Saturday, June 16, 2007

The view from the VUE

Coming to you live from the VUE en route to the hotel in Cleveland on the way home. This mobile internet deal is pretty sweet, no? Levi has all the cool toys.

Speaking of cool toys, forgot to mention that I grabbed some new gear for the bike for this race. I put some of those Rotor rings on the bike the other day to try and I stole Ray's old wheels from Zack. Zack doesn't have his 29er yet so he hasn't had use for the hoops. On the day I borrowed the wheels he and his wife Christa welcomed their first kid into this world -- Gavin was born on Thursday and Z won't be on his mtn bike ever again so I'll probably hang onto those wheels for safe keeping.

Got into Mannistee later yesterday afternoon and put 10 miles or so on the course. Lots of twists and turns and basically nothing else. The climbs are mostly short punchy ones which are the opposite of my favorite kind of climbs. Actually, climbs in general are the opposite of my favorite types of climbs, but these are particularly in opposition. Can't say lots of twists are turns for 100 miles are really my thing either, but we'll give 'er hell.

Ran into Ernesto on the ride fresh off his 2nd at Big Bear 24 Hour Solo last weekend. I was hoping he was actually not-so-fresh off of the effort, but he rode a solid race today...more below.

Grabbed a room for the evening. Michelle wanted to camp. Us tough guys said that we'd prefer feather beds. We settled on Super 8, which is sort of like camping inside. It was fine really, but it did not come with the choice of soft or firm pillows or the "no handguns allowed inside" sign as did our lovely Holiday Inn from night one - so we were roughing it a bit.

Early morning this AM to get to the race on time and then stood in line for one of the four port-a-johns available to racers until start time. If you don't know, port-a-john rental joints will tell you 1 toilet per 100 people per day. So, the promoter was probably about right - 400/4 = 100 --- EXCEPT that all 250 racers and their support staffers needed to visit the joints at exactly the same time this morning. Note to promoter - get some more freakin' toilets.

Race started at a nice clip and I was sitting on the back of the front group of 9, but I'm still thinking I'm not really fit enough to take chances and dig deep early so I layed off the gas and drifted back a bit. The next group caught me soon after and I did the same thing. Gaaaaahhh, I don't know, maybe I'm too concerned with the points chase and I should give it a little more early on to see if I can hang onto it and move up a few places. So now I'm riding outside the top 20 and settling in to my pace.

Turned out my pace just wasn't quite enough today and I finished outside the top 10 in about 14th (we didn't stick around to find out for sure). Levi's day ended early with a crank arm that parted ways with his bike about a lap and a half into the race. Michelle kicked some serious ass and came home in 3rd. Like I said, she's the tough one on this trip.

Just pulled into the HIXpress and I'm going to bed. Final leg of this thing tomorrow.

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