Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Iron Cross Tales

Sector 1 or How to conserve.

What follows is a race report broken up by sectors, and as time allows. I was joined by fellow Iron folks Chuck Q, Tim H (on single speed by choice or fate) Chris D & Chris M (fresh from a trip to the UK) and Ian Briggs, our stalwart UK member. Jenny Ives rounded out the team. Justin L was to be with us, but had some "UCI points" thingy going on. Whatever. (nothing but love man).
Also special mention to Bina Briggs for capturing our pain in digital medium, and the lovely couple of Coach Jim and Patsy Hartnett who tended to the prima dona needs of 4 old guys (sorry Chris D) who still enjoy potty humor.

We staged on an honor system of what time we expected to finish in. Chris Delisie, Chris McBurnie and I being the wimps on geared bikes went down to the staging area in the under 5 hour group. Once there the crowd generally milled about until one cyclist at the front yelled ready, then go. At first I though it was someone having us on, but we all left en mass and thundered up the gravel path.

Onto the first run up the Chris's and I were together. Naturally I dropped a chain so in a crowd I kept running and managed to get it back on. Then into the spiral of death. No tight little twist, but a giant, field enveloping, never ending, "I'm about to puke" spiral of death. Chris D and I are on the way out when a rider slides out in front of us. In my one cat like reflex move of the day, I swerve right while Chris dodges left. We grin like idiots at each other for having cleared and fellow riders begin complementing Chris.

From there it's onto some sketchy gravel (that would later claim some Jenny Ives blood) and onto a recreation path. There the pace lines form up and folks tend to calm down some. Many folks were happy to drive the train so being nice I let them drive. Through the sand pit and on to the first hill, paved and not too steep but long. Gaps started forming but I let them open since we would hit dirt soon and I don't want to be redlining it there. Once we navigate the through the fence we hit fire road.

Up, up, up. As expected folks start to fade and I just work at keeping a good tempo over the rough stuff. A few time folks will come up and I tag along nicely taking what rest I can. Many folks have already flatted so there will be some long days. Over the top onto a long level gravel road along the ridge line. Another pace line forms up with Chris D and I sitting pretty. One hurried gentleman comes screaming down as the road tilts down and we jump on. We approach pavement again and need to go left. Like lemmings I watch several folks follow this guy right despite signs and yelling riders to go left. Down the twisty descent I lead, and encounter another rider who is left/right challenged at the turn on the bottom.

These are the rolling paved roads before the KOM climb, and we all are getting along more or less. I'm amazed at the couple of single speed guys, knowing Chuck and Tim are doing the same.

As we approach the KOM climb I again focus on keep a steady cadence and not maxxing out. 3/4 from the top folks are starting to loose it so I lift the speed to get out of harms way then start to crank it over the top and onto more fire road climb. Here I manage at one point to open a gap, knowing I'll want to have room once we hit the single track climb, Lippencote Trail. As the road levels out and tilts down a group with Chris D catches up to me. Here I'll work to stay on the front until I hit an unforeseen rock that almost throws me over the handle bars. Then the shorts snag trying to slide back and my weight is stuck over the handles bars. Some how I regain my composure and position on the bike. I approach the first check point and set up to make the turn onto Lippencote and sector 2 with only one wheel in front of me...

...to be continued.

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