Tuesday, April 2, 2019


     What an adventure!  The early forecast was for cold and wet.  As the week progressed, the rain chances diminished and as Sunday approached, dropped to nil.  However, the forecast of overcast, 48 degrees with a stiff north wind was spot on.  My packing included all my cold weather gear, plus rain gear (I pack early), and several kits.  Because the venue has one (only one) toilet, and no porta potties, I opted to start from home in my BSS skin suit, tights, jacket.  I left at 5:40 and arrived at 7:45, just in time to secure a parking place in a semi-protected spot next to my good friend, Dean.
     I set up both bikes then rode the quarter-mile to check in, get my bib/timing chip, and use the toilet.  No line.  Most folks aim their arrival for 8am so I just beat the line.  Just that little bit of riding left me shivering.  My start time for the first race, 5k time trial, was 9:14.  Time to warm up.
     I'm very familiar with the course, having come here for about fifteen years.  It is about two and a half miles around, with a really long back-side hill.  It isn't steep, just long.  The 5k is out-and-back, and goes half-way up the hill for the turn-around.  My warm up consisted of a full loop then the actual 5k route.  It took the full loop before I stopped shivering and was fairly comfortable pedaling.  The wind really cut into us.  I failed to mention I warm up on my road bike, then do a little shake-down on the tt bike before heading to the start line.
     The start is flat, then a slight incline.  Today it was into the wind.  Ugh!  Within 200 yards my right eye teared up.  Well, that doesn't help.  Anyway, I felt fast although when I peeked at the computer I needed a little more speed.  In the warm up I used the little ring the first time up the back-side and the big ring and lots of gears the second time, to be sure I could do it on the tt bike.  At the turn-around I could see that Bob, who started thirty seconds behind, had made up at least ten of those.  I blasted down the hill and felt good on the return, accelerating nicely through the finish line.  The finish line was not where it had been previously, and it turns out the 5k, or 3.1 miles, turned out to be 3.4 miles.  I doubt that made a difference in my placing, as I came in third.  This was not a surprise, in that I do better in the longer races plus Fred has just aged-up into my category and is faster along with being younger.  I have to put up with him for another three years.
     I went back to the car to stay warm while waiting for the 10k race, with a start time of 10:41.  Bob stayed around until the results were posted and came by to say he beat me.  He didn't say by how much, and I have yet to see the results.
     Everyone knows what happens when you ASSUME.  I left the warmth of the car about twenty-five minutes before my start and went to the toilet (notice I don't use the word bathroom) and immediately noticed that they had taken the Start banners down.  I inquired as to where the start was and the volunteer pointed up the road and said "that way."  For all my years coming here, the 10k was one loop, plus the 5k out-and-back.  I assumed that this year they moved the start to half-way around the course and just eliminated the out-and-back element.  So off I went in search of the start.  It wasn't there.  I did the whole loop searching and only upon coming back did I see racers coming toward me.  One of the racers was Bob, so I knew I'd missed my start time.
     Well, there has been a lot of building in the last few years, and there is a new road that hooks into the loop (actually there are several).  Now there was a person directing cyclists up this road and at the end was the start line.  I asked if I could get in (there was a delay between age groups so it was dead time anyhow) and he said, sure, you got sixty seconds.  Here we pause for an aside.
     Having lost to Bob in the 5k, I wanted to be as quick as possible for the 10k.  To that end, I put my rain jacket under the skin suit, plus arm warmers to cut down any wind resistance.  For my warm up, which this time was on the tt bike, I had my jacket on also, intending to take it off before starting.  I also had no hydration.  Thrown off my schedule, I didn't remove the jacket.  It may have impacted my time, but even with all the layers, I still didn't get overheated.
     It was an uphill start, so I stood for longer than usual, but settled in and felt good.  Once again my eye teared up, so vision was spotty.  As I powered my way around the course I realized I had no idea where I was going.  But about half way through I recognized racers coming from the other direction, so concluded that somewhere was a turn-around.  Well, it wasn't at the 5k spot, so I had to go up the whole incline.  Finally I saw the turn-around banner and relaxed a bit.  Once again I bombed down the back-side hill.  I must admit, I do well on this section.  And again, I powered through the finish line.  As I hit the Stop button I noticed my time seemed really good.  When I punched Summary I understood why.  The 10k (6.2 mile) course turned out to be 5.1 miles.
     It seems the organizers went with what was convenient for the chip timing company.  I understand it takes time to move the timing pads, but it doesn't take much to move the start line.  It wasn't like we had to go over the pad to start, just to finish. 
     We had over an hour before the 20k road race.  This would be five laps, or 12.6 miles which is close enough.  Bob started out strong and I was dropped on the back-side hill the first time up.  Last place.  I'd hoped to hang in awhile, but three races in the cold did me in.  Time to get back to training.