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This week only, it's two-Two-TWO FR's in one! And for the same low price, even. This special offer is not available in any store, it is being brought directly to you courtesy of Henry's Procrastination and Can-Opener Instructions, Inc.

Wading back through the mists of time, two weekends ago was the Lava Rama. Which was only a mountain bike race this year, as opposed to the mtb race then road race over two days last year. I was hoping for a much improved performance over last year's bonk and then flat.

Starting with the beginners again, the first mile or so was on a very non-technical road - it was even paved, being Lava Hot Spring's main street. Well, only the first quarter-mile was on Main Street, then we turned and went by the golf course. I latched on to the first gaggle of speedy beginners, constantly reminding myself not to go too fast and blow up later. Still, at a relatively easy pace for me I still dropped them going up some little hills. So I rode by myself for a while, and passed the three Sport Women at the transition to distinctly unpaved road. Then there was a nice long climb up the unpaved road, passing some straggling Sport Men. Eventually a couple of sandbagging Beginners passed me on the climb, but the rest of them stayed good and dropped. Up singletrack and down rollers, up fire road and down cow-pasture singletrack, along I went, passing a few more stragglers.

No flats for me this year, and at the end I zipped back up Main Street to finish in 1:27', far outclassing my two competitors in the Clydesdale class and theoretically placing pretty well in the Sports.

Then I got to hang out mostly by myself until awards, since only Tom came down from IF, and he left right after he finished. This was the smallest race of the season for Ron, the promoter - only 230-something, though still bigger than last year. I guess people just don't like the course, me among them. But along with the spaghetti feed post-race comes a free hot-pool pass, which goes a long way towards easing the accumulated aches and pains. I won a purple Cannondale duffel bag (like the one I didn't want to win at White Knob) and a disposable Fuji camera. Yippee hoo-ha.

While giving out awards, Ron also said that the Idaho/Utah area has the largest population of mtb racers per capita of any NORBA region. And the Idaho City Excellent Adventure is going to be one of some kind of national series next year, which means they expect over 800 racers and thousands of spectators. He also pointed out people who have secured points titles as of this, the second-last race in the Idaho Fuji/Nike Wild Rockies series. I am one of those people, kicking ass in the Clydesdale class. Which means I get some kind of jersey at the Banzai beer-and-pizza blast. Woo hoo.

On to the next race! That being Saturday's Rendezvous Peak Hill Climb. Which is a race that starts in the Jackson Hole parking lot and ends at the top of the tram. 7.2 miles, 4,139 feet. An average of 11%. There was one spot sort of near the top where I was able to coast for 100 feet, but other than that I was either in my granny or walking the bike up the stinking hill. At least the weather was nice, a little cooler than the previous weekend but still pretty hot when you are grinding up a mountain. I finished in 1:42', a ways back from the winning 1:18' but barely ahead of the first-place woman who I paced for the last portion of the race. Of course she started five minutes after me, so she really beat me, but I crossed the finish line first and outweighed her by at least 60 pounds, so ptthpth. The record of 1:12' was not even close to being challenged because of the slippery nature of the course, sort of like the Lava course with lots of loose dirt and rocks, low friction coefficient.

But oh, the view from the top of Rendezvous Peak! And I made it up there under my own power, even. A photo opportunity was required, and I held my bike over my head as Kim, who had of course ridden the tram up, snapped a couple of pictures. Then we waited about an hour to get back down in the tram, since riding down was absolutely forbidden and the tram operators kept letting tourists cut in front of us, filling up the tram with fat old people instead of bikes.

At this awards ceremony I won exactly nothing for being last (ninth) in the Sport class - Wyoming races don't have Clydesdale classes, darn it. Nor was I lucky in the raffle, missing out on another ski pass to match the one I got at the circuit race in July.

So I went shopping. This was mainly why Kim came along, but we ended up spending all the shopping time at one store where I stared at the skis and bindings I would finally drop $500 on. Last year's Rossignol 7X, 201cm, and Marker M51 Titanium. Ooh, now I have something that's titanium! Although the salesperson could not point to exactly what on these bindings was titanium, nor could he say where the graphite was on the M51 Graphites. But he seemed to have a strong opinion and reasonable knowledge of the skis, much more so than the bozo at Mountain Trading who tried to schmooze me last week with, "you look like you know what's going on, you need at least this-price-range ski, buy now because prices go up in a couple days!"

Kim found a nice purple ski jacket, but didn't want to buy it because she blew lots of money last month on her trip to San Francisco for a robotics class. She was looking kind of bored as I gazed longingly at the skis for a good hour.

Then when we got back we had a little talk. Each (perfectly innocent) activity hurts Jason's feelings. Can't have that, even if he's the ex-boyfriend because of his very hurtful behavior. So she won't be watching Lo-to-Ja this weekend or going to the Banzai. She needs time to figure out if she is going to marry him. What the hell? Totally not making sense, and she agreed that it doesn't make any sense. Oh well, what can you do.

Sucks to be me, hah