I drove to Red Wing, Minnesota Sunday morning for the Memorial Classic (MNSCS #5). The drive was about 4 1/2 hours and I arrived with 45 minutes to register and warm-up before the 11 am starting gun. Weather was perfect (temps in the 70's) and the trails were dry and fast.
My legs were not feeling as fresh and ready to battle during the warm-up as I would have liked. I did enough warm-up to get me going, but I could feel the effort was going to not be as good as the previous weekend. Actually, I felt it all week long as I tried to recover from my effort at the Chippewa race. This was my 2nd Minnesota Series race and there were more riders at this event than the previous one at Mt. Kato. 150 CAT 2 (Sport) racers toed the line.
My group was in Wave 2 which included the 35 - 39, 40 - 44 and 45 - 49 year old age groups. After the call ups of the series leaders for those groups, the rest of us filled in the line. I had not done a pre-ride, so had no idea what to expect. The opening section was doubletrack through open fields giving riders plenty of time to jockey for position before entering the singletrack. My mind said this was the place to move forward. My desire said this was the place to move forward. But my legs were not keeping up with my mind and desire. I held on to my position, but maybe only passed a few in the opening section. When we hit the singletrack and all the bottlenecks and backed up traffic that ensued, I knew I should have forced myself to go cross eyed in the opening section in spite of my legs. Oh well, every week cannot be the same form...
The singletrack was filled with twists and turns and twists and turns and twists and turns. It was fun and a challenge - especially being filled with log piles, logs, roots, rocks, bridges, tight trees, climbs, berms, switchbacks, steep descents, etc... . There was a long climbing section on doubletrack that connected sections of singletrack. This was a chance to pick a good grinding spin and pass some riders. I made it by a few on lap 1, but I was just trying to keep pace. I was trading places back and forth with a couple of guys I recognized from my age group in the starting wave. There were two long steep climbs on loose rocks and roots that had everybody off their bikes walking. I chose to ride the first climb (did so on both laps), but the second climb had a big rock between two tight trees that forced me to dismount and walk the remaining portion (both laps). I'm sure that section can be ridden, but I didn't see anyone riding it both laps when I came to it.
I kept pushing myself in lap 2 and actually started to feel better in terms of my legs, but I don't think that meant my speed picked up. I just didn't have the push that I did last weekend and my only thought is I didn't fully recover from the effort and should have adjusted my training this past week to allow for more recovery. This week might dictate that!! Regardless, lap 2 was uneventful and I stayed upright. My hip brushed one tree on a high speed corner, but no bruise or pain today. The trail was really fun in the lower section with all the high speed turns, rocks and technical sections. And there was plenty of climbing to keep one happy and turning the screws. One guy in my age group went around me in some of the tight singletrack and I caught him on a climb, but in spite of my best effort to hang with him - he crossed the line before me and that cost me one place.
I crossed the line in 1:20 and change for 8th Place in CAT 2 (45-49). That's one position better than Mt. Kato where I thought I was in better form and got 9th Place racing the same guys. Had I pushed a bit harder, 6th and 7th place riders in my group were certainly within reach (30 seconds to a minute), but the top 5 were not. I was 65th Overall out of the 150 CAT 2 guys. Everyone's faces, arms and legs were covered in dirt since the dust was so thick during the race from the conditions being so dry. Had they had a nice rain on Friday or Saturday, conditions would probably have been perfect. I looked like a Raccoon with all the dust on my face. The event was very well run and goodies were there for all. I chowed down on some watermelon, a cookie and swigged an ice cold bottle of water before jumping in the car to head back to Iowa.
I wanted to be back for dinner with my Dad who was visiting from Rapid City. And I had to be back for work at 7:30 PM (music camp), so didn't have time to hang out after the race for more than a few minutes. It was certainly a full day of driving (9 hours on the pavement). But I enjoy seeing new areas and I had never been to Red Wing before. It's a beautiful area.
I'll add a picture or two if and when I can find some.
This week is our Orpheus Music Festival at Simpson, so I'll be teaching music lessons all day long to high school students.