Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well I've had a few days to recover and take in the whole experience, and finally have a few minutes to write about it...so here goes.
Friday, extremely busy day at work. I worked at the old store and was able to cut out at 4:30. Picked up Slater and Kristen, and rolled into Emporia at about 7:00. Picked up packets, met up with the others, and piled 5 of us, 5 bikes and enough perpetuem for a lifetime into one small hotel room.
Rider meeting was at 5:45 and the race started promptly at 6:00, despite a slight threat of tennis ball sized hail.
Rolled out in neutral start until the gravel and then it was on. Mr. Hughes was not messing around, and spent much of the first 10 miles or so about 25 meters off the front. Once the pace picked up it was decision time. Last year I went too hard the first 100 and was not able to finish. This year I decided to back off and pace myself a little better. Our team held together pretty well for the first 40 or so. Bundy had mechanicals, Waller flatted, so Slater and I rolled into Madison together. Kristen was not far behind, so when we pulled out of Madison, we slowed the pace to keep the team together. At about mile 60, after a couple deep water creek crossings, we go head to head with Texaco Hill. Some awesomely nasty hills filled with oil rigs, cows, and wind. By the end of the big hill it was Brandon, Waller and myself, and Brandon was still having major mechanicals. We had to stop and work on his bike for a while, and Kristen rolled past us.
We caught up to her at about 95 and the 4 of us rolled into Cottonwood Falls together.
Waller and Slater had enough at this point and opted to call it a day. I refueled, rehydrated and rolled out with Chris Berger from Lawrence. The next 10 miles or so were pretty tough. Not too hilly, but just mentally tough with a nice headwind. Berger and I flatted at mile 115, which was actually a much needed rest. We then rolled through a really pretty section in the trees with some nice clear creek crossings. We took a little splash bath to cool of and kept on moving. Met up with Lelan from Emporia who was having flat troubles, and him, Kristen and I rode the next 30 miles together at a nice "easy" pace.
The three of us took off at mile 154 together and I was feeling great. I cranked it on the first hill and had a 1/2 mile before I knew it. I decided just to push it to see if I could hold this pace over the next 40 miles. I felt great until about mile 190 when I made a right hand turn onto some dirt road that had been rutted out by 4x4 after the last rain fall. The next 8 miles were very slow moving, but I could see Emporia in the distance, so all was good.
I called Kathy with about 2 miles to go to let her know I had made it. I then really bonked. I actually had to eat a powerbar with less than 2 miles, I thought my legs were going to fall off.
I finished at 15:15.15. 201.82 miles. Very long day, and it's going to be a long year preparing for next year. And Trans-Iowa is only 11 months away...