|JB's race recaps - Ken Woods 2012|
|Written by Joel Boelke|
We all knew this one would be tough as we watched the weather forecast for the week. Even Mike made the epic
call by encouraging us to rise to the challenge as only bike racers would. Well, race-wise it turned out
tougher than me.
Short story: I finished 2 laps and 40 miles and had to drop out.
Long story: Eric and I arrived early and breezed through check in. Good call Eric, as the line soon after got
quite long. As we drove down we watched the temp steadily drop from 48, settling at 38 when the rain started
up. Avoiding discussions of the craziness of racing in near-freezing rain (5 deg colder and straight snow
would have actually been better) and 20-25 mph wind, we settled in and contemplated proper clothing choices.
We did think ahead and I brought our van, with rear seats removed so we had a cavern of dry warmth in which to
change and hang out. Good call. Everyone was huddled in their cars so there wasn't much pre-race mingling.
Things finally got underway (after a very brief warmup) and our cat 3 field had about 25 of us. The race
1) head E into 20-25 mph headwind,
2) S with cross-wind,
3) W with tail wind,
4) N with some sheltered valley but two large climbs.
Repeat 3 times for 63 miles.
The first lap was fairly uneventful, with the exception of the icy sleet and a guy who throttled it in the
crosswind to damage the field. At the end of the first lap everyone was soaked (think riding 2011 MN Ironman,
but after riding through a pool first) and I realized we already had lost almost half the field.
Lap 2 comes and the expeted corner attack comes as we hit the cross wind. This time the effect was complete demolition of the remaining riders. A group of 5 stuck together and the rest ended up 1 and 2 chasing for dear life. I got gapped and could see Eric riding up the road with two others. There were three individuals between us. Sheer determination kept my legs moving and after we hit the tailwind I hammered out by best time trial and started gaining ground. I finally passed the three riders but the Eric 3 and group of 5 were out of sight. There may
have been a few more but it was hard to tell where everyone was.
As I made my way up the north stretch I was freezing. I could feel 5 fingers and 0 toes, but I knew they were still there since I could see them. The big hill was tiring but my legs felt suprisingly like they could have kept going. The rest of me, not so much. So I decided my only chance to finish one more lap was to stop at the van and swap out for some dry clothes. A last ditch attempt, but I really really wanted to at least finish. So I hopped in the van, started stripping off layers when my entire body suddenly completely seized up and I started shivering uncontrollably. At that point it was game over. So I sat for about 10 min before I could function again and finished drying off. 20 more minutes the severe shivering settled down enough to where I decided to drive the course in reverse and make sure Eric was ok. halfway around I found him still motoring along, with only two small groups remaining of ours and the 35+ field, with several single riders here and there trying to finish. When Eric finished I was waiting by the line so he could just hop in the warm van and repeat the process I just went through. Way to go Eric for even finishing, I think he was in the top 10 just for that feat.
It took a while to get us both back to semi-normal, and we had a chance to see AW, Mike, Adam, and Dave Jones
getting ready for the afternoon wave. The road was wet but the rain had stopped, but it would still be a tough
race. It sure is tough when you battle hypothermia more than other riders.
In the end I am dissappointed I couldn't even finish, but I had a fantastic adventure with Eric, something we
can talk about for a long time. And it was great to spend time talking on the road about racing, family, kids,
and life. Building friendship and just walking through similar places in life together made the entire day
worthwhile. Now that's relationship building!
Well see how the epic-ness of it grows over the season...
Beth Anne Leasure
We Proceeded On...exploring on two wheels.
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