Tis the season for the Iowa Games. My daughter is playing soccer (had one match yesterday and two today) this weekend in the Iowa Games. Her team from Indianola has advanced to the next round tomorrow.
I decided to race at the Iowa Games Mountain Bike Race today which was held at Peterson Pits (or rather, Peterson Park) just north of Ames. Bike Iowa team members Paul Varnum and his wife Christy, Kyle Sedore and Taylor Webb all got the course set up and handled the timing, awards, etc... . Hats off to them for the effort and fun event!!!!
The Iowa Games race was canceled last year due to construction of a bridge making access to the park difficult. I've raced it in years past, so it was good to see the event on the schedule again for this year. I headed up this morning at 9:30 and arrived at 10:30 which only left me 25 minutes to register, get ready and warmed up. It was warm - temperature wise - with temps in the 90's, but certainly not as bad humidity wise as it was at Beverly Park 2 weeks ago in Cedar Rapids. The course was about 95% in the shade which also kept us cool.
From my memory of Peterson Pits, it was fast and pretty much flat. So I grabbed the Dos Niner with the Racing Ralphs on it to handle the flats, speed and the sand which I had read from posts on Facebook was in abundance.
Here's the bike post race in need of a wash and lube:
Attendance was enthusiastic, but about 50 in total for the CAT 1/2/3. I think we all need to spread the word for next year and see if we can get the attendance bumped up to a solid 100 or so as the venue is fun, challenging in its own unique way and very scenic. At the starting line, I noticed former CAT 1 racer Sean Meyers was in my group which upped the challenge as Sean is a good rider. At the shout of "Go!" by Paul Varnum, I took off and made sure I was in the lead 3 or 4 going into the singletrack. Sean was leading, and a big guy with huge legs from Nebraska (Andre Rethman) was in 2nd. It didn't take long in lap one where we caught up to racers from the previous waves as there wasn't much time lag between groups at the starting line waves. Kim and Sue West were on a tandem and had gone done in the first section of sand. The sand required one to power through it and just let the wheels go where they wanted to go. But it was catching people as riders were falling or dabbing in the dark through it. I managed to stay upright on all 3 laps, so am thankful. Maybe the sand riding in California last week prepared me....
Sean was gapped off the front of the 2nd place rider - Andre - and myself, and I maintained about a 50 - 70 yard gap behind the 2nd place rider. Andre used his powerful legs through the sand pits, and I tried with my chicken legs to keep as much force on the pedals that I could muster. We held our position through all of lap 2 and most of lap 3. At each open section, I could view where I was in comparison to Andre in front of me. My goal was to keep him in striking distance and use lap 3 to let it all out and catch him for a finish sprint. That was the plan that I developed mid-race. However, I came out of one singletrack section that I had entered with Andre in sight and he was no longer in sight. He had turned on the after burners and was pulling away. Rats! What was a 10 - 12 second difference had now grown to something I could not make up on the final section of lap 3. I gave it all I had, but was 20-30 seconds short at the line and ended up with the Bronze Medal for the 2012 Iowa Games.
I was happy I didn't melt in the heat thanks to the supplements, hydration, carbo loading and voodoo.
Landon Beachy who schooled me at Beverly Park came across the line about 3 minutes behind me, so at least I upped my pace from 2 weeks ago in the heat. The Dos Niner was fine for the race and the track was fun, challenging and worthwhile. After the race, I hopped in the truck with Paul Varnum and headed out to pick up all the orange cones, take down marking tape and Iowa Games signs. Fun was had by all and any day on a mountain bike for a race is a day to smile and reflect upon.
Tara and I are off to see Puccini's La Rondine tonight at Des Moines Metro Opera. Tomorrow, we go back up to Ames for Alexa's 12:30 soccer match. The Orpheus Music Festival for high school students starts for me Sunday night at 6:30. I will teach 9 students per day next week 30 minute voice lessons.