Monday, May 28, 2012

Maplelag Spring Opener

Jay Richards and family do a fantastic job pulling off a race. Where else can you race (for $10, mind you), have a lunch included and pay out three deep? Nowhere around these parts. Furthermore, the course was voted the best in the Minnesota Series last year.

Sara, Kiera and I showed up Friday and Sara was able to get in part of a loop. She snapped her seat binder bolt and thankfully I always carry a spare since this has happened before and put us in a spot of bother. We ended up running out of time since we had to meet Doug, Anne and Stella for some cabin time. Anne and her mother Mary had an amazing dinner waiting so once we were able to wrestle the girls to the table, we dug in. The girls played hard and we finally got them to bed around 9:30. Late for Stella but Kiera's normal bedtime in the summer.

Saturday morning was cloudy and cool, just the way I like it. Sara, Doug and I arrived about 45 minutes before start time and got in a brief warm up on the tacky trails. Perfect conditions. 2.2 XR 1s on the Superfly for me and the same set up for Sara on the Top Fuel. Doug punched it from the start and I was able to hang for a bit. I know he was trying to shed me early since he continually glanced back... He did and after a while Jake caught me, rode behind for awhile and then took over. He briefly got a gap and then we both had our issues with bike problems and ended up riding together for the almost the entire race. I sucked off his wheel down the ski trail and jumped by for second on the day about 30 seconds behind Doug who had some trail navigation issues
(now I know why he always races with the Garmin even though it didn't help him this time :) Jake ended up third, Kevin Ishaug forth and Jay Richards rounded out the podium. It sure is great to see Jay beating Lyme's Disease and riding fast again.

Sara rode a steady pace, enjoyed the technical practice and chalked up another win. Maplelag is always a tough course for her but she enjoys the challenge. Her concussion symptoms continue to slowly improve and she is seeing less "floaties" and has fewer tough days. A familar competitor, Kyia Anderson also made an appearance, pulling off second place(it was nice to see Kyia's husband Kris and 8 month old baby Aunders since we haven't seen them since last September).

After the race we rode a good chunk of another lap before heading back for lunch and awards. Next up was the drive back to the cabin to relieve Anne and Mary and jump into the lake. Stella and Kiera played hard all day and a good part of the night. Kiera ASKED to go to bed (this has happed once or twice in her 3 and 1/2 years) so Stella did a great job wearing her out. A big THANKS to the Swansons for a great weekend.

Up next: Mankato.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

8th Cable-Off Road Classic Win for Sara

80s and sun at the CORC? I'm a fan of snow and rain early on but it sure was nice to warm up, cool down, and finally sit around in shorts and short sleeves after a race in May. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't in Kansas. The folks in Cable continue to make improvements on the course each year and I'd have to say this was the best course yet. There was a little more singletrack to go along with the old stuff and it has just enough rocks and roots to make it interesting. It is always fun to see the race crowd again after a long off-season. Gary Crandall, Fat Tire Festival director, was on hand taking pictures and chatting it up. A healthy Duluth crowd attended along with the usual suspects. Sara was a little apprehensive about how it would go since she hasn't raced since realizing she had a nasty concussion in late August. To her surprise she felt good and was able to pick up where she left off last year. In fact, she rode strong enough to place 18th overall. Usually, she sees little "floaties" dancing around in her eyes but they have been diminishing as of late thanks to some new homoeopathy medicine. The Trek worked flawlessly and it seems we have it dialed in pretty nicely. She didn't ever ride over her head and stayed on her best behavior so she didn't fall. She certainly doesn't want to go down and bump her head (or stop quickly from hitting a tree with a shoulder and "rattling" her brain like the August injury). Congrats to our neighbor Diana McFadden for finishing in second and Rebecca Sauber in third to round out the podium. We are both glad to get the first race out of the way. I'm just happy I was able to draft off neighbor Todd McFadden and C.J. Faulkner once Tyler Gaunthier and Chad Sova rode us off their wheels around the 15 mile to go mark. I'm always bummed when I get dropped on this course because it suits me nicely even if I'm not on my A game. Congrats to Tyler on the win, Chad in second, and the sprint of the day had C.J. nipping Todd at the line for third. It sure would have been nice to be able contest the sprint but there was none of that on this day. A huge thanks to Kathy Raymond for watching Kiera so Sara and I could race. Usually my mom or dad watch her but since Kathy offered and Kiera adores Ron and Kathy's boys, Ben and Luke, it was an easy decision to bring her with. Furthermore, it enabled my dad to sign up for the short race. It was a highlight to ride by him during the race and see him having fun pedaling his bike at 72 years of age.