Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Show Down at Old Pueblo

So past this week, I did not get to ride like I would have liked. We got a big storm this week that brought snow with it. Snow means trainer, rollers, or bikes at the gym. We were also busy preparing for Old Pueblo and meeting other commitments. Needless to say I felt well rested. The ride down to and through Arizona was long. At least the company was good. Chris, Adam, Boris and I traveled with Paul. We packed up and left on Thursday evening. (We split the trip up spending a night in St. George, Utah.)
Apparently, it hadn't rained in the Tucson area for 130+ days of couse, there was a chance of showers which made me nervous. I don't do well when I am wet and cold. But we lucked out and it sprinkled some Friday night, but Saturday was warm and sunny. The warm weather extended into Sunday also.

We pre-road the course on Saturday morning. It was like nothing I had ever ridden before. It was flat--only 13oo feet of climbing--and weaved through fields of cactus. Most of the courses I have ridden weave through fields of grass or around rocks. The course called for threading your bike through cactus that were maybe two and half feet apart. It was crazy.
The game plan, at least for Chris and I was to have one good lap and then just have fun. How could we expect to compete against individuals who have been able to train all winter? No pressure to do well as a team, just have fun, enjoy the warm weather, and ride our bikes. The game plan took a drastic turn though. Somewhere on Saturday afternoon we realized that we were in second place. Second place? How did that happen? It could have been Paul's phenomenal first lap with La Mans start where he posted a 1:03. Or when Chris followed that up with a 57 minute lap. We expected Boris, our 5th rider to start with a night lap, but with our times he did not need lights. We were off to a great start. Well, I can be competitive and you don't let a second place standing just go.
We kept a close eye on the first and third place teams. The first place team started pulled away and we were distancing ourselves from third when disaster struck. Chris, our fastest, had a flat. It should have been an easy fix, but he had some serious issues. He got his tube inflated and pulled off top of stem with his inflator head. He started petitioning the slower riders for help. He got another tube, but it was a schrader, which does not work on a presta specific rim. He got another tube, but the top of the stem was broken off. He got another tube, but it was split by the stem. Finally, he got a tube that was in good condition and held air. Needless, to say, he came in about 50 minutes behind schedule.
Third place was within minutes. The last three riders posted great finishing lap times and we ended up nine minutes ahead of third place. It should be stated here that third place consisted of four girls and one guy. That was a surprise. They were quick. I am really interested in their times and will do some comparing when everything gets posted. It was a great first race on an awesome course.

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