My original plan for the weekend was to drive down on Saturday morning to race in the Psycowpath Branched Oak Race outside of Lincoln, Nebraska and then race in Des Moines on Sunday. However, the Psycowpath race was postponed due to rain until the alternative day (Sunday). Rats!
We had the two IMBCS mountain bike Time Trial races scheduled on Sunday in Des Moines. The Center TT at 9 a.m. and the Sycamore TT scheduled for 2 p.m. which meant I couldn't be in two places (Des Moines and Lincoln) at the same time. One option was to race the 9 a.m. TT and then head over to Lincoln for the 2 p.m. Psycowpath race. I quickly calculated that option and realized it wouldn't work for me because I had to attend a recital at 7 p.m. on the Simpson campus as well as hold a meeting with The Marriage of Figaro opera cast and chorus following that recital. Even if I had hopped right in the car after the Lincoln race and drove like a maniac back to Indianola, I would not have been able to make it back in time. So option two was simply to stick with scratching the Psycowpath race and participate in both of the IMBCS TT's.
Since my rear triangle broke at the last Psycowpath race outside of Norfolk, the JET 9 was out for the races this weekend. Believe it or not, Niner Bikes issued a safety recall of the JET 9 on Friday giving me 3 options:
Option 1 (Available until October 31st)
I want to keep riding and use this opportunity to grow the quiver - Purchase a different NINER frame at an extreme discount. Ride your new bike while you wait to receive your free replacement Jet 9 frame. In the long run, you end up with two bikes at a really good price.
Special Discount Pricing:
R.I.P. 9 $800 (discount of $999)
ONE 9/S.I.R. 9 $300 (discount of $549)
AIR 9/ M.C.R. 9 $300 (discount of $499)
E.M.D. 9 $150 (discount of $349)
I would rather own a R.I.P. 9 - Make the permanent switch to a R.I.P. 9 at no charge. No replacement Jet 9 frame will be shipped.
I have the patience of a saint. I can wait. - Receive a $150 gift certificate towards Niner gear while you wait to receive your free replacement Jet 9 frame.
I am trying to figure out which of the options to take.
In the meantime, I decided to race the same bike I used last year for the Center Trails TT - my Sugar 293 outfitted in XC race configuration:
There are lots of roots on the Center Trails and the 4" travel race bike lets me stay seated and hammer over them all. My Dos will not quite let me do that without a lot of flinching and wincing with back jolts. I got up way too late Sunday morning and had to rush up to the 9 a.m. race. I had pre-registered online, so knew I had a spot. I arrived at the registration table to pick up my number at 8:58 and was informed that after a couple of early riders that had to take off (Cam and Julie who were headed to the Psycowpath race in Lincoln), I was next in line. I begged that since I had just rolled out of bed for a later slot, so they changed my number from 201 to 242 which gave me 42 more minutes to prepare. Thanks guys!
I had swapped out the rear tire from the Crow to another Karma 1.9 and was running air pressure 23 psi front/24 psi rear. Each rider took off in 1 minute increments and we were to do 2 laps. So there were first lap and second lap riders out on the trail. I big ringed it off the line and headed down the pavement and was going so fast I barely made the turn up to the pavement path climb. After mashing up that climb and realizing my heart rate was way too high to sustain that tempo, I settled in behind a Rassy's rider in front of me by about 20 yards who was on his 2nd lap. It didn't seem too long into the first 1/2 of the lap that I passed the rider who had started in front of me. Not long after, the guy who started behind me passed me carving some very smooth turns. He was the only rider that passed me. I made my way through the two laps pretty happy with my bike handling and kept pushing myself at a steady rate.
The BB height on the Sugar with the smaller volume tires was not as high as I needed with my 180mm crankarms. I kept getting some strikes here and there and one strike on a rock had my right foot come unclipped. I lost count, but I passed about 3 or 4 riders on lap one and also during lap 2. I had a better flow going in lap 2 and had settled into a pace I could sustain. I only had a slight hold up on the switchback going down into the creek crossing area where I had to wait a second or two for the rider in front of me. I passed him on the last climb before sprinting it to the finish line. No idea yet on what my time or finishing place was for my category. I packed up the bike and headed home for some lunch and to do some scheduling for the next 2 weeks of opera rehearsals.
After lunch, I headed up to Johnston for the Sycamore TT. Getting up off the couch, I felt the stiffness in my legs from the morning's effort. So I knew the afternoon TT would be a tad painful and maybe not as fast for me as the morning. The afternoon TT was a rescheduled race from June or July (I can't remember which) due to rain at that time. The decision was made to just hold both TT's on the same day. 2 for the price of 1 was the motto. I hydrated with whatever I could drink and popped a few Sportlegs in hopes the leg stiffness would subside. I pre-rode about 1/2 of the trail for a warm-up and realized it was big ring all the way with no climbs and actually a very short distance (everyone claimed it would be 12 minutes or so). This trail was filled with ruts from ATV's or whatever drives back in there along the river. There was one low overhanging fallen tree that would require me to lay flat on the bike and duck to get under it alive. And there was a little bit of sand as well as some corners that were going to be all about nerve, will and skill.
I had a more cadenced start off the line than in the morning and built my head of steam in the big ring a little slower to not torque my heart too high, too fast. My pre-ride had been at a much slower speed, so at the TT speed the corners were much more trying on my mind and body than I was expecting. The center of the trail was flat and surrounded by ruts on either side. There were some deep muddy ruts that looked like they would never dry out in the shade of the forest. I tried to keep it in the center part of the trail and tried keeping the gas on at all times. I don't think flat riding is my specialty and it kind of equalizes the playing field as no climbing prowess or descending skills can shine. And my legs were begging for mercy. I worked the gears to keep me on the edge, but not to take me too far over the edge. After I passed the 1/2 way point where I had finished my warm-up, I got a little tentative on a couple of the blind turns because I didn't know what was around the corner or on the other side. Just when I finally felt like I had the motor and the legs revved up and going like I wanted - I saw the finish line. So I sprinted to the end and slammed on the brakes to keep from going straight into the river.
Photo courtesy of Angy Snoop:
Pizza and beer for all in the woods as we stood around and socialized waiting for the results. The 2nd half of numbers that started (233 and up) and their times (the group I was in since I was 242) had their times all messed up and the crew was busy trying to figure it all out. I'm not sure they got it all worked out and apologized to all of us. So I don't know my place or time for this TT either - yet. Oh well, I got a pair of socks from the Schwag box. As I was riding back north to the car on the trail, I slipped off the center section of trail into a rut and both my front and rear tubeless converted tires burped big time with the accompanying loud sound of a tire burp. The front went all the way down to about 8-10 psi and the rear was about 15 psi according to my gauge back at the car. I rode very slowly and actually made it on those low tire pressures. No way I was going to walk back! ;-) Amazing that with all of the roots and rocks I hit at high speed all day long there were no burps. Yet a slow speed drop into a 5 inch rut burped both of my tires. Hmmmmmmmm...... Better that it happened then instead of during one of the races, that's for sure. I forgot to attach my can of Big Air to the seatpost had I needed a shot of air. My bad. Regardless, I think my tire pressure for that volume of tire was a tad too low. The lower volume tires need to be run with a bit higher pressure than the larger volume tires I usually use.
I'll update my finish times and placing once I find out.