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The Twin Rivers Classic. Fields limited to 100 riders in 1/2, 3, 4/5 - must be a big race, eh? Well, they didn't happen to bump up against any limits, but it was my first stage race as a 4. Woo hoo.

Let's start with the weather. Which has been pretty icky around here - I go to Poky for the Tuesday nighter and it's okay down there, then ride rollers on Thursday and go race on the weekend. That's been my training regime for about a month now. Way to improve, 50 miles a week.

Last weekend the weather was continuing to be nasty around home, but luckily I was in Lewiston where it was 75 degrees and sunny every day. I couldn't get anyone to go with me, but it only took me 8 hours to get there! Yes, the best way to get to Lewiston from here is to go around through Montana, since there are no roads through the River of No Return Wilderness occupying the middle of Idaho. My first reasonable-and-prudent trip through Montana, it went pretty well. I planned to stop at a hotel in Missoula on Friday night, only to find all the rooms taken because of another state high school soccer tournament - just like Boise the week before. So I picked out a nice picnic area on the other side of town. It said no camping, but I was just sleeping in my car; that's not camping, just parking. Not five minutes after I pop out my contacts and try to go to sleep, a trooper pulls up, spotlights me, and informs me of an actual campground 20 miles up the road. Away I go, and sleep not-very-well there instead.

This causes me to be awake at 5:30am, when it starts getting light. Might as well hit the road, eh? And try to miss the animals. I avoided about ten deer, a couple elk, a bunny, and a wild turkey. The highway from Missoula to Lewiston was a switch after the interstate up from IF - it goes through a canyon otherwise occupied only by the Lochsa/Clearwater River for about 100 miles, then widens a little bit. The warning signs warn "WINDING ROAD NEXT 77 MILES" - oh darn. My car just hates twisty roads. Heh. Got into Lewiston about ten, nine their (Pacific) time, and was delighted to find I could check into my hotel immediately. Then I took a nap until 2, time to get up and go do the prologue. First I picked up my packet and checked the field sizes. 71 4/5s, around 50 each 1/2s and 3s, 30 women, 30 masters. Hmm, not all that big.

The Prologue: 2.7k, drops 40m in the first 1.8k then averages 11% UP for the final 0.9k. Ouch. I'm warming up for the prologue (goofing around waiting for my start time. Who do I see? My friend Ronda from Boise, that I helped do data entry with at Idaho City. And she has with her a teammate, the _Merckx Girl_! MG's name is Anna. I scope out her bike: it's got a Motorola sticker on the top tube, standard diameter tubes and the Columbus decal says TSX; she says she picked it up from someone else, it's her first year road racing. Guess
who I'm hanging out with all weekend? Yes, indeedy, Ronda and Anna.

It's time for my start. The road has cones placed on the centerline, and traffic is somewhat directed near the start area. Some bonehead decides to let several cars in just as I start, and the boneheads driving are not interested in accelerating. So I actually have to brake for the *&#% cars at the start of my prologue. Urk. Then they finally pull away, and I motor up to about 30 on the downhill - a slight head/crosswind too. I get to the hill, and it's ugly. I pretty much shift all the way down by the top. Well, maybe I didn't use the 19 or 21. It hurt a lot.

Practicing my hacking cough, I go back to my car at the rodeo grounds and drive to the base of the hill, then watch Ronda and Anna finish. They ask what I'm doing for dinner, and I surprisingly have no plans.

A bit later they swing by my hotel and we go across the bridge to another state (Clarkston, WA - get it, Lewiston and Clarkston) for dinner at an Italian place called Tomato Bros. They have also invited a geek from Boise named Bill, who turns out to work for Micron - see, he is a geek, a solid-state EE from Michigan. Well, dinner is fine.

We drive around the crit course before I am dropped off. Back at the hotel, I channel surf for a bit and hit the sack. Crit at 9am tomorrow, you know.

Arising nice and early, I decide to go with armwarmers for the ride over to the other side of town - about a mile - where is the crit. It's a little cool this early. I get there in time to watch the 8:00 race finish. One official says course-is-free-to-warm-up, but as I roll to the start/finish the chief starts calling names. So I am starting with little warmup and no preride. Wait, it gets better.

On the start, I once more can't get into my pedals. How long have I been a clipless rider? Hmm? Ok, I do get in, there are still a few guys around, I stark to crank, and urk, my rear wheel has popped out of the dropouts and jammed against the seat tube. I stop fast, try to put it back in. Get back on, it pops out again. The mechanic runs over, says bring it to the pit, you have a free lap. I don't think so, we were just warned about free laps are only for mechanicals not human-error screwups like having loose skewers. But the mechanic get the wheel back in, releases the brake since the wheel is a bit tweaked now. Mr. Chief Ref comes over, inquires as to the nature of the problem. No, that's not a free lap, get your butt out there and catch the field. The field, of course, is hammering around for the first couple laps trying to shake loose some slow guys, and no way am I going to catch them starting about a minute down - it's only a little over a kilo around, 33k=28 laps. (The course is a figure-eight, with some bumpy spots and a 20-foot rise.) I try anyway, only to be flagged out by Mr. Chief Ref as I come by the pit. Having completed exactly one lap. I'm breathing kind of hard, but I don't say anything I'll regret. He tells me my time will be pro-rated. Ooh, that will be good. (One lap riding + screwing around time)*28, compared to everyone else's 28 laps riding.

Just then Ronda shows up to take pictures. Not particularly good timing. I get to hold her backpack as she goes away to warm up - her race is after this one. She hangs in the pack of eight women, about all one can hope in a stage race crit. We go back to the hot tub at my hotel, then watch Anna race with the senior women at noon - Anna is a 4, they are all combined for the crit and rr. She hangs in there too. Good for her.

Then we hang out and watch the 1/2s race from various points on the course. Saturn of Bellevue takes 1-2-3, smoking the George's guys from Boise. There are quite a few people from Portland and Seattle, since Seattle is as close to Lewiston as Boise is; Portland a bit further. I just checked - Seattle is *four* miles closer to Lewiston than Portland., it's a wonderful thing.

Time to go put the geek bars back on and prepare for the TT. I should do well since I'm not all tired from the crit or anything.

The TT. 10K, flat. So far, so good. However, there is a medium headwind on the way out; which of course is a tailwind on the way back. Away I go - got that rear skewer tight now, boy. The first kilo is around 29, feeling not too bad. A bee bounces off my helmet and sticks to my leg. She's pissed, and stings right in the middle of my quad before I can brush her off. Ow. Then the wind starts to get to me, aero body that I'm not. More like 23-24 now. Still, after another kilo I pass my 30-second man. Who must really be sucking, because I get to the turnaround, get turned around, cruise at about 30 (tired from fighting the headwind) back down to the finish without seeing my minute man. My time is about a 13'40" I think. No results here.

Wait for Ronda and Anna to finish again, go get my car again, then we decide to hit the spaghetti feed and see if it's worthwhile. It's not really, but we eat too much anyway. Then go drive the road race course before dark, in my car. Whee! Anna likes the 25-mph corners at 40. Ronda not so much. There are some nasty looking hills, and the last one...well, I'll describe that in a bit. Go to sleep, get up in the morning, blah blah blah.

The RR. 90K, three big climbs. The 4/5s field is still around 70, thanks to pro-rating of crit yankings. I get a chance to see just how bad my gc is. I'm about 25 minutes down in all, 12 down from the next-to-last guy. DFL in a big way. On the positive side, I did get 10th in the TT.

We roll away. One of the larger fields I've been in, and I don't like all the 5s slamming on their brakes all the time. I hang out near the back with a guy from Poky, with whom I happened to share the same prologue time. I'm not interested in doing any work, because I know about the hills ahead. It's pretty flat for about 25k, maybe up a river grade. Winds are light, but not nonexistent. The temperature is now getting comfortable, since I didn't bring my armwarmers this morning I had been a little cold at the start. Two guys lock handlebars and go down; guys in front attack, guys in back like me go around and chase. This is right before the first hill. Our starting elevation was 760', and the crash happens after a turn towards the hill which is marked at 960'. Then the hill happens, and I am shed off the back of the remaining pack. It is marked at 1968'@34k, and I have to chase on downhill once more.

Now we cruise downhill to the prologue course, but turn off before the "hyperbolic" hill. At 50k, we are all the way down to 743' alongside the Snake. A neutral bridge at 56k, then the second hill up to 1185' with one really steep pitch. I drift off the back and chase downhill again, bringing some other laggards with me. At 68k we are alongside the Clearwater, elevation 720'. A bridge marks 72k, and we ride along on the other side of the river for a bit before assaulting the final hill up the aptly named Spiral Highway, a not-extremely-steep (7-8%) if long road up to the top of Lewiston Hill at 2677', 90k from the start. It reminded me a lot of the White Knob, so I did my max-steady-effort bit. Passed a few people, towed some people. Eventually we reach the end, and the guys sitting on my wheel (what? up a hill?) break around me. I yell that I want to see them sprint after pacing their skinny asses up the hill. One guy is not sprinting, so I go by him. He later says he was feeling guilty about sitting on me all the way up and then sprinting past me. How chivalrous.

So I'm finished, and I'm not all that tired. It's around noon, and I have no idea how I placed. Probably still the holder of the lantern rouge. Oh well. My bee sting starts to hurts as I sit around waiting for Anna and then Ronda to finish. Anna comes in with a pack, Ronda by herself but not last up the hill like the previous year.

Then for the really fun part, down the new highway back to town. Several miles of 7-8%, I get close to 50 a couple places but mostly around 40; I don't do a full tuck because of the wind gusts. At the hotel, which is nice enough to let all the racers have a late checkout, I shower and then sit in the hot tub for a bit. Pack up the bike, and head over to Race HQ. Look, no results. I write down my prologue and crit times (woo hoo) but am unable to find the post-TT sheets. Maybe they are still over at the start?

I hang out for a while, then decide I'd better get home. It's 3:30, so eight hours of spirited driving puts me in my own bed at 11:30.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the dramatic grand unveiling of the a.h.s.t.h.u. back issue archives on - drop by and see what you may have missed through no fault of your own. Catch up with the Henry of those heady halcyon days (Heady Halcyon Henry) of 1994, the sadder but not a lot wiser Henry (Same Shit Different Day Henry) of 1995, and last but not least the happy-go-lucky devil-may-care bitchin-and-whining Henry (Why-does-this-shit-always-happen-to-me Henry) of the current racing season. This very message, in fact, will be the very first to be concurrently posted both worldwide (ok, countrywide or half-countrywide) and world-wide-web-wide. See if you can beat me to the archive site, unlikely since it will take at least ten minutes to read this, and maybe I've cheated anyway by already sticking this there. You'll never know to the end of your days.

And so, later, eh.

No race to reprot on this time, since I decided to get sick instead of going to the crummy open (all cats) crit in Twin Falls. But I did receive in the mail today the full results for 4/5s in the event of the Twin Rivers Classic. All eight sheets. Wow. Ok, the other fields weren’t as large, but that’s a couple reams right there.

So here’s how I officially did, as reported on the outside of the envelope for all to see: prologue, 34th in 4’50"; crit 69th (DFL) in a whopping 1:13’06"; TT 10th in 13’36", RR 28th in 2:37’33", for a grand total GC of 57th, 29’30" down - hey, I did move up a few places after the RR!

Now for comparison purposes, the 4/5s winners of each stage: prologue, 4’16"; crit, 48’44"; TT, 12’56"; RR, 2:33’13". Now for a flight of fancy: had I finished the crit in or near the lead pack of about 30 guys, and not lost the 24 minutes there, I would have been a solid 20th place with my other times as is. And I probably would not have gained more than a few seconds from not getting slowed by the cars at the start of the prologue (I just like to spell p-r-o-l-o-g-u-e) or not being stung by the bee in the TT. But that’s pretty much in the past. Ok, entirely in the past.

Hmmph. Not much else to reprot.