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Ok, not really a two-race report, but you do get two whole weeks of Henry stories. Woo hoo!

Let's have a big a.h.s.t.h.u. welcome for Derek David, who, although he did not explicitly say he wanted to join, thought my invitational message was mildly amusing. I suppose I'll take that as a yes.

Last Saturday. Was supposed to do an around-the-block century, but it was windy and chilly enough that I had a sneaking suspicion there might still be snow on Teton Pass. I bailed, along with everyone else. Stayed inside all day, what a sack.

Sunday. Wonder of wonders, it was a little warm and not windy. I headed up to Kelly Canyon with Derek and Peter for some dirt action to break in my new bike. I discovered that I don't really like the LX drivetrain. It shifts ok, brakes are much better than the old bike, but it just feels cheap and tawdry. Maybe when it breaks I'll get to replace it with some really cool anodized really expensive stuff. Probably I would be less of an idiot if I do wait until it breaks before replacing, instead of preemptively dropping another grand or so. Something in the bottom bracket area is not as stiff as I would like, but maybe that's the suspension, whose purpose is to keep my butt from getting abused. Can't have everything. Anyway, about the ride. We did Stinkin' Springs; longtime readers will recall my first group mtb ride up there was exhaustively chronicled. A bit chilly up top, and when we got to the back side of the ridge we found patches of snow covering the trail. Peter found some rocks to endo over and flatted too. He really needs some suspension (right, Peter?). Some riding and walking later, got to a ridable section which of course was muddy from the melting snow. Got my new bike all dirty, darn it. Riding down the ski hill road, I was able to spin up and coast through 46 mph, not bad for a muddy mountain bike. Perhaps I won't rush out and buy bigger chainrings just yet. And something on the front of the bike was making a lot of wind noise, like maybe the somewhat loose computer cable. Derek said it sounded like a truck going by when I passed him. Just after I got home the wind picked up. Surprise! It's been windy for the past month and a half.

Tuesday I made it to the Tuesday night training ride (what night was that?) in Pocatello for the second time, and this time finished with the big dogs thanks to a well-placed freight train which delayed them long enough for me to catch up after the last set of hill on the way out. I was there for the sprint, but too tired to do anything about it. At the obligatory bull session afterwards, some girl rides up on a 'dale with two Spinergys. (dual Spinergi?) She's wearing a PIWC Sprint Leader's jersey from last year, and her name is Brooke Blackwelder, a Pocatello-native pro biker babe. Perhaps you've seen her Pert Plus commercials? Yow. I didn't know she came back here to train. It seems she did some sprints that night, but she promises to ride with the boys next Tuesday. Oh, I'll be there. Someone on r.b.r. said she had huge legs, but they look rather petite and right-sized to me. She's damn cute, too. Then I go with the others from Idaho Falls to a sandwich shop, where they hit on the help. Eventually, I have to take off to catch the day's stage of TdP on espn2, and with the help of Idaho's newly raised speed limits (75 on interstates, 65 on highways) I blaze not-quite-as-illegally home.

Saturday. The Einstein's Bagels (formerly Brachman Brothers' Bagel Bakery) Downtown Salt Lake Twilight Criterium. 1/2/3s go at 8:30 for the twilight thing, but 4/5s start right after the citizens finish, around 5. I enlist Peter to keep me company on the drive and enter his second USCF race. Our field doesn't look very big as we roll around the City/County building to warm up, but as we receive the final safety warning we learn the total is 42. About like last year. We're off, and as compensation for a good stage (front row!) I am unable to clip in until turn 1, nearly OTB. Great. So I'm hanging out in the back, being scared by all the squirrels back there but unwilling to move up as the pace is already fairly high. Approaching turn 3 I look up and see Peter do a nice cartwheel ahead. He got squeezed, not even a whole lap done! It won't be the last crash of the race. But he gets back on his undamaged bike and chases for a while. I watch a pileup in 3 after a few more laps, a cartwheel in 1, pileup in 2, you get the idea. These guys can't ride in a crit! Going into 3, some guy behind leans on my inside hip and then goes down with an unkown number of others, imparting a side load to my rear wheel in the process. Wobble, wobble, wobble. I can't tell if it's rubbing brakes or not, though there seems to be more resistance. Don't want to think about that much more, just chase back on to the leaders who always attack after a crash. Did I mention I'm not a really happy camper? Tactically, a couple of guys have taken brief flyers but couldn't stay off in the slight headwind on the 1-2 and 2-3 straights. Now, after all the crashes, our 45 minutes is up and 11 guys start the last three laps. I am dangling near the back as usual. But still there, anyway. On the next-to-last lap, two guys in front of me tangle handlebars and pile up. I have to hop onto the median to avoid them, then chase again. This leaves 9, by my count. We are pretty strung out as the leaders are spinning up for the last two straights. I am still coasting through corners. I hate it when I put down a pedal and crash on the last lap, you know. I move up a couple spots on the 3-4 straight, move up a couple more, then hurt over the finish line with a throw. I finally got to use that! And I needed it, to get third by a nose. First and second were way out in front, no way I was catching them. My HRM indicated 193 in the sprint, believeable from the way I was wheezing afterwards. Average HR was 165. Hey, third is $55, up from $30 which is what I got last year for third in this race. I go find Peter, who got pulled with 10 minutes to go and now is feeling a little woozy. A few well-distributed spots of road rash thanks to his excellent rolling technique and a little bump on the helmet. Now he will have to replace that original Look styrofoam hat. He gets bandaged and lies down for a bit, and I go put away the bikes. After a while he feels better, and we wander around during the masters/women race. Some masters are from the USPS team, and I see some 1/2/3s arriving with Chevy/LA Sheriffs jerseys. Oooh.

It would have been nice to watch the 1/2/3s, but it's already 7:30 when I pick up my check, they don't start for another hour. We pick up some medical supplies for Peter and end up home at midnight. Watching the late race would have taken another 90 minutes. Ugh.

Sunday. I call up Derek to see if he wants to go for a dirt ride, so I can beat up my new bike some more before I have to race on it next weekend at Idaho City. He's in the middle of rebuilding his rear hub, but will try to make a 12:30 date with Luke and Patty for Stinkin' Springs. I true Eddy's rear wheel and then take off for Kelly Canyon, pass Luke-and-Patty on the way and find Derek and his friend James the negative-body-fat man. I will be watching James' butt receding up into the distance all day. I hate mountain goats. There is hardly any snow left, and consequently less mud as well. Still plenty enough to get my bike dirty again, a good hard three-hour tour. Rush home to catch the last TdP stage - go Lance! As I am cleaning the bike afterwards, I notice a big wobble in the rear wheel. I knew those spokes were too loose. Since the Y won't fit in my bottom-bracket/down-tube grasping stand, I whip out my old bike, swap wheels, and true away. What fun! Then I fiddle with the Y's brakes as they are starting to dive under the rims. Not good. Finally I get to lie around and watch tv while eating pasta. Ahh.

That's all folks. hah