This race was looking doubtful - and I was going into stage-race withdrawal too - as it snowed two feet on Bald Mountain pass the Tuesday before the race. But I called the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and they told me that the road had been open and would be plowed, should be fine. Well, okay. Reserved a room at the Super 8 for Saturday.
I decided to drive down in the morning rather than look for a place to stay around Park City, so I was up at five and off. My disk wheel and aero bars marked the first intrusion of bike stuff into the back seat of the Audi, but it didn't seem to take offense - they stayed on the floor and off the leather. Got to Kamas, signed up, talked to Allan and Chuck and Rob and Paul Q. Looked like a nice day, sunny but I tucked my armwarmers in a pocket just in case. Four PowerGels in the other side, and a spare bottle in the middle. Full pockets.
It was nearly 11 before the 4s started, followed only by the 5/competitive citizens. Women, juniors, and rec. citizens went early, but they were going only 50 miles (over the pass, to the North Slope Ranger Station). Everybody else got to continue another 30 miles in to Evanston. 1-2s went at ten, with three pros mixed in for fun. Next year, it was announced, this will be a Pro-1-2 (open) category, so take note all you pros looking to tune up for the Tour. Almost 40 of the 1-2s. Not so many 3s, 20 or so. Two groups of masters, about 15 each. 4s, 26 according to roll call but some masters seem to have switched fields as 32 finishers were listed on the results. 5s/CCs, whoever was left, didn't get a count. Chuck had said there were 90 preregistered, then the mayor announced afterwards a total count of over 200, bigger than last year.
Well, off we go. The traditional warmup followed by the wheezing up the hill. At least there was not a Harley club using the road this year, so it was much quieter and easier to breathe. There were a couple other big boys in the field, I marked them for future amusement purposes. The rollers started, and whoops, there went a big boy off the back. Not me this time, though. Feeling not so sick as last year helps.
Some mountain biker started surging though, and spun me and several others out the back. A guy from Denver Spoke (hey Tricky, you know him?) seemed to be riding about my pace, so we pseudo-worked together for a while. We caught a few people, stragglers from the masters apparently. Then it got steeper and I let him go on ahead to scout things out. Climb, climb, catch a few, get caught by a few. I think only two other dropped 4s came by me, together, then one totally blew when they got 50 yards up the road from me and I didn't see him again. A big boy in a blue jersey was visible at the beginning of the climb, as Denver Spoke made a break for it, but I didn't catch him on the climb.
Some snow by the side of the road, as one might expect. We had been warned about the snowmobilers parking in the road and zipping across, but I didn't have any trouble with them. At the KOM spot I saw the 5s lead car behind me. But then the downhill started. There were a few wet spots on the way down, but they were drying out mostly and it seemed about the same as previous years. A little chilly, but not enough to put on the armwarmers. When the descent leveled out a bit the 5s car went around me, followed by a single 5, and then the follow vehicle. Hmm, a sandbagger maybe? Never saw any other 5s.
After the coasting downhill part comes the pedaling slightly downhill part, so that's what I did. Caught some people. Most of them didn't seem to have any interest in sucking my wheel, either. Can't understand that, because there was a nasty cross-headwind, most of them were blown, just plodding along. Hmm, a 50 mile time trial, how fun. Still catching people. There goes a 4, and then a master hopped on my wheel. He seemed to be pretty happy back there as I hammered along in the 12 at 0.0 mph (computer wasn't working, sorry). In fact I asked him when I sat up for my last PowerGel and he replied that yes, he was pretty happy with the draft.
Legs are pretty heavy going up the slightest rises now, but it's getting close to the finish and there are still a few people in sight that look catchable. Wind is picking up a bit, and when I sit up and the master takes a pull the pace drops way down. Oh well. Aha, three more 4s are caught, and I don't make any particular effort to slow down and tow them to the line. Denver Spoke and blue big boy are among them, tapped out at the end.
The road widens to four lanes, and soon the kilo-to-go sign is in sight. There is one more guy I can get, but the master says I've been good to him and sits up. Half a kilo to go, I pass one more dragging 4, two more are almost within reach, but nobody to sprint against.
I head straight for the massage tent, learning from last year. There seems to be not as much of a line - this is because the masseurs are charging instead of practicing. Oh well, and me without my wallet. So I slurp some bananas and sport drinks and head for the bus. First I have to go leave Eddy in a storage unit so the bus won't be clogged with the bikes of people who are returning to Evanston, and I barely make it onto the second-last available seat on the bus. Try to take a little nap, but sitting right behind me is apparently the winning 4, an expert-class mountain biker from Colorado. (aka sandbagger) He is trying to make time with the girl sitting with him, and will *not* shut up about his life, team sponsorship, NCS races he's going to, how other 4s don't know how to race, his speeding ticket on the way here, the best recovery foods and their relationship to training philosophy. She asks about using a friend's aero bars for the TT, which sparks another discourse. I would smack him, but it probably wouldn't be nice.
Finally the bus ride is over, and I drive back to Evanston. Check in at the Super 8, shower, grab a Subway, check out the results posted at Depot Square. 17th out of 32, 18 minutes behind the motormouth. It's 40 seconds to 16th, but then several minutes up to 15th. Cash to 6 places? Oh well. My TT start is 8:19am, don't forget that. Drive the TT course, then back to the hotel, snooze and watch tv, go to bed.
Up at 7, out to the TT course. Hey, it's wet out here, what's the deal with that? Not too warm either. But the morning shower seems to have moved off leaving the roads wet but with no further precipitation. The TT, big news, is a flat out-and-back 9.3-miler. Yay, no 2-mile killer climb to the airport mesa. Well, pretty flat, there is one little rise on the way out.
Assemble the toys, go warm up a little. Armwarmers seem to be barely sufficient, but they will do, I suppose. I turn my STI brazeon adjuster the usual two clicks to account for the 7-sp freewheel on the disc. Two clicks the wrong way, it turns out (been a while?), so non-positive shifting was a minor annoyance during the ride. I did make sure the quick-release was fairly tight, though, and at the appointed time did not try a kilo start. Gently up through the gears works well, and the computer even decided to work this morning. So I'm cruising at about 29 on the way out, feeling pretty good. Pass my minute man, who my 30-second man has just passed, about halfway out. Pass the 30-second man a mile from the turnaround. Minute-thirty-man looks to be a better time trialist than these two, he's nowhere in sight. The turnaround. Oh, look, it's a headwind now, that explains the fun on the way out.
So the way back is a bit of suffering. 30-second man is only a hundred yards back at the turnaround, but he dies even worse than I, can't see him halfway back. Might be minute-thirty man off there in the distance, but no way am I going to get him. Ow, finish, cool down, into the car, go look for breakfast.
I select a nice three-egg Denver omelette over at the Legal Tender. Mmm. It comes with hashbrowns but there are no biscuits to be found so I settle for toast. Also settle for the single breakfast entree instead of adding a waffle as I am tempted, but they must have used big eggs because the Lie Detector (cutesy entree name) was most satisfactory.
Now I twiddle my thumbs until the crit starts, at the hotel until it is checkout time and then sitting in Depot Square. TT results are posted, I'm 7th in 22 minutes something, and have now moved up to 14th place out of 23. Hmm, some people went home. 13th is pretty unreachable in a crit (for me, since the crit is a big hill) at about 45 seconds, so hopefully here in 14th I will stay.
Walk around the crit course. Same as last year. Flat for three blocks on the start/finish straight, left, flat for another block, climb for a block, steeper for a block, less steep but hurting anyway two more blocks, left, start down a block, left, down more a block, right, down more, left, three blocks down, left at speed onto the start/finish straight. No big new holes, just a few manhole covers, the dip on the long descent and some holes on the last left.
More thumb-twiddling, then the women's crit starts. Not very exciting to watch from the start/finish because all the action happens on the climb. They finish, the older masters start. I'm next, better go get out the bike. Come back, ride around a little, they finish, we get one lap to warm up. What a fun climb.
Apparently things are running late so our race is cut from twelve laps to nine. Waah. $20 prime on the fourth lap, 10-second time bonus on lap 6, some new energy-drink-mix on lap TBA. Maybe I should go for the money? No, my goal is to not get dropped on the hill.
Around we go. First lap is easy. Second lap I get gapped a bit, but make it up on the downhill. Third lap, more of the same. I sometimes don't get gapped until the very top of the hill, but I can always catch up on the way down. Several other guys get more gapped on the hill and never get back on. It's some hard work for me, but I accomplish my goal of not getting dropped. They are going so slow on the last time around up the hill that I even briefly consider attacking, but then right before the corner somebody jumps and I'm just hanging on again. Pass a few on the long downhill, go around a couple more coming into the finish, and I count nine or so in front of me. Big deal, where is the pizza and best-calves contest.
Have to wait until the other races are over, though. Younger masters, 3s, 1-2s. There they go, around and around. Results are posted, in a slapdash fashion I am listed in 18th for the crit, down seven seconds on the first group of same-timers. The results man, accosted by several others making simialr observations, says "So what, it doesn't change your GC." Hmmph. Done! Time to eat!
Since this is the 10th annual, there is a live band which is a little too loud. But the pizzas do arrive, and I mosey through the line a few times until I have had my fill. Then it's raffle time, and I miss out on the skis again but do get a Nordica-logo ballcap. Yay.
And now, the best-calves contest (only the fourth annual, that means I have been in all of them). Will I make it three wins in a row, another 50 bucks? Clearly I am a crowd favorite (judging from the "ooh"s) but the committee assembled to make the pronouncement does not select me in the top three semifinalists. Hey, where is the mayor's wife, she likes me. The judges also seem to be not quite as tipsy this time - does this work against me? Anyway, I was robbed, and after observing the somewhat disappointing womens' contest I might as well leave since I have no money coming.
I avoid the Salt Lake construction zone and come home via Bear Lake instead, in about the same time but with a greater cost to the local windshield-height insect population.