Ma Nature certainly made this past week dramatic!
Monday, the lawn was mowed with temperatures in the 80's. A nice long bike ride was had afterwards and Tuesday followed suit also in the 80's.
Wednesday I taught lessons and the weather was "meh". The bad weather started to arrive Wednesday evening and the temperatures dropped down into winter.
Thursday & Friday we set a record for the most snow in May here in Iowa. We broke the 1947 record. I'm not sure what we ended up with in Indianola for a final tally, but it was 6-9" by my view when I went out to shovel it. Heavy, wet snow that was hard to push and lift. The dogs loved it. I hated it. For that matter, I think every sane person hated it.
It wasn't only here in Iowa that spring has been missing...
Minnesota canceled the opening race of their mountain bike series that was to have been at Buck Hill on Sunday, May 5th. Wisconsin closed their opening race on May 5th because it was to be held on a ski slope and they were still skiing on that slope in late April!!!
Nebraska had rescheduled the Tranquility Tire Tantrum from April 20th to this weekend on Saturday, May 4th. Due to the snow and wet, it was moved to Sunday, May 5th. After the snow and rain wouldn't let up enough for the trail to dry out, it was officially canceled until later in the season - if at all. Wow! 3 Midwest Mountain Bike Series (2 of them that have always raced rain or shine) had to pull the plug due to a lack of SPRING!!! That's got to be a record, but it fits the weather pattern we are having this year.
That left our IMBCS #2 race as the only race this weekend that was going to forge ahead and give it a go. None of us in Central Iowa believed it could actually take place after what we had been through with the snow and the rain. It was hard to envision that it had not snowed or rained as much in the Janesville/Waverly area as it had here in the Des Moines Metro area. But, sure enough, Ma Nature was much nicer to the Camp Ingawanis area and the soil there has enough sand that it was ready to go for Sunday's race. Game on!!!
This week was the final week of my Build Two Phase and my legs were worked. More so than they should have been as I added some Zone 2 work to fight the prior week's bad eating. In addition, I swapped around some workouts due to my schedule, so I didn't get as much rest as I would have liked going into the weekend. I felt cooked, but wasn't worried as I am focused on the larger goal. Shoveling the snow on Friday was a heck of a workout and taxed my legs, back, arms, neck, chest. And then I did some Zone 4 work that I had skipped on Thursday as I really figured all races would be canceled this weekend. My bad!
Friday night was the Opera Ball for Des Moines Metro Opera and I was out late that night drinking far too much wine at the event, and I didn't sleep too well as a result. Saturday night was an even worse night of sleep due to parental/teenager issues. Suffice it to see, that not much sleep was had due to concerns and dealing with a situation my daughter experienced.
In spite of that - or becaues of that - I was up bright and early on Sunday to race. My original plan for the race season that I mapped out, had me scheduled to do the race in Minnesota. When that got canceled, the Psycowpath Race was next in my pecking order. When that got canceled, I decided to head over to Waverly for the IMBCS race. I packed up and headed out the door about 8:50 Sunday morning. I stopped in Story City for gas and pulled into the south parking lot of Camp Ingawanis at 11:11. That gave me an hour to register, get suited up, warm up and get my drink mix made.
I brought the RIP 9 for this race as I really wanted to try out the 1 x 9 gearing and figured if it was a mudfest, the single ring up front would be less of a mess than my JET in terms of mud collection. I put the front derailleur on to act as a chain retention device until my Rohloff guide comes this week. Remember - no new pictures to show all of this until my camera comes back from Spain.
Here's a shot before the conversion to 1 x 9 that I took when I mounted up the Renegade 2.3 in the rear. (See edit below on the growth in casing width for the 2.3 Renegade)
I got the tire pressure dialed and headed out for a 20-25 minute warm up. The sun was shining and temperatures were climbing above 60 degrees. From the bikes that I saw that had been out on the singletrack for a sample lap, there was not enough mud building up on the bikes to worry about it. In fact, there was only one little section near the race finish that was muddy. And it was a temporary section to take us from the singletrack to the grassy open clearing of the parking lot. More on that mud later...
Landon Beachy was there, so I knew it would be another chase like it was at Sylvan Island with me trying to keep up with him. He's in great shape and riding smooth this year. Off the line, Landon was top spot or two and I was back about 7th or 8th out of the CAT II field. I got stuck behind a slower racer and he bobbled on the first steep, techincal climb which forced all of us off of our bikes to hike the hill. I ran around him and remounted to take off. I didn't panic, but I wanted to fill the gap left between the lead group and the group I was in as quickly as possible. I was in the lead of this 2nd group and went to great efforts to pull in the lead group in front of us that Landon was in. I finally let the guy behind me come to the front and take a turn at trying to close the gap as I was getting gassed after about 10 minutes. Lap one was all about trying to close that gap, but I couldn't do it alone. The guy I let around me finally made it up to Landon, but I couldn't quite get there.
The RIP with the single 34T chainring up front is a fun bike, but I found myself wishing I had my usual race bike (the JET 9). The 34T ring up front with the 34T granny cog in the rear was enough for the steep climbs, but I found myself pushing taller gears all the time and it took a toll on me as the bike fought the soft, tacky trail conditions. My legs were pooped from the training week, but I kept forcing myself to move ahead. At the end of the lap, the 75 yards or so of deep, soft mud we had to ride through was like a Zone 5 or Zone 6 interval to move the pedals through. Ouch!! That was painful, but we all had to do it.
Lap 2 had me see that the gap was growing between Landon and I. It actually grew to about 2 minutes as we neared the end of the race and my legs gave up the ghost. All I could do was try to fight to hold 2nd place in my age group. The RIP is an absolute joy on descents and over roots, bumps, jumps, rocks. That's where it shines. I rolled across the line good enough for 2nd Place in my age group, but pretty much tuckered out with cooked legs. I immediately headed out for a 35 minute cool-down ride on the gravel to enjoy the breeze and countryside. It was nice and warm in the 70's now with the sun providing plenty of warmth. The spin down felt really good and I headed back to the parking lot to change, get cleaned up and hit the pasta.
Quite a few of us made the trip over from Des Moines, so everyone caught up and enjoyed a nice respite from the long winter as we were amazed by the conditions, hard work of the race crew, and fun on mountain bikes we had all just participated in. Lots of riders from Rassy's and Bike Iowa. Kyle Sedore was rocking his Surly Krampus and the big tires and singlespeed. TJ Fort was on his Spearfish. Kevin Betters his new Air RDO. And on and on. The main takeaway is that we were all happy to be out riding some nice tacky dirt and racing after a week of miserable weather.
Kudos to Alan Johnson and his crew for hosting a great event that everyone really enjoyed. There was nothing but smiles from everyone afterwards.
Podium for the 50+ group was Landon, myself and Andre.
After the awards ceremony, I hopped in the car and drove all the way home without stopping. I was fighting a nap thanks to the fresh air and not sleeping well the night before thanks to Alexa, but managed to stay awake.
Edit: Cleaning up the bike today, I measured the width of the Renegade 2.3 to see if any growth took place after the pounding a race provides. Sure enough, the casing width has expanded now to 58.3mm which is 2.2952756". You can't get much closer to 2.3"!!!!