120 or so racers lined up to race the IMBCS #8 Sycamore Trails (Code Name: The Maharry) loop this past Sunday. Kyle Sedore, Rob Versteegh, Chris Maharry, the Varnums and the BikeIowa.com team put on an excellent event "under the bridge" just north of I-80.
It's about a 45 minute drive from Indianola and I arrived at the Beaverdale Little League parking lot at 9:05 just in time to get registered and warmed up for the race. I went out with fellow team member Kurt Benson for a partial pre-ride lap and then did a couple of harder effort intervals to pump up the heart rate for the opening of the race.
Dry, dust, and humidity seemed to rule the day. Luckily, cloud cover held temperatures in check for the 1st part of the day as things got underway for the 10 a.m. race which included CAT 2, FAT BIKES, Juniors, and CAT 3.
I lined up in the front row next to Simpson colleague Jason Uhlenhake. I saw fellow team member Bruce Reese lined up in the middle of the front row, and Andre Rethman over on the far left side in the front row as well.
Photo courtesy of Nick Woolley
I knew for my age class, Andre was going to be hard to beat because of the type of course it was. I asked Andre where Tom Jeffreys was because he had posted up on Facebook about camping near this race and participating. Andre said his van was in the parking lot, but Tom was not lined up. No time to go hunt him down, but he thought the race started at noon according to a message he sent me on Sunday night. He was obvioulsy upset with himself and I'm sorry he missed out as he would have been the favorite to win our age group for sure.
We were given the countdown and we all sprinted down the pavement to make the right hand bender into the dirt. I managed to stay up front and tuck in behind the front 5 or 6 riders going into the dirt for a nice lively opening pace on what seemed to be pretty much a powers to the pedal all the time type of layout since the course is flat. Fellow team member Bruce Reese was in front of me as was Jason. Not long after we got going on the opening section of dirt, Dave Mable asked to pass me and he moved up to join the group in front of me.
Knifing through the opening north bound section, I kept closing the small gap to the front 5 who would pull away a bit, and then I would hook back on to hang with them. On one of the sharper double corners, Jason and Bruce went down and I passed them as they were getting up and dusting themselves off. They both looked to be okay. Andre Rethman was on my wheel as we cruised through lap 1 which proved to be more or less uneventful for us outside of being passed a couple of times. Jason caught back up to us and went around us as we finsihed lap 1. We had 2 more laps to grind out on this always on the gas loop which would allow plenty of possibilities for things to unfold.
Lap 2 was much the same until we made the turn at the north end. Dave Mable was up ahead of us and I kicked it up a notch while we passed Dave who then latched on to the back of Andre's wheel to stay with us. I thought about backing off enough to get Andre to go around me so he could pull for some of the race, but every time I did ease off a bit, he just stayed put behind me. So on we went to finish out lap 2.
Lap 3 still found me leading this formed trio with Andre, and Dave right behind me. The three of us were still in the top 10 or so in the CAT 2 overall standings if I had figured right based on how many were in front of us or who had passed us. I motored on wishing this course had some long steep hills to climb in hopes I could create a gap. No such luck on this flat course. And there was no moments for any recovery as one was always pushing on the pedals. I would push the pace at times hoping to see if I could create any sort of small gap by stretching the rubber band of our trio's alignment, but nothing was really sticking.
Making the turn from the north end back to the south end, I didn't realize it at the time, but Andre went down on the sharp turn coming out of the forest. I heard about all of this after the race from Andre (who showed me the battle wounds on his arm) and Dave. I was too focused on pushing a pace on the long flat section back to the finish/start area that didn't totally cook my goose, but was enough to drop Dave with a gap. Andre caught back up to me as we made the approach to the bridge, but I didn't even know he had not been there for a time due to his crash.
I figured Andre was planning on launching an attack at any moment and I was hopeful I had something left in the legs to counter. Sure enough, he launched and I tried to counter to tuck in behind him, but that didn't last very long as I didn't have the fire power left in my legs after pulling for 3 laps. I watched Andre open up a gap as we went under the bridge and rode the final flat section. It was pretty much a repeat of last year's Iowa Games race on a similar type of course when Andre used that big engine of his and pulled away on the flats from me to leave me in the dust!!! Just before the final turn back to the finish line, a younger CAT 2 rider (Anthony Herrera) buzzed by me and I had to be content to follow Andre and Anthony to the finish line as we took 8th/9th/10th places respectively for CAT 2 overall.
I think I ended up in 2nd Place for the 50+ age group with Andre taking 1st Place, but I'm not sure exactly as I had to take off for a rehearsal followed by our music department's fall picnic. I hopped up on the wall under the bridge to sit and visit a bit with Bob Matthews and Bart (Daren Bartauk) as I cooled down before having to take off for the 1 p.m. music rehearsal.
Overall results on the left and the order of the "old guys" in the CAT 2 race...
8 Andre Rethman 50+ (1st)
10 Bruce Brown 50+ (2nd)
14 Brian Swain 50+ (3rd)
24 Dave Hammer 50+ (4th)
26 Sterling Heise 50+ (5th)
29 Dan Bach 60+
33 Brian Depenning 50+
35 Tom Laughead 50+