Firstly, the Idaho City Excellent Adventure cross-country. Hmm, what could be secondly?
I stayed at Anna's house again. She is still being a burnt-out sack, that is, not riding. This weekend's fun was provided by trying to get in touch with Becky, in Boise from Bozeman for the weekend and staying with her brother, who she assured me was in the phone book. Turns out he has an unlisted number because his last girlfriend was reportedly a pscyho-b-f-h, and we all know how that goes. Bet Ronda knows John's (the brother) number; but she's up at Idaho City for the whole weekend. Maybe Jill, Becky's housemate last summer? She lives half a block from Anna, but was never home the whole weekend. Score one big flake point for Beck-a-roo.
So we totally failed to get in touch with Becky. (Anna had said, oh yeah, she's fun, let's hang out with Becky!) Therefore Anna, Rolle (her BF), and I settled for fajitas and daquiries at the house.
In the morning, I was to be a parking marshal in exchange for a comped entry, so I got up kind of early (but kind of later than I really should have) and zipped up the twisty road to Idaho City. I was put in charge of the flags ("gate") at the entry to the expo/tech area, so I was supposed to let through only car with lots of stickers on them and awnings to set up to display their wares. As well as any bikes or pedestrians, of course. Hold the flags, drop the flags. It reminded me of my course marshal duties on the equestrian venue in Atlanta, not that I have published those experiences yet. But that got boring so I set the flags to touch the ground in the middle, and most people were smart enough to ride over it there or step over. Dave and some of the Pocatello boys showed up and chatted with me to pass the time. There was an unconfirmed Brooke sighting.
With about 90 minutes to my start time, Ron came by and released me from my duties. The start was at the airport (same place as the finish of last year) so I got my bike out and rode up and down the gravel runway until I got really bored. Then there was still an hour to go, so I did it some more. Saw Rich and his wife Pam. Meanwhile the experts and pros started, then a while later the sports.
My start was a little after noon, and it was nice and warm, as in over 80. Because of the start at the airport, the first little bit of the race was neutral until we got out of town. To my dismay, Ron started the Clydesdales with the vet beginners, a rather large field (over 50 at least). It wouldn't have been so bad if I had been in the front, but it's so hard to push your way through all the kids before Ron says that Clydesdales are next. So I possibly passed some people while the race was neutral, but only after the neutrality had expired did I attack and hammer up the gravel road. Rich said he went too hard at the beginning last year, so I was going to try to give him something to chase.
The course was the same as last year: gradual climb at first, then steeper, on fire roads until the first singletrack. I kept a nice steady pace on the fire roads, but apparently I wasn't drinking enough water for the heat and exertion beause my contact blinked down into the corner of my eye. This is not good for depth perception, so I did stop briefly at the beginning of the singletrack to try to push it back into place. No dice, and no depth perception for me either. Oh well.
As usual, I would pass people whe started ahead of me on the climbs, and then some of them would have to pass me again on the descents. Fine with me, I was taking it pretty easy on those descents, being not able to see what I might be crashing into. On the last steep climb before the highest elevation of the race, I went around somebody and slipped into a rut, so I figured I might as well walk the rest of the way up. It was mostly down from there, and I was trying to stick close to my bud Mark, a Clydesdale from last year who's racing in 27-34 beginner this year, who I had caught before the last climb but caught me again while I was walking. He is a better descender than I, probably even when I have both contacts in place.
But anyway, I made it down last year's downhill course without a flat this year, and right before the finish I sucked a rock into my rear wheel. Finding my valve stem protected by a cap this time, the rock had to be satisfied with snapping off a nipple. A spoke nipple, luckily for my personal anatomy. I went ping-ping-ping-ping-ping across teh line. Then I immediately went to my car mirror and tried to pry that contact out of the corner of my eye. Ow. Back to the finish area. Yup, first on the tag board. I see Aaron (winner of Baker City) and he says he flatted early, was chasing me and had me in sight just before the finish. Second for him. Scary, must train more to beat him reliably. Rich finishes in fifth, due to a flat on the downhill. I know how that goes. He said he had me in sight for the first six miles. I was far away, mind you, but he was able to see me.
Time for some spaghetti. And water. Then after loading the tag boards and prizes into the truck, I find a shady spot at the park with Dave and the Poky boys. Inspection of the board reveals a confirmation of the Brooke sighting (she won); Craig won the experts, Kirk got sixth, Zach was third in the pros, Dave was fourth in vet sports.
Ron starts handing out prizes. The Poky boys get theirs and leave, and Rich and his friends take their spot. His friends look like a group of BSU ex-jocks. Was it the BSU athletic department t-shirts, or maybe the caps? Eventually it's time for my prizing, and I receive a 21-in-1 tool, a set of keep-you-adjustment brake shoes, and a multi-colored medal. Woo hoo. I walk back over to the airport and get a Sun Rims guy to put an nipple in my rim for me. Everyone leaves, I help Ron put away some stuff and then take off.
Back in town, Anna and Rolle are having dinner with some friends and I still have no way of getting hold of Becky, so I just take a shower and go have a burger by myself. When I return, Anna and Rolle are there with friends, so we talk for a bit, but then thay go off to a party and I go to bed.
Sunday morning Anna still does not want to go watch the bike races. She is into gardening and golfing now, she says. Oh well. I buzz up to Idaho City again, barely in time to make it up the landfill road to the top of the downhill for a pre-ride. Which is different this year, starting a ways down the trail (it's shorter) and off to the side on a totally diffrerent trail.
It's steep at the beginning, then winds along. Very little climbing, compared to the single climb of the other course - all big ring stuff. Then, as I'm about in the middle, my back tube lets go. Rim's kind of warm. Well, it is a downhill. But the Sun Rims guy didn't true my rim very well, and it was rubbing a bit. Enough to add some extra heat and cause a patch on the tube that was touching the rim (narrow rim tape) to de-bond. And the old, dirty rim tape falls out when I take off the tire to change it. Eventually I get it back together, anticipating the pro/experts running over me all the while, and gently ride the rest of the course. Which is pretty uneventful except for the "fill-your-pants" drop close to the end, before it enters the old circuit race course right before the finish. This drop is about ten feet, with a run of maybe five feet. Far over 100% grade. I stop at the top and decide to walk it on my pre-ride, I've had enough trouble already. It's hard to walk down, even. Lots of loose dirt. We'll just have to see how I feel about riding it in the race.
I go back to the car to true my rim and put on some new rim tape. New in that it has been in my toolbox for a couple years instead of on a rim. Hope that holds, a flat in the race would sure suck. It's another lovely warm day, and I head for the big drop to watch the first couple of pros go off it. It looks pretty easy when they fly on down. Of course this is where most of the spectators are gathered.
Ride back up to the start, in good time for my appointed starting moment, but Ron is running 45 minutes late because he had to wrestle the start banner in there on the trail. Some thumb-twiddling takes place. Rich shows up, and his number is after mine by two minutes. Hope he doesn't run over me. There are also some funny-looking full-downhill/motorcycle riding togs guys busy changing tubes, in fact several people have decided this would be a good time to have a flat. Go figure. The guy in front of me doesn't show, so I will have a clear trail. At least until Rich catches me. Away we go, and I'm riding a little faster than the pre-ride. Still pretty much all over the trail, though. But I'm working fairly hard, and before I know it I'm at the fill-your-pants drop. Which I ride down just like the pros, except for my big "woo hoo" of joy-in-not-crashing-painfully at the bottom. With less time to think about crashing, it was pretty fun. I run along to the finish, and pretty soon Rich arrives, well ahead of his minute man (my buffer man). He kicked my butt for sure.
More thumb-twiddling ensues, and I wander back over to the drop to watch a few more people go down it. There have been no major injuries, longtime spectators report, though some people have walked/skidded on their butt down it. Rich's wife bombs down with no problem - she was sounding as wussy as me at the top, "maybe I'll just walk it."
Hanging out back at the tech area, it's about three, and I'm wondering if I should have put on some sunscreen this morning. Hmm. Arms feel pretty toasty. But they were okay, just adding to my deep dark farmer tan. At long last Ron announces he has the results, but the printer broke so they have to be copied off the computer by hand. Brooke wins the downhill, and her boyfriend wins the pro men's, beating Caleb Stolte for the first time in any race this year. In my class, some other guy actually beat Rich by about 15 seconds, then third was a minute behind him and only 12 seconds up on me. Oh well, what can you do. I had a nice race, I didn't crash or break anything, so my goals for the downhill have been met.
Again the (much smaller for the downhill) crowd disperses, and I hang out with Ronda for a bit. She tells me I need to do something "dangerous" (I'm thinking she refers to emotional rather than physical danger) and I am required to have some "dirt" to share by the next race. Her Elvis wedding in Las Vegas with Ron is on hold until the end of the summer.
Back to Anna's for a shower, and she and Rolle are leaving for dinner again as I'm leaving. I actually get back home while there is still some twilight remaining.