Today we had temperatures that hit 81 making it not feel quite so much like fall. That will all change this week as temperatures work their way lower to next weekend of 57-61 degrees for the highs with sunshine. That could be setting up for perfect fall weather for The Mullet Fall Classic bike race at Lake Ahquabi. There is even some rain predicted Thursday and Saturday leading up to it (which is needed and would help the course it is so dry).
I rode 5 laps today with various riding partners which totaled about 34 miles of dirt on the RIP 9 in the warm temperatures. I had ridden 2 laps yesterday to do final branch and weed trimming and today's goal was to see how the course rode with the new trimming and sight lines opened up. Lap one was a "warm up" lap with Rick Blackford who was actually sporting gears instead of his usual SS set up. Just a few minutes into the lap, I threw my chain too far out and beyond the big chain ring. I tried to trim it back onto the ring with the twist shifter, but it got stuck between the right crankarm and the big ring which required a dismount to fix. After a few minutes of fiddling to get it unstuck, things were back to normal and off we went.
Rick was riding casually while I was sucking air and trying to keep up with him. His idea of a warm-up lap had me on the tether. He finally left me for "trail kill" as we hit the big climbs on the back side. His goal was to then do 2 laps after that at race speed for him. I continued on solo for 2 more laps at a more endurance race pace this old man could handle. I saw Rick after the next 2 laps before he headed off to his daughter's birthday party. He said he had set a new personal best for a lap time with the gears! Thumbs up on that!!! Now, if he would just get a suspension fork - I can guarantee his times would be even better. What's next, Rick - a 29"er full suspension? :-)
When Rick took off, I hooked up with Sterling Heise, Ron Cooney and Brad Kruse for the next 2 laps and we were joined by Lauren. Fun times as we hit the dirt and cruised through the "crowded with hikers" Ahquabi trails. In the middle of lap 5 for me as I was pushing the pace and leading Ron and Lauren, my legs and body finally said enough. The only thing I had eaten during 4 hours of riding was 2 Hammer Gels and the pace I was doing wasn't going to survive without some sort of fuel. I should have planned better, but I didn't know how many laps I was going to do. 2 gels was not enough fuel to keep me going for a full 4 hours. I nursed myself in for the remainder of lap 5 using my granny gear on climbs. I was glad to roll into the parking lot for some post-ride party action with the group. The lake was beautiful and calm, the trees and the fall colors were gorgeous and the fellowship was worth it.
It will be cooler next weekend, but just as gorgeous in terms of scenery. Since part of the food organized at the post-race party includes bowls of chili, the 60 degree temps will be better for that than when it is 81 degrees. I've finally got a small, but important growing list of volunteers to help with all matters from registration, to timing, to food, to course marshaling. I can start to rest and relax a bit now that I know most of my bases are covered for the event. It's exhausting getting everything ready for this race and every year I forget just how much is actually involved to do it right. I spent most of my Saturday purchasing needed items and going from store to store in Des Moines to find them. I have a bit more of that this week, but am getting close to acquiring all that is needed. I think I will rent a small U-Haul to help me haul everything out there - or see if the CITA trailer is available so I can have it there as advertising since this is a fundraiser for CITA.
Not much else to say, except I am bushed from the 5 laps I did today.