him, since we are unlikely to drop him and also unlikely to all just sit on him.
Finally we get to Evanston, and in the first flat finish to a road race for me this year, I flat crush the other four in our little sprint. Brian won the sprint of the main group of seven, but they were preceded by five minutes by an alleged former cat 2. So Iím in ninth. However, I know that Brian is going home instead of doing the other two stages. Thatís me in eighth, about 3:43í. Money goes to six places in the 4s.
Allan goes with a teammate to secure one room out of our two reserved at the Days Inn, and I get on the bus to ride back to Kamas. On the freeway, it only takes an hour, and then it takes me less than an hour to drive to Evanston once more. I really need a girlfriend to drive the car around. And hand me water bottles. And other things. In Evanston once more, it turns out that we got both rooms because somebody else needed a bed. Fine, the special biker rate is only $35 per room. We hit the hot tub and then a Subway. Lounging around at the hotel, Allan pauses in his channel surfing at the "Pamela Lee - Raw" show on MTV. Turning to HBO, we see "Congo." Dumb. Then we find a Tia Carrera movie and watch that avidly. Itís called "Hollow Point" and itís probably in repeats for a month. I call Peter for a Kelly Canyon report, and he says that Dave won the Master Sport, Brooke won the Pro Women. Peter himself did not crash, a noteworthy event.
Up in the morning, we loll around. Do we have to go to the time trial? Oh, itís about that time. I stop by the car to get my jersey and shoes and roll over to the start, about a mile. Lucky thing I rode, because itís two minutes to my start time and I wouldnít have gotten a warmup. I remember this from last year, itís a big stinking hill. Two miles, 400í gain, two cattle guards. No problem. Then at the start I stomp away, and my rear wheel pops out. Again. Tweaked it. Again. By the time Iím moving once more, after the obligatory dumb-look-and-try-to-pedal-without-fixing-anything, the next guy is getting a 15-second count. I use up some adrenaline on the short flat and first steep section then wheeze up the hill. I get passed by my +15-second man. Sucking to be me. Back down the hill to the start, where Allan has just arrived. I get the room key from him, beat my wheel on the ground a few times at the car, and sulking in the room restore it to a semblance of trueness for the crit. Allan comes back not particularly happy either, though he caused his bike no harm, and we both lie around and sulk for a few hours.
Ok, time for my crit, 1:30pm, 15 laps, 19.5 miles. After the start, a left and a six-block climb. The worst is the second block, it levels out a bit after that. And a headwind, too. At the top, starting downhill, a left, one block, a left, two blocks, a right, two blocks, a left, four blocks downhill with a dip in the middle, one more left through the bumpiest corner and three blocks back to the start. Kind of a Utah-shaped course. Perusing the latest results, it seems that there were two other road-race-only cat 4s besides Brian, because I am in 7th after the time trial. My abysmal hillclimb time did not drop me into the next group of RR finishers, and I am only 25 seconds down from 6th. Hmmm. There is a 10 second time bonus prime, as well as a $20 prime. I will just have to see that I finish 25 seconds ahead of Mr. #174, current temporary holder of 6th place.
We start. Not even too hard, I am able to stay with the group on the climb. Others start getting dropped. I look around, and 174 is not with us, though his teammate is. Did I mention 174 rides for EDC? Iím in a group of six now, and as we go around, Chuck (spectating) tells the guy in my group to wait for Bob. Well, I donít want to wait for Bob, I want his place, so every time he says that I attack up the hill. I go for the 10-sec prime, too. Then Chuck says not to wait for Bob anymore, and I blow up too. The last five laps are by myself, except when the former cat 2 come cruising by. Apparently he got away on the first or second lap, when my head was down, and has lapped everyone behind me, causing them to be pulled. I am still sometimes in sight of the other five ahead, and he zips right up to them and laps them, too. Apparently I am no safety threat riding by myself, and I donít get pulled. But this means I only rode 14 laps? I donít know, my computerís wires came unspliced on one of the bumpy corners midway through. And my stupid hrm refused to ever work properly since before the TT in the morning.
My wheel is non-true again, I am pretty sure I am done, and I go take a late-check-out shower. Itís still a couple hours until Allanís start. More leisure. Then we mosey over. I walk the course again while the 3s are tearing it up. Itís kind of hot, somewhere over 80 I think.
Allan starts. Sometimes the 1-2s are bunched up, sometimes strung out. One of his teammates blows up and gets pulled, the other just barely hangs on and finishes without being lapped. Allan himself flats a lap before the free-lap rule expires, gets back in and comes across about 10th or so. I did move into 6th place in the 4s, so I get money to take home.
But now itís time for free pizza and beer across the street in the park. Not as much pizza as last year, I am only able to get mildly stuffed and have one raspberry beer. Outside for the raffle, and I win nothing. Allan gets a Joe Montana autographed collectorís edition dinner plate and a hat. Levi Leipheimer wins one of two pairs of $500 ski boots, three $250 pairs of ski boot liners are raffled off along with some liquor, a set of poles, about a million hats and headbands, and some gloves.
And now is the time for the Best Calves Contest. After watching with much interest the female portion of the competition, I zip up to right in front of the chief judge over the under-30 men, the mayorís wife. She grabs me from behind and starts rubbing herself upon myself. I am an early favorite. Itís possible she was a little drunk, but Iím positive that did affect her good judgement. Sheís pretty nice looking, but probably a little old for me. And the mayor might not be too pleased, either. Anyway, one by one the 18 contestants strut their calves, including the guy from Colorado Cyclist who actually has calves bigger than mine. But his are apparently not as aesthetically pleasing, because the promoterís mom grabs me first as a finalist. From there, Iím assured by the woman in charge of Evanstonís civic beautification, itís only a formality. I flex again, and walk off with a crisp $50. Woo hoo.
Then I pick up my $35 check for 6th, Allan gets nothing for 20th, and we get gas and blow out of town. I might have actually broken even that trip, if not for my rear rim, which I have now decided is beyond repair after I dinked with it tonight. Oh well, what can you do.