On saturday morning when Scott and I left Duluth it was 50 degrees and foggy. By the time we got to Chippewa to meet Doug, it was 80 degrees - hot and humid! Thankfully, we rode in air conditioned comfort (Doug's car) the rest of the way to Sheboygan. It would have been a pretty uneventful trip, except we almost had to get our preride in in the middle of nowhere. We couldn't find a gas station after the needle hit empty and all the low gas alarms no longer went off. Doug was figeting, Scott was laughing, I was trying to think of how long I could ride before I'd swelter in the heat.
Jumping out of the car in Sheboygan was like jumping into a sauna. Hot and humid. Sticky. We were greeted by Mr. Anderson offering a wet 'wonder dog' to snuggle up to. We got kitted up and rode the course a coupld of times for tomorrow's race. Scott and Doug were going faster than I wanted to go, but they'd wait for me every now and then. My legs felt bad at first, but then loosened up. Probably a remnant of the long car ride. I was not looking forward to the race next day - I had not ridden much in the past few weeks. My legs are tired and we have really been enjoying hiking in the woods instead. We got some good food that night and some good rest. The luxury of cable afforded a movie in the AM to settle my nerves before the race.
We got to the race a bit early so Scott cleaned my brakes. Amazing what a difference that made. My bike felt faster than it had it weeks! I got an OK start. I was in third going towards the prime and I wasn't going to contest it, but the gal in the lead got caught by the group and then I got around Sue to get the prime. Jenna flew by me just before the single track. The elite men were waiting to get into the single track and so we had to wait as well. Jenna got in the line of men first then myself with with a few guys between. I got around those guys to bridge back up to Jenna. It was tough to get around the men in the single track and we had to wait until an open spot to get by. We were going really fast that first lap and then Kyia got past Jenna and me running the steep up while we rode the switchback. She was flying. We were all three together as Kyia cleaned the Equilizer, while Jenna and I ran up the rest of the way and had to bridge back up to Kyia. All three of us were still together for another 1/2 lap or so. I was riding behind Kyia with Jenna in the lead. Jenna got a little gap on us so I went around Kyia to bridge back up to Jenna. We were still all together for a while, but I am not sure for how long. I was trying to drink as much as possible each lap. I felt pretty bad the first lap, but then started to feel better after that. I knew I had to be a little careful in the heat. I would get by Jenna here and there and she would attack on the longer uphill past me and get by me before the singletrack. I yelled to let Jenna know her extra tube was dangling down towards her front wheel spokes while going up the hill after the water crossing in the last lap. I told her I would not attack as she had to fix it. I rode ahead, but knew she would catch me again. I didn't know how far Kyia and the rest of the women were behind so I couldn't afford to stop. This is racing! Jenna caught back on and got by again before the last section of singletrack with the switchback. We rode together - Jenna in front, up the equilizer - both of us running and Jenna just edging me out for front wheel on the remount. I passed Jenna on the 'Sheboygan Slickrock' and got into the last small section of singletrack first. I had to get through the sand cleanly, but inadvertanly shifted down one gear too low and had to spin through too much. Jenna must have been too close and I heard her unclip. I knew I had to go right then otherwise it would be a full out sprint at the end. She is fast and can bridge a gap quickly, so I went as hard as I could and was surprised when she didn't catch me. I was pretty pleased to take the win. Fantastic competition.
On the way home we were all rockin' to 80's music. Gotta love the big hair bands and the one hit wonders.
Today after work Scott and I went for a great hike along Chester Bowl. The creek is rushing and higher than I have ever seen it with the trail alongside the creek showing signs of having been underwater.