Just a whole bunch of stuff here, I better write some down before I'm off for more adventures in Boise this weekend.
Once more I have a Tuesday night story. Unfortunately, no Brooke sighting this (last) week. The ride was longer than usual, 50 miles or so compared to under 30. This contributed to the more gentle pace up the hills, though I have no explanation as to how I came to be in a break of five after only ten miles. I just kept following people. We were all working pretty hard, which also made the others not want to attack on hills. We finished up with just four guys in under two hours. And get this, I won the sprint! Woo hoo. Must have been some training in that 100-mile weekend of the High Uintas.
Friday after work I was off to Boise for the River Festival. I stayed with Ron, the race promoter, and his girlfriend Ronda (see Twin Rivers Classic story). I helped him bag prizes for the mountain bike race, and so I got comped once more. Becky (another biker) had said I should call her and have a beer when I got in, but she was out with Ronda. Oh well.
Up early Saturday morning, for the circuit race starts at 8. I ride over from Ron's house just in time (got that warmup in there). Becky is there, not looking like she's going to race, though Ronda had told me she was going to. I give her a "slacker" remark or two. As it turns out, only one woman rides in the race, and they would have paid three places.
There is an important format change from last year, when it really sucked. This year the 1/2/3s will go off and have their own little race, then after them the 4/5s and women (or woman) start and have our own little race. The official still was eager to pull people, but I'm a lot happier about my chances of staying with 4/5s than 1/2/3/4/5s. Cash to three places in 1/2/3s, 4/5s, and women. Our field looks like 40 or so. Get this bike race thing over with so we can have the 10k fun run and parade and get drunk at the River Festival, ok?
Off we go, my (spare) rear wheel stays securely in the dropouts and I don't have too much trouble clipping in. So far, so good. The first corner is even populated more sparsely with cones than last year. I try to stay near the front so I won't get gapped. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Pace seems pretty high, averaging 25 or so.
The hill seems pretty easy this year, I don't ever lose any position on any of the seven laps. I move up, move back, move up, move back for several laps. Then a team tries to make a single flyer/blocking move. In a 4/5s race? That'll never work. I take off on the four-lane closed street, catch the flyer, and pull him for a bit, but he doesn't want to work and I'm not going to kill myself because I probably can't stay away from the pack all by my lonesome either.
We are caught, I drift back a bit, but decide I don't like that and blast off on the wide street again the next lap. I just want to be somewhere hear the front. This continues for the last couple laps. Coming downhill towards the finish, people start moving up on both sides. After the course opens up to four lanes, I move around some people and find what looks like a good wheel. Then the guy dies and people start shooting by on both sides as we head over the bridge towards the finish. I am boxed big time. Finally all the sprinters are past, and I can move far out to the side and start my sprint. Three guys are pretty far away, but I make it up to fifth by the time I cross the finish. Oh well.
I go back to my car at Ron's house and switch bikes. It is starting to get hot. After attempting to get lost and ride in little circles on the river greenbelt, I show up at the duck pond for the Quark in the Park. The first race has just started, it looks like, so I've got an hour until my race goes. Hey, look, free bagels. I lie around in the shade.
My heat includes the Clydesdales, Vet and Master and 50+ Beginners. Under 20 in all. Away we go. Hey, this suspension thing is great for bumps like riding across grass fields. I sit on a couple wheels for half a lap (only 2 laps, 2 miles each) and then get bored and take off. Across the grass, a little singletrack, some dirt road, more grass. All very very flat. After one lap I have about a 30 second lead. After two, a minute. I'm recovered and relaxing in the shade (it's hot) by the time second place shows up. All the other Clydesdales are very interested in the exact period of my absence for the Olympics.
One of the bikers I met at Idaho City, Lisa, is also going to Atlanta on the cycling volunteer plan - her parents live there. Anna shows up on her Merckx, but I cannot persuade her to go swap bikes and do this race. Her mother is coming to town to watch the PowerBar crit, she says.
By the time awards are distributed (no excitement when you have stuffed them in the bags - I already knew I won a folding tire) it's well into the time for the PowerBar. Or I should say, by the time I get over to the Statehouse through the crowds, the race is half over. It looks very fast, no breakaways this year. Instead of my corner position of last year, I opt for a spot right before the finish straight, and can barely focus on rider numbers as they go by. I'm looking for Tracy Timms, known to have been associated with Ma-Ne in the past, but I don't know how to approach her. "Hi, I'm a friend of Ma-Ne, who I'm not sure of your exact relationship to at this moment." Or maybe, "I'm not a crazy person, really I'm not." After several laps I think I spot her number on someone. And I have spotted Kris too, Bad Bob's wife. Bob runs a bar in Poky, goes on the Tuesday nighters semi-regularly, and is also visiting a friend in Atlanta during the Olypmics. Small world, eh?
The race ends. It's damn hot. I pick up a cool t-shirt - if there's one thing I need, it's more t-shirts. I don't see a Tracy waiting around for me anywhere, so I try a trick I read on wreck.bike.racing: follow the riders back to the hotel. I remember this in time to follow two girls who sound like they are speaking German. They are also not too familiar with the city, and miss their turn. I'm not about to follow them onto the interstate, and when they turn around I try to make it look like I'm not following them. "Honest officer, all I've got in this backpack is water and a cool t-shirt." They are dawdling, and as several team cars whiz by I get fed up and pass the girls. The team cars pull into the Park Center Suites, and I tool around the parking lot. Here I find Bob, looking for his wife. Some Shaklee riders go in the hotel. Mechanics are starting to play with bikes at the team cars. My CamelBak is empty again, and I split.
Riding back to Ron's house, who do I encounter but Becky, going home from work. She lives five blocks from Ron, and when he doesn't appear to be home she invites me over. Nice place, her roommate's house. We hang out for while, her roommate shows up, I get invited to a blue-moon party nearby later that night, you know the drill.
I head back to Ron's for a shower. Ronda has gotten a bit of heat exhaustion from not drinking any water all day, and she won't make the party. Bummer. More hanging out after my shower, then we go to the party where there is, you guessed it, even more hanging out. The other attendees are about half bikers and half Boise-North-End-Bohemians, with a bit of overlap between the two. Todd and Allan, over for the races as well, are there. Several others whose names I could drop but it wouldn't do me any good. I have a couple beers, cook my steak, and then this wild woman hands me a jello shot which is very much mostly vodka. That quiets me down even more, and then I just kind of sit around the rest of the night. You know, hanging out.
Sunday Ron goes to mark the course for this week's race, Ronda goes to work, I get some bagels and go off to watch the final PowerBar stage, a TT. Once again I arrive when it's half over. Not very exciting to watch in person, a time trial. Not that the announcer didn't try. I think it was Linda Brenneman, (who won the previous two stages) as he was saying, "Can she do it folks, she only needs to make up four minutes on GC," she had ten seconds to her start and laughed and shook her head. No, you idiot, of course I can't make up four minutes on a fifteen mile TT.
That was over, it was really hot again. I didn't stay for the awards. I went back to the air-conditioned comfort of George's Lightweight Cycles and bothered Becky at work the rest of the day. We watched the world cyclocross championship on the shop tv/vcr. She expressed an interest in building up a cyclocross frame (there are actually CC races in Boise in the fall) and I expressed my opinion that it looks too muddy and cold. Hey, just like early-season mountain bike races. Except I get my cushy suspension.
Becky was going up to McCall that night, so I left at four and got back home from Boise before dark for the first time ever. Woo hoo.
And now, a tale of this week's Tuesday nighter. No Brooke, darn it. It was really hot, over 100 in Poky. But the power was out, so what was there to do but go riding? On the regular route (but backwards), I was once more in a break/lead pack of five. They were tending to attack a little more on the hills, so I spent some time dangling off the back, but I always made it back up to them. After the last hill, and we had dropped one guy, only a few miles to go, I catch on once more. I take my pull, and then Todd attacks. Again I chase, catch on. But this time, even though I'm really hurting and huffing and puffing, when I go to take a pull I attack instead. Pretty much surprised everyone. In chasing me, Todd pulled a muscle or cramped or something, then Allan said he didn't want to sprint because he would throw up (it was so hot), and I noticed I was having a flat. We limped along to the non-sprint.
At the sandwich shop, one of the guys from Poky said he had a long talk with Brooke one night, and told Allan that he would have a good chance...if she didn't already have a boyfriend. Doh!