The final Psycowpath/IBMCS joint race this past weekend at Lake Manawa was the final race of the Nebraska Psycowpath season. It seems the fall weather had everyone on edge as to whether or not it would actually take place. Luckily, the rain that hit the day before the race was easily absorbed by the dirt and the race was on with excellent conditions. Cool temperatures and over 100 racers lined up for the action.
After an exciting Friday night on the 25th watching Indianola football team beat Southeast Polk in the 2nd overtime, I got up and visited with my son about the game on Saturday morning before he headed off to the Saturday morning shake down practice they do every Saturday. I hopped in the Element and headed off to Lake Manawa taking the scenic route of Highway 92 all the way. I arrived and had about 45 minutes to warm up and get ready. Due to the JET 9 recall, again I was riding the Sugar 293 with full 4" squish mode and I set the rear shock for cushion as there was no climbing on this flat course. I went with the Maxxis Aspen tires as their volume and tread seemed to be the ticket for the course.
There were only 11 racers who toed the line in the CAT 2 Open class at this race. And 5 of us were from Iowa racing in the IMBCS series. So this meant there were only 6 Nebraska CAT 2 Opens that showed up for the final race. The two other Psycowpath races I attended this season had 20 or so CAT 2 Open racers. Regardless, there were a total of 38 CAT 2 male racers on the line and 3 CAT 2 women. That's a healthy CAT 2 turnout when you combine all the age categories. I think the same thing happened last season where the turnout dwindled by the end of the season.
After the experts took off, my wave floored it to the singletrack and the deck was stacked with some fast guys via Rick Blackford, Chris Peterson, Brandon Harpster, Tyler Rushing, and Ryan VanHouweling. My little chicken legs settled behind these guys going into the singletrack and were immediately in an 11 man pace line. Ryan misjudged a corner in one of the first few turns and it wasn't long after I went around him that he powered his Niner right back around me. This course rides like a really long time trial with all the wide open flat sections scattered between the tight and twisty sections. I was keeping the gas turned on full on the flat connector sections and passed a couple of guys during lap one.
I found that the Sugar's bottom bracket is a bit low with my 180mm cranks to be able to carve and lean the Manawa turns and still pedal through the turns. I kept getting pedal strikes on the ground while leaned over and carving turns. I don't have that problem on the JET or the Dos, but it wasn't enough to really bother me too much. The course was just as I had remembered it and I found no surprises which is good, because I did not pre-ride it. I only washed my front tire out one time which was during the second lap on a sharp left turn on some gravel. I didn't go down because I planted my left foot on the ground to stay upright and didn't even lose my momentum as I clipped in again.
In spite of the rain, there was not much mud at all. I think I only ended up with a few drops of mud on one leg which you can see here as I come out of one of the flat connector sections.
I got passed at the end of lap 2 by a couple of guys from the 35+ wave that started behind us. I tagged on to hang with them for most of lap 3 and I passed one of them back right before crossing the finish line. I ended up in 7th place out of my wave of 11 CAT 2 Open racers (about the same as last year where I was 6th). My time of 1:19:16 was nearly a full 5 minutes off the winner's pace (Chris Peterson) and 6th place was 1:41 ahead of me. I gave it all I had, so I don't feel like I could have made up much - if any - of that 1:41 at my age. Looking at the ages of the results, I'm 11 years older than the next oldest guy in our group. Dang!!! Yup, it's probably time to rotate into the 45+ group now that I've hit 48. ;-]
Post race, I enjoyed catching up with Matt Gersib on all matters 29"er. He was racing the 3 hour marathon race and snagged a 3rd Place podium spot.
Hats off to the cast and crew for running a smooth event. I didn't make too many of the Psycowpath events this year due to my decision to hit up some of the Minnesota and Wisconsin series events.
I jumped back in the Element, stopped at Subway on the way out of the area, and took 92 back home on cruise control to get ready for the evening's opera rehearsal.
The Manawa race may have been the final race of the season for me depending on whether or not Sugarbottom takes place this Sunday with all of the rain across Iowa at the moment. I'm hoping it does take place because I love riding at Sugarbottom and haven't been over there this year to ride. I fear if they postpone it, I am too busy on the coming weekends with the opera to be able to make the trip over to ride.
Update: Sugarbottom is postponed to October 11th.
Double Update: Sugarbottom was canceled on the 11th due to wet conditions. So Lake Manawa was once again the end of the season for me - just as it was last year.
I'll be sitting out in the cold and the rain tonight to watch Indianola up at Johnston in another high school gridiron contest. Both teams are 4-1 at this point in the season and of course - somebody gets to win and the other team has to lose. It should be another close game to add to the last 3 weeks of very close games. 2 of those 3 were won in OT and it doesn't get any closer than that. However, this game will be the first where the temps will be in the 40's at game time. Brrrr.....
Update: It was cold, but I had the right gear to stay comfy in the stands. Indianola lost (big time) 45 - 21. Zack played QB in the 4th quarter and looked good.