The Waffle House Chronicles...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ridin’ Dirty

Wausau, WI, Big Ring Classic, WORS #3.

Jess and I packed up the car (seemingly all morning) on Saturday and headed north. We hit some Cousins subs and also had some Gelato on the way up. We also passed the Brozeks on the road but Missy would have none of that and she upped the pace and passed me back…didn’t see them again until we got to Wausau. Anyways, we got there, set up some camp and got ready to pre-ride. We had a group ready to pre-ride but Missy’s bike broke (it lasted a lot longer than I thought though and it was fixed so she could ride) so it was just Jess and I. I was struggling. I couldn’t ride tough singletrack (the early portions were good but the new ones and Ho Chi were tough for me) and I almost threw up. It felt like I had a bad chest cold so I was kind of bummed. Once I got to the top of Ho Chi, the Chainsmoker Train caught us so I rode with them and ditched Jess (although she did catch up to me again!) I was running out of talent fast trying to keep up with the Chainsmokers so that sucked. After struggling through a lap, I knew I shouldn’t ride anymore. On the plus side my bike mostly worked (small brake rub) and I smacked my rear derailleur hard and it didn’t break! I did decide I need to go to Wal-Mart for some cold medicine. So we and the Brozeks got into the car and headed into town. After Wal-Mart we hit Fazolis. What a deal they had, $3.49 for a bottomless pasta bowl. 2 bowls of alfredo and a bowl of spaghetti later I was stuffed! I then helped out with parking patrol which meant cruising around on a 4-wheeler for a while, which was fun!!! Then we played Blockus before it was dark and cold and then to bed. I suck at camping and Saturday night was no different. It took me 2 trips to the bathroom and over an hour to get to sleep. I had one of the most crazy dreams I ever had (that’s for another day) and slept pretty well until some idiot presumably at the pancake breakfast was bumping music at 5:45am. Seriously. And it wasn’t even good, it was like Stevie Nicks and some Smoke on the Water. Someone put a quick end to it after 3 songs…but I was up.

Sunday pre-race: I knock down my favorite camping/pre-race breakfast of Cracklin’ Oat Bran and a Banana. All around me I could smell the sizzle of sausage and bacon…bastards! I put new wheels on my bike to get them more race ready and went to pre-ride again. Only problem, my cassette was skipping like mad. Crap. I went back and put the tires I wanted on the wheels that I knew would work and adjusted the front brake to work. Pre-rode again and loved it. My lungs felt better and everything. I came back and finished my breakfast and worked on some puzzles to pre-ride the mind! We watched the Citizens start (and saw a fun little crash) and then back to camp to ready for the race. I went and rode around. I found some ski-trail and singletrack to warm-up on. This time it was terrible again, it was getting warmer and my lungs were getting worse. I finally went back to camp, took some cold medicine to clear the lungs and rode the same warm-up loop…I actually was starting to feel good. I head to the start. We were wave 4 so we started 6 minutes back. I took a Clif Shot, Ummm Razzberry! I got a good luck kiss from Jess and lined up. I bullied my way to a front row start.

I decided that morning to have a strategy. There was a 1+ mile fire-road/ski-trail lead out and then a .6 mile gravel road section. My strategy, to get about 5th wheel of the wave, sit in and draft, then attack on the blind corner about .2 miles from the singletrack and enter it in first. That should get me near the front at Ho Chi and help me gap some of those who start slow and rally at the end.

Anyways, from Don’s Gooooooo we were off. The pace was actually very reasonable at the start compared to what I expected and I was able to sit on wheels all the way to the road. I entered the road about 7th but 4 were up front. Fortunately the 2 in front of me pulled me up and we were a group of 7. So I sit in, see my corner, and sprinted hard, taking the hole-shot into the singletrack, wow my plan worked! I nailed the singletrack. I seem better at singletrack in a race then I do at any other time. I was still leading by the top of the climb before Ho Chi. 3 people passed me on the downhill though but all were in the other age group (19-24.) So we enter the singletrack and clearly the guy in front of me is a roadie and can’t ride anything. He struggled big time and it was starting to piss me off. I asked a couple of times for the pass but he was ignoring me and the people in the wave ahead of us that we caught were pulling ahead. Finally, he bobbled and fell down on one leg, I ran over his rear wheel, knocking him the rest of the way down and I and who knows how many others but several, pass. I get to the top of the Ho Chi in first in my age, 3rd in the wave and caught up to the other 2 ahead of me. We ride together. Well, they gapped me around a slower rider so I try to pass in the woods. Stupid. I got a huge stick wedged in my wheel and frame. I tried to knock it out…nope. I tried to ride it out but it was actually slowing me down. I stop, pull the stick out and get passed by THREE people in my age group. I guess I didn’t gap them as much as I wanted. It was Ebben, some guy in a Sobe jersey and Ebben’s teammate, Parman. Crap. I haul ass up the next climb and am on Ebben’s wheel. I decided his wheel is a good one as he has won quite a few medals before. We enter the singletrack and it backs up. I can see everyone ahead of me but there are slower riders between us. We hit this wood bridge way to slow and Ebben stacks it and falls into the mud. I run over his rear wheel, and I am in the mud too. We both get back up and get back to within 15 seconds of the top 2 guys. I hammer pass Ebben (I was pumped then) as he apologized and set my sights on the Sobe guy. I catch him in the last singletrack of the lap. And ride with him.

We get back to the start/finish for the second lap and the Sobe guy starts to sprint. Not sure what his deal was but he was flying. I sat patiently in my big ring though and he died not much later as I passed him way before the first singletrack which was earlier this lap. I rocked the first section and never saw the Sobe guy again. However after the second singletrack and back on the ski trail I saw Parman, who was the race leader for our group. I hammered and finally caught him half way up the gravel road. I sat on for maybe two tenths and attacked again. I was able to gap him and get a couple slower riders between us. Now for the tough part, we had to do the newly cut singletrack section. I was able to pass a couple more riders that bobbled and then I got stuck for a while but no biggy. I hammered up to Ho Chi Min, made a couple sweet passes there and figured I had Parman seriously gapped. I still hammered though and never really looked back. I was still riding really well and my bike was loving me back too. I get to the second to last singletrack and it kind of does a big U-turn right at the start. I see Parman, no more than 10 seconds behind me and by the end of the singletrack he caught me as we both got stuck behind slow riders. I was a little worried but knew I had maybe a ½ to ¾ mile ski trail section to hammer on. I get out and pass all the slow riders and hammer. I kept hammering and passing and enter the last single track with no sign of a challenge. I did really well on the last singletrack and sprinted to the line. I was done, and I figured I won! I see Joel and he says I rode well and told me that he thought there was one ahead of me by a couple minutes. I was still happy to get second. But Joel ended up being mistaken (I figured as much) and I had won! Parman flatted toward the end and nursed in 40 seconds after me for 2nd. All I wanted was a podium so I was ecstatic. My bike worked and everything! I also got 23rd overall or so which is awesome since we started 4th wave and had so much traffic (for reference the 30-34 wave started first and 11 of them were in the top 22) as they never got stuck behind anyone. We had that advantage at Alpine Valley but I had to go ahead and break my chain otherwise I would have had that benefit there. Anyways, I was proud to sit on the podium. I have worked very hard this year (double the miles I had at this point last year and a higher percentage of quality miles) and have lost a lot of weight to try and be competitive. It feels so good that the hard work is paying off, after two mechanicals I was frustrated. I want to thank a lot of others who’ve helped me along the way. Thanks to Missy and Kelson for all the cheers, Jerry for all the mechanical help, advice and training and especially Jess who had to put up with me after two mechanicals and all my training and had to deal with how nervous I was on Sunday morning.

So Jess hasn’t been training that much and Wausau is a leg burning course, so I didn’t expect her for a while after I came in. But I was surprised; there she was in 4th place with 3rd place finishing a second in front of her in the biggest women’s field this year so far. She rocks and got her a 4th place medal.

The rest of the team did exceptional as well. I’d love to recap their stories and races but I don’t have the time. Jeannine in her first race this year, got 3rd in her Citizen age group and beat about 15 other women which is good for her first race this year. Brozek is starting to get a hang of this mountain biking thing and did exceptional in his second sport race. Jess got 4th. Joel took his third consecutive singlespeed win. Hertz got 2nd in his age and 7th overall in comp. A great day for Team Pacific. Also Jerry was sitting in 8th place for a while before some back cramps and a crash regulated him to 13th in Elite. I think he was a bit disappointed with the finish but I think 13th is a solid result for him in a loaded field.

We packed up camp and headed south. Hit the Taco Bell in Point and the Ultimate Chalupa is misnamed. Should be the average Chalupa or the overrated Chalupa. It isn’t bad but it really isn’t good. The Crucnhwrap and Spicy Chicken Burrito were solid as usual though. Got home, unpacked, cleaned up and slept hard!!!


This is my mountain bike song:

They see me rollin

They hatin

Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

4 Comments:

  • Great race yesterday! Next time I'll keep my mouth shut afterwards. I guess I can't read numbers on the backs of people :-)

    joel

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/05/2006 9:31 AM  

  • You ran over two people? Remind me never to crash in front of you. You'd probably break me in half.

    Nice race! I'm glad someone on our street can handle the 9-mile singletrack.

    By Anonymous jerry, at 6/05/2006 10:17 AM  

  • No pictures of the top of the podium?

    Someday I hope to be as fast as you, Burrito Eater. Teach me.

    Oh, crap - the word verification thing is just a red x!

    By Blogger J.Bro, at 6/05/2006 10:39 AM  

  • nice race. wish i coule have been there.

    By Anonymous shiroma, at 6/05/2006 2:28 PM  

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