Sunday, September 14, 2008
Chequamegon? Chawamigon? Shiwamagon?
My goal for Chequamegon this year was to finish the 40-mile race in around 2 and a half hours. I never know who is going to sign up in the Single Speed class, so I didn’t really put a lot of pressure on my self for how I wanted to finish in the SS class. Overall, I was thinking if I could finish in the top 50 I would be stoked.
This year we stayed with some friends a few miles from the start of the race. Total there were 10 of us at the house and 6 of us were racing. The morning before the race we had breakfast at the house. It was really nice to take our time eating and to be able to chat about the day ahead. It was also nice to not deal with the crowds, the smoke, the weak coffee and not so pleasant servers and Cooper’s, our other breakfast alternative.
After breakfast we drove to town to get ready for the race. The temp was in the mid 50's and were perfect for racing. I threw on some knee warmers and a long sleeved jersey to warm up and took off for a quick 15 minute spin. Once I was done with my warm up, I backed my bike into the preferred start gate and went right to the back of the line. The Preferred Start was great; it allowed me to take my time getting ready, then when I had to line up, I just walked behind the other 200 or so preferred riders and was able cut in front of the other 1500 riders who did not have a preferred start and had to get up early to stage their bikes.
At 10:00 the cannon fired to start the race the mass start roll out began. This year was crazy like any other year. Like always there were a lot of idiots trying to win the race in the first 3 miles and a few good crashes on the pavement. Since I was on the single I got passed on the road section by a lot of people who I knew I would catch once we hit the Birkie Trail. Sure enough, as soon as I hit the grass I start passing the rider after rider as they dropped into the granny gear to spin up the first hill.
I felt good on the trail; my plan was to find a good rhythm and ride the first 30 miles at a good pace but try not to stress myself too much, knowing that the hills during the last 10 miles can make or break the race. With in the first 10 miles of the race I started riding with a couple other single speeders who would stay with me for race. On every hill we would jockey back and forth because of our different gears or riding styles.
I crossed the “OO” checkpoint at around 58 minutes. 15 miles down, I was feeling strong but didn’t want to push too hard and continued to keep a good pace taking breaks and drafting off of the other riders and always keeping the two other single speeders in sight. For the next 10 miles, I tried to let the trains of geared riders do all the work on the flats as I sat in at got pulled along. With about 15 miles to go I was feeling really strong and started taking pulls at the lead of the group and began pulling away from the other riders, except the two single speeders. Somewhere around this point in the race we started gaining on a few other S.S. riders.
After Fire Tower the course turns to a roller coaster of grass hills for the last 8 miles of the race. It was at this point when my quads started tightening up and I realized that I didn’t drop the other single speeders. Once again we jockeyed back and forth up the hills. Trying to avoid cramping, I jogged the crest of some hills while the other S.S.r’s rode the hill.
With about 2 miles left, I decided to make my move. Putting everything I had into the hills I pushed up every incline and didn’t look back. Eventually, I recognized the last long climb of the race and started to hear the music at the finish line. Once I crested the last hill, I knew the race was about over, there was a short down hill section with a 90 degree turn at the bottom and a 200 foot climb to the finish. As I descended, I didn’t look to see where the other single speeders were behind me, but saw two guys a head of me on the up hill climb. I gave it all I had up the hill trying to catch the riders, but I couldn’t close the gap and came up .3 sec short of passing on guy.
I crossed the line at 2:23:32.
I was the 3rd Single Speed to cross the line.
2.5 seconds in front of the 4th place Single Speed.
50 seconds separated the 3-6 place Single Speeds.
I finished 65 overall.
I am super happy with how the race went. I had a lot of fun and felt awesome.
As usual, Thanks to Katie for her help before and after the race.
To Tim and Odia for opening their home to us and for all the great food and beer.
And to Salsa for the great bike and a highly noticeable jersey.
Now playing: The Vandals - Come Out Fighting