An Accidental Quest…………. continued

        I asked you to wish me luck in my last blog and it worked out, so thank you! Friday evening, after leaving my day job, I hurried home to get in an hour spin on the trainer and then pack to go to Ione’s Howard Park. (Ione is a quaint little town about an hour south of my home.) Asa was already there working on setting up Saturday’s race. We’d decided to camp out in the park to save a trip back and forth, to be course security, to get a little extra sleep and because it’s fun.
         I caught up with Asa and part of her crew at the local pizza place. They’d just finished setting up and a pitcher of beer. I was surprised to find my strongest competition in the series at the table. I hadn’t realized that he was on the Folsom Bike Team that was this week’s race sponsor. So he had the pre-course knowledge that I usually have to help me in my race efforts. I also found out that he had changed up his bike choice to help get me this week. Hummmm.
           After finishing off my half of a pizza, we’re off to the Howard Park. As we are setting up the tent an Ione Police car cruises thru the park. He’s doing one final check before locking the gates. He wants to know what we’re up to camping in the park. No, we are not starting an “Occupy Ione”. Yes, we are cleared to be here. He’s really very nice and let’s us know that he’s going to close and “dummy lock” the gate so it’ll look closed but we can still get out if needed.

We’re off! 6 old guys and a couple of juniors.

          Just about first light the main crew arrives with the timing arch, PA, and reg and scoring equipment. We help get all that set up then racers start rolling in. I do a little mc-ing then Wyatt shows up, even before I’m looking, so I can get my warm up in. Thanks Wyatt. I have a nice warm up. I didn’t mention that the weather forecast had not been too favorable but it was dry and warmer (about 54 degrees) than any one had expected.

Here’s the early gap I wanted starting to form. Go go go!

          Most of the Men’s C 55+ racers are on the start line when I roll up. They let me know that they’ve been talking about trying to beat me and/or at least hang with me for a lap or two. One wants to know what I’ve done to get better since last year. I say the coach I hired last January, Heather Nielson has made a huge difference in my fitness. http://www.heathernielson.com/ Thank you Mistress H! It feels both good, and a little weird, to be the guy to beat. I decided to pull the trigger early and see if I can discourage the other old guys. I want to look unbeatable. I try for a really early gap and pull it off. Hole shot! It’s a 2 mile lap with very little vert; about 50 ft. I just keep pushing and pushing. I try not to look back and just work on chasing the racers 45+ that started ahead of me. All is going well. I’ve said before that barriers are an issue for we and that’s still true; this race especially. I slipped and almost went down on a couple of dismounts and that made me too cautious. Too timid is actually more dangerous; I know this but still have trouble committing to the dismount. The rest of my race is going well and I’m feeling pretty good when out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a Folsom Bike Jersey not too far back, Eeeck. Is it my nemesis? No it’s just a teammate of his warming up. But it keeps me pushing. My 30 minute race goes 40 minutes but I hold on to first. Yay!
          Change clothes and it’s back to work. I need to get to the mic so Wyatt can do his warm up and race. The post race conversations all day long include discussion about how rough the course was. At first I’m thinking it wasn’t really that rough. Then I’m wondering if my mad mountain bike skills smoothed it out for me. Then I come to my senses and realise that, nope, it was my Grammo CX bike. The carbon Paru not only accelerates well it really dampens the rough stuff while still letting me feel the course. After a full day of mc-ing and course take down we are out. Home. Food. And just sit. I’m not sure if my victory has locked up the series for me yet. So before bed I check the standings, it’s a best 6 of 8 series so it takes a little math to see how it stands. Nope, I’m not secure yet. I need one more win to be secure. So the series is still mine to win or lose. And once again I ask you to wish me luck!

                                               by George, Asa’s husband.

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