Written by Vince Jones
Saturday, 04 February 2006 00:00
Team Bikeman -
Team Bikeman was represented by me again this year. I arrived just in time to register and warm up. I let a little air out of the tires for more traction on the ice and climbed the ice covered finish road and the first section past the starting line to get a good feel for the ice. Everything felt great. We were called to the pre race meeting to discuss some of the terrain. We were told to be very cautious passing people because the snow on the sides of the trail was an ice wall and will take you down if you are not careful. After the pre-race meeting I headed toward the starting line and ZIP my seat sank right down to the frame. Darn! I did not tighten up the seat post clamp tight enough after unloading the bike. Not a big deal. I little embarrassing but at least it happened before the race started.
Sport men 40+ started well back in the back so I had plenty of time to make the adjustments. As my group approached the starting line I double check everything and got ready to go. We are up next and I pick my spot on the right hand side in the front row. The gun goes off and we take off. Several guys clip in and are off to a good start. I am struggling to clip my right foot in. I must not have gotten all of the snow off of the cleat at the starting line. Darn! I can't spin circles with only one foot clipped in and all of the guys behind me are going around. I half walk half peddle to the first downhill section before I can get clipped in. Fortunately most of the group did not get very far away because they are walking also. At this point I am stuck in a line at the back of my group but I feel good and I am finally clipped in. So we go nose to tail single file through the snow until someone makes a mistake then the whole line goes by them. I manage to avoid any more mistakes and over take a big chunk of my class before the major climb. I pass five more people on the climb and just as I get to the top I drop a chain. The five people I just passed go back by me before I get the chain back on the bike and start rolling again. Next is a tricky down hill section headed towards the start/finish area. A few people in front of me make a mistake and go off the path so I gain a few more spots. By the time I am starting on the second lap there is one guy from my category and myself riding together. The experts start overtaking us and I make a mistake letting a guy get by. Fortunately no one in my class was close behind. I get back on the bike and try to chase down the guy I was following. I reached him as we approach the climb for the second time. That is good because it is about the only place you can make a real pass. I made my move close to the top and ducked under him. We were making our way through some of the slower folks from the categories that started in front us and I managed to put a few of them between me and my competition before we reached the single track descent. I was not in line this time down the single track so I could let loose a little more. As I approached more of the slower riders I did what the experts do and bellowed out "RIDER". It worked great. They were all sensitized to the fact that the fast riders were moving through the pack so they had no problem letting me get around. This was all great fun but it was time for the race to be over because the sun was starting to hit the few areas of exposed dirt and they were softening up. I was by myself as I climbed the ice road to the finish line. I knew that I had caught and passed all of the guys in the pack I was riding with but I had no way of knowing how many guys got away while I tried to clip in at the starting line.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had placed third. I won a white ribbon, a training DVD and in the raffle at the end of the race I won a new Havoc helmet. I love this stuff.Vince Jones