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June Race Report: Meredith Miller (Part One)

by Meredith Miller in Road Cycling, Train With Grain

June was a busy month of racing – I logged twelve days of racing in five different states. Rewinding to the beginning of the month, the racing started with a ‘practice’ race in Rockleigh, NJ to help us prepare for the biggest, most prestigious one-day race in America, the Liberty Classic, in Philadelphia, PA. After a few days at home, we regrouped the following weekend in Washington DC for two fast criteriums, which were part of the Air Force Classic. From there we hopped on a plane for Minnesota to race the grueling 5-day, 6-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix. Coming off a successful week of racing in MN, we jetted off to Augusta, GA to contest the time trial, criterium and road race at the US National Championships.

The Rockleigh Criterium is a weekly event that is held from May to August and is located around the corner from the Volvo headquarters, a Team TIBCO sponsor. As a way to open up our legs for the Liberty Classic and to showcase the team to Volvo, we jumped into this race alongside a bunch of men (we were the only women that night) to give them a run for their money. The race wasn’t easy by any means, but we were glued to any wheel that attempted to get away. Two of my teammates ended up being part of the 5-person winning break. They traded pull for pull with the guys and were only out paced in the final sprint. I’m pretty sure that night we opened a few eyes to how strong women are on a bike.

Three days later we were toeing the line in downtown Philadelphia for the Liberty Classic, one race on the calendar that I never want to miss because of the kind of energy and thrill that makes this race. We were amped up and nervous for this race all at once. Winning the Liberty Classic is a BIG deal for an individual and a team. Historically this race has come down to a field sprint more times than not, but we were hoping for a break to eliminate the chaos that goes along with a field sprint. The break never happened so all we could do was line it up for our sprinter in the last kilometer. We did our best to deliver Joelle to the line, but we ended up one place short of the podium. Despite the disappointment, the team raced well together and we were happy with our performance.

The following weekend in DC, we were hungry for a win. We came out at the Clarendon Cup firing on all cylinders. Attack after attack busted out of the peloton, but nothing stayed away so we set Joelle up for a sprint finish. She got a great jump out of the last, tight turn, turned on the afterburners and easily threw her hands up in victory across the finish line.

Winning the race the day before only made us more hungry for another win on day two. We raced hard, we gave it our all but came up one place short of victory. You win some, you lose some. We raced well, that counts for a lot. Plus, it gave us a lot of confidence heading into the next week of racing in MN.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a prominent and highly respected race on the national calendar, and this year the strongest peloton I had ever seen at this race was present. The peloton included the current road World Champion, former World Champions and numerous Olympians. There was no doubt we would have our hands full each and every day.

Day one started with a double day – TT in the morning and crit in the evening. Let’s just say day one wasn’t our best day of racing, but we knew we had a lot of racing yet to come so we looked forward to the road race on day two.

Again, we raced hard and played off each other well all day long. At the end of the day we didn’t have a big result, but we didn’t lose anything either.

On day three we were one lap away from the end of the Uptown Minneapolis criterium, lined up on the front of the peloton ready to deliver our sprinter to the line. We were dialed! And then there was a serious crash that happened right behind us. Only 20 riders escaped the chaos, however so many riders and bikes blocked the road behind us that we were unable to finish the race. Bummer! But, at least everyone was ok.

The Menomonie Falls road race the next day was awesome! Three TIBCO riders made it into the break of seven and they helped drive it all the way to the finish, which catapulted Erinne into second overall. It was a fantastic display of selfless teamwork!

The final day of the NVGP is the toughest of them all – the Stillwater Criterium. It’s the single, hardest crit all year and it comes after four days of racing. Brutal. I had a complete brain fart at the beginning of the race, which took me out of the race, but Erinne and the rest of the team rode their hearts out. The team was extremely proud and happy to see Erinne hold on to her second place overall after an exhausting but exciting week of racing.

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Meredith Miller Google: Meredith Miller
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burnmatch

Burning Matches

by Doug Carr in Train With Grain, Triathlons

I did an impromptu race-recap with a new athlete the other night, as she explained how things went for her first Olympic distance duathlon. For the most part the race went as planned and expected. However, there was one frustration during her bike leg that I thought I might share with others, who’ll no doubt have or will experience the same thing, so they’ll know what they can do to mitigate it. It happens to do with the Drafting Zone (DZ). This has to be one of the areas new athletes probably fear the most, as penalties for violating it can be tough to swallow and even tougher to protest. Of all the rules that I can think of, DZ violations are probably the easiest to commit because of the gray area of interpretation (estimation of distance) by the offender vs. the course marshal. In the interest of fairness, course marshals might err to the lenient side, but this makes the protest even harder

U.S.A. Triathlon (USAT) sanctioned races have very specific rules regarding drafting, because they are not draft-legal events. A certain amount of distance must be maintained between you and the bike in front of you, depending on whether you’re racing as an elite or age-group athlete. This distance is supposed to eliminate the advantage of riding in another athlete’s slipstream as they break the wind for you. Most races, for consistency, choose to adopt the USAT Competitive Rules as their “Rules of the Day.” It is always your responsibility to be familiar with all rules in use for any particular race. For this explanation, I will be using distances that equate to age-group athletes and fall in the subheading 5.10 Position Fouls, under Cycling Conduct in Article V. The DZ in this case is 7 meters long and 2 meters wide. Position fouls penalties can range from 2 minutes added to your total time, to complete disqualification.

The Situation: As she rode the bike course, our 34 y/o fit-female began to close in on a 23 y/o male. Can you see where this is going yet? She decided she could make the pass safely within the 15 second allotted time for avoiding a penalty. She made the pass, and proceeded to maintain pacing. Soon thereafter, the male athlete came along and passed her in a similar fashion.* She dropped out of his DZ, only to then find herself needing to pass again, due to his pace slowing. However, as she attempts to make the pass, he speed up in an effort to keep her from passing in the allotted time. She must then drop completely out of his DZ – three bike lengths back – before attempting to pass again. This goes on for quite some time, until she is able to pass (and drop) him for good on a hill. Unfortunately, during this scenario, she lost mental focus and became frustrated with having to deal with his conduct. Frustration causes stress levels to rise, raised stress levels cost unnecessary energy expenditure. She took her head out of the game and was forced to respond to his actions rather than ride her own race plan. There’s nothing in the Competitive Rules to address his conduct. She asked me what solutions or options were recommended short of trying to get the attention of the Course Marshals.

The Solution: Burn A Match! First, be very safe about this by making sure ALL overtaking traffic is clear. At this point you’ll also need to confirm that the rider being passed isn’t about to pass another rider and abruptly come out around them into your intended pass. You get the penalty if you cause an accident. You’ll also need to make sure there will be a place for you to re-enter the “traffic flow” after the pass.  Start by coming straight up their wheel line to make the pass. This will keep you somewhat “hidden” both visually and aurally. In essence they won’t see or hear you coming until moments before the pass. Come out to their left at the last second by at least 1 meter, go as hard as you can to make the pass and continue 20 – 30 meters out in front of this person, then settle in to maintain your pacing plan. Hopefully, that’s the last you’ve seen of them. For more on Burning Matches, watch this short explanation video by Robbie Ventura of the CycleOps Company.

I’ve confirmed this with USAT’s Rules Director as the best method for handling this type of conduct. For complete USAT Rules (PDF) go to http://www.usatriathlon.org/resources/about-events/rules

For the new athlete, the DZ can be difficult to discern while positioned directly behind another rider. The average bike is 65″ long from leading edge of front wheel, to trailing edge of rear wheel. It’s safe to estimate three bike lengths from your front tire’s leading edge, to the trailing edge of the tire in front of you. Practice will make this easier and will keep you out of the penalty box for DZ fouls. In Ironman events, there are actually Penalty Tents on the bike course that your are required to pull into upon receiving a penalty from a course marshal. Upon arrival and racking your bike, officials hand you a stopwatch and start your penalty-time count down. From there, you get to watch all the people you may have passed, ride on by. The tents are affectionately known as “Ironman County Jail.”

So how big is your matchbook, and do you know when to use it?

Doug Carr

*This is what I call “leap frogging”. I pass you and you pass me, etc. Over a long race with two similarly matched athletes it’s not only unavoidable, it can also be enjoyable if the both athletes like to encourage each other.


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Doug Carr Google: Doug Carr
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Julie from Marketing helps stage the table for a realistic picnic.

Behind the Scenes with Bob and Charlee

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles

For the last two years, Bob’s Red Mill has released a desk calendar. We send it out to some of our friends and business partners as part of our holiday greeting in December. We don’t print very many and it’s likely you’ve never seen one. The last two years we featured great artwork and photography of our products and facility. This year we are doing something totally different and a bit more fun, if you ask me. We’re featuring our employees doing what they love. This is includes all sorts of things, after all, we’re a pretty eclectic group.  You’ll see folks doing what makes them passionate, everything from playing a round of golf to swing dancing!

We all know that Bob is passionate about stone milling, but he’s also very passionate about his other loves- his beautiful wife Charlee and his two Model-A Fords (Gertie and Clara). Here are some shots from his photo shoot last week.

Julie from Marketing helps stage the table for a realistic picnic.

 

Charlee and Bob are all smiles for the camera. You can see Gertie peaking out from behind them. She is Bob's convertable Model-A.

Aren't they something special? Still in love after 60 years!

 

 

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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MeredithMillerBio

Behind the Scenes with Team TIBCO

by Meredith Miller in Road Cycling, Train With Grain

A short behind-the-scenes with Team TIBCO brought to us by Meredith Miller… see what the inside of a team’s trailer looks like during the season.

 

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Meredith Miller Google: Meredith Miller
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4th of July cupcake

Happy Fourth of July!

by Cassidy Stockton in Featured Articles

All of us at Bob’s Red Mill want you to know that we wish you a very happy Fourth of July!

I truly don’t expect anyone to read this tomorrow, so we’re hitting you early. I realized that it was near pointless to post these awesome (and fun) ideas tomorrow when you’re already in full swing for celebrating. I’ve gathered some fun articles/recipes for adding a little extra flair to your regularly scheduled festivities:

Frozen Assets: Exotic (and healthy!) popsicle recipes from Women’s Health: Creamsicles using yogurt and blood oranges, Thai Iced Coffee pops and Blueberry Lavender Lemonade are just a few of the fun flavors you can create.

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad from Cooking Light: So delicious and fun, though good luck finding purple potatoes… I came up short on my hunt this week. Which makes me wonder why potato salad is so common during the summer if potatoes aren’t technically in season until late summer/fall…

Lady Liberty Cupcakes: Really fun and not something I’ve seen before. Because these use a cake mix as a base, you could easily sub a gluten free cake mix and cones or your favorite recipe (we’ll look the other way if you choose one without whole grains). How cute would the kiddos look toting around mini torches?

Savory Watermelon and Blue Cheese Salad: It wasn’t until I tried a savory watermelon salad that I truly understood… This is a wonderful (and oh so easy) way to show off your culinary prowess and put a new twist on a classic summer food.

Fourth of July Crafts from Martha Stewart: I’m not a huge Martha fan, but she does have some pretty great ideas for decorating. There are crafts here for adults and kids alike, plus ideas for making you bike (and dog!) fabulous for the Fourth.

Watermelon Fun: Seriously, there are recipes for turning a watermelon into a race car, airplane, VW Beetle and even a boat. I bet the kids would love it and probably all of the adults, too. You know what would happen if I attempted this? A huge mess of watermelon everywhere and a creation that looked like, well, a halved watermelon that had been squished! Ha! I bet some of you guys are crafty enough to pull one of these off, though.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars

by Doug Carr in Featured Articles, Recipes

This recipe was shared with us by Doug Carr, one of our sponsored triathletes. I asked him to share this with you because a) they sound absolutely scrumptious and b) they look like the perfect fuel for on the go. Enjoy!

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars

  • 1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Flour
  • 1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Thick Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped Almonds

Preheat oven 375°F degrees

Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar and soda. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Pat firmly, 2/3 of the crumbs, in the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.


Spread with hot filling. Sprinkle evenly with chopped almonds. Top with remaining crumb mixture.

Smooth and pat very gently. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until top is just starting to get golden brown. Cool well on a wire rack.

Cut into bars. Makes 20 to 25. Optional icing may be added after well cooled.

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 cups Raisins, (or any dried fruit diced to raisin size)

In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in fruit and water, cook and stir until bubbly.

Hints:

If you pat the first crumbs into the pan real well, spreading the filling will be much easier. This recipe works well with any dried fruit filling. My favorite is the Trader Joe’s, Golden Berry Blend with Raisins, Cherries, Cranberries and Blueberries. If you use something like dried apricots just make sure they are diced to about raisin size. This is a treat my run group loves with post-run coffee, when you want something tasty but not overly sweet. They disappear quickly!

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Doug Carr Google: Doug Carr
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bars8

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars

by Doug Carr in Recipes, Train With Grain, Triathlons

This recipe was shared with us by Doug Carr, one of our sponsored triathletes. I asked him to share this with you because a) they sound absolutely scrumptious and b) they look like the perfect fuel for on the go. Enjoy!

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars

  • 1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Flour
  • 1-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Thick Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped Almonds

Preheat oven 375°F degrees

Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar and soda. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Pat firmly, 2/3 of the crumbs, in the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.


Spread with hot filling. Sprinkle evenly with chopped almonds. Top with remaining crumb mixture.

Smooth and pat very gently. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until top is just starting to get golden brown. Cool well on a wire rack.

Cut into bars. Makes 20 to 25. Optional icing may be added after well cooled.

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 cups Raisins, (or any dried fruit diced to raisin size)

In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in fruit and water, cook and stir until bubbly.

Hints:

If you pat the first crumbs into the pan real well, spreading the filling will be much easier. This recipe works well with any dried fruit filling. My favorite is the Trader Joe’s, Golden Berry Blend with Raisins, Cherries, Cranberries and Blueberries. If you use something like dried apricots just make sure they are diced to about raisin size. This is a treat my run group loves with post-run coffee, when you want something tasty but not overly sweet. They disappear quickly!

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Doug Carr Google: Doug Carr
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Pancakes with Fruit

Race Report: The Leland Kermesse

by Mark Swartzendruber in Road Cycling, Train With Grain

Disclaimer: (Feed)Zone exists in a world of hyperbole and the lines between fantasy and reality are smeared like the finger-painting of an artistically challenged 3 year old. All stories are mostly accurate if not actual…

THE LELAND KERMESSE

Ergo

WHAT A MESS

The Feed(ZONE) wishes to thank the fine people of the Flantlandia Cycling Association for organizing, hosting, marshaling and all other duties involved with putting on a truly unique and wonderful bike race that is NOT another industrial park crit.  The weather was not your fault and no one who raced the Leland Kermesse this year and suffered mightily should be dissuaded from participating next year.

Spring time in Chicagoland is not as described in the folk lore “in like a lion out like a lamb”.  Spring in Chicagoland is an epic struggle between competing air masses, pressure zones, jet streams and gulf moisture; none of which are willing to surrender ground to the other.  It is violent, hostile, nasty and ruthless.  You may be enjoying a bike ride at 10:00 a.m. with 70 degree temps in a gentle breeze and sunny conditions only to face riding back from your turn around point into the teeth of a bitter north wind with thunder snow whipped into your face with an ambient air temp of 40 and a wind chill in the 20’s.

I knew the weather forecast for the race:  50 degrees, partly sunny following a morning of diminishing rain fall and windy conditions were predicted.  20 mph WNW wind with gusts to 35 said accuweather.com.  I predicted via Facebook that I would dish out some pain at the race.  I was about to find out that pain would be all mine.

I got to the race venue in Leland IL, about 90 miles due west of Chicago.  Middle of Nowhere in La Salle County,  Leland is a town of 950 with a high school, a grain elevator and a Casey’s General Store.  I drove to registration at the Village Hall, a 400 square foot, 2 room metal shed on the outskirts of town.  The weather was indeed quite nasty.  The rains had diminished and the wind was as predicted.  The partly sunny skies were actually quite overcast but the temperature was indeed 50 or close to it.

Riders from the early wave of racing were finishing.  The winner of the Cat 5 race came to his car after finishing his race.  “It’s brutal out there” he said.  I laughed to myself as he said this.  Of course it’s awful.  You’re a lowly newbie but congratulations on your win.  Winning the Leland Kermesse will either help build you toward being a real bike racer one day or it will destroy your desire to race and turn you into a Century Clubber.

The Leland Kermesse is the best attempt we have here in IL at duplicating the small Belgian races that blast off every weekend in the Flemish countryside.  The roads are rural, the towns are small, the pavement is often cobbled, crusty or just plain farm roads. And, the racing is legendary for being brutally tough.  The Leland Kermesse captures this well.  The roads are essentially flat with small rises and false flats and each 25k lap includes about 8k of what the locals call “aggregate” roads.  Aggregate is not gravel, although there is some gravel.  It is a compacted mixture of hard packed clay and sand with some rock tossed on top from time to time to replenish what the tractors and combines take with them into the adjacent corn and soy bean fields.  When it’s dry these roads are dusty and when wet, the roads are slick and soupy.

The kid had clearly spent too much time following wheels, but he won his race and Druber tosses out large props.

After taking the photo above, I returned to the warmth of my car.

15 minutes before my race was scheduled to begin, I returned to my car from my 10 minute warm up ride and put a mid weight wind jacket on over the Patagonia Capilene base layer, arm warmers and mid weight wind vest I had underneath my long sleeved jersey.  I also, put my thermal leg warmers on over the light weight knee warmers I was wearing.  The temperature was dropping.

As the combined Master 30+ and 45+ and Women 1/2/3 fields rolled out, the jockeying for position and shelter from buffeting head wind began.  When the neutral rollout ended, the attacks followed immediately.  The Van Waggoner team had 4 guys who were bound to split the field early on and they were attacking and forcing the pace for the first 5 miles in the cross winds and head winds. I for the most part was taking a passive role. Those guys were in the 30+ field and I had most of the 45+ guys sitting near me so I just figured on letting the 30+ guys beat on each other while I watched it happen.

Upon hitting the first tail wind section the race surprisingly began to shred.  As the pace was amped, the guys who’d been struggling in the cross wind were allowing small gaps to form.  I closed down across a couple of gaps as we turned into the second strong cross wind section and found myself with only one 45+ contender in the group.  One more short tail wind section preceded the first section of Strade Bianche and as we turned on to it, I was blasted with a wind gust that pushed me off the clay road into the grass and nearly down into the ditch running alongside the road.  As I righted myself, I was gapped from the leaders with the 45+ rider ahead of me.  Knowing that this would be the race deciding section, here only 6 miles into the 100k race, I buried myself on the slick, muddy clay road passing the 45+ rider and 3-30+ riders on my way up to Paul Swinand who was riding away up the road in the fierce cross/headwind.  Paul and I had broken away in this same race together last year at the exact same time in the exact same section of road.  If you look back through my archives on Trusport you’ll find the report.

Paul is a retail stock analyst for Morningstar.  He’s a guy who shows up on Bloomberg or CNBC from time to time telling you if it’s a good time to buy Target or Big Lots or Wal Mart and whether or not the retail sector is a fair value or over priced or expecting a slump.  He’s also a damn good bike racer. Has been so since the 80’s.  He’s chatty.  Talks about the kids, former races, basically riding with Paul, you catch an un filtered stream of consciousness as it pops into his head it pours out of his mouth.

Paul was not wearing a jacket or leg coverings.  His hands were covered with tight fitting neoprene gloves – The kind meant to keep your hands dry but not warm.  As I caught up with Paul, he was jabbering about getting enough to drink, how his hands were cold but not to bad, how was I feeling and I’d need to be sure and write something funny on Truesport – suggesting that maybe the funniest thing about the race was that we two roadies had dropped a team full of cyclo-cross racers on the first section of aggregate road and so on.

Trading pulls with Paul, the two of us had 30 seconds on our poursivants upon exiting the first section of aggregate road.  We beat it hard in the tail wind and jammed hard through the next 2 mile section of aggregate in the cross wind.  The narrow lanes of rideable road made drafting nearly impossible.  You see, to avoid the soft and sticky center of the road, you need to ride on the traffic paths left by cars.  In a cross wind, one rider would be on the smooth clay and the other rider would be in either softer muck or gravel.  Thus, on the aggregate in the cross wind, it was every man for himself.  Paul was having a much easier go on the slick roads than I.

I was feeling peckish – over dressed, which Paul mentioned between other verbal tweets.  “You feel okay? You don’t seem like yourself, I mean you’re not tearing it up like you did last year, you feeling a bit tired? Maybe all that riding in California has you tired but you’ll be better in about June.”  If I wrote this like Paul said it, it would be a single run on sentence with no punctuation and no spaces between the words.

When we exited the second section and turned right to catch that tasty to but brief tail wind, I unzipped all my layers and let them flap in the breeze. I was cursing myself for over dressing.  I began to feel much better as I cooled down.  Little did I know that on the very next lap, I’d be zipping those layers back up after the rain and sleet started falling and the temps dropped as the wind coarsened.

Paul and I buried ourselves into the mighty head wind after exiting the last 1 mile section of aggregate.  You all know my TT ability.  I am not kidding you when I tell you that the best Paul and I could do in the fierce head wind was about 16 mph and often it was 14.  I’ll insert my Garmin file link of the race here to show you.  Note how high my HR is at the same time our speeds are the slowest.  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/79744282

Less than half way through the race we had an insurmountable gap on our chasers.  Thus as the temperatures dropped, the rain and sleet began and our task ceased being riding hard to stay away from the other racers but going as hard as we possibly could in order to end the miserable experience we were enduring. The finish line didn’t mean victory; it meant an end to the most ludicrous and miserable way a stock analyst and a financial advisor could possibly spend a Saturday afternoon.  We both have hot wives. We both have nice homes. Paul has young children.  I have a dog and a well stocked bar at home and yet – here we were.

I began to get concerned when Paul stopped talking.  He was obviously suffering the effects of hypothermia.  His lips were blue and he couldn’t feel his feet or hands.  I was having lower back spasms and couldn’t feel my hands inside the rain soaked gloves gripping the handle bars as we bounced along the washboard surface of the aggregate roads.  “I’m miserable, I wish the officials would shorten the race” I told Paul.  His response after a long period of silence was “Wwaa webber ib turbull.  Khan fee faiche.  Khan see straight, ubber body numm”

And yet, in the last 5 miles, he was riding away from me on the slick, muddy clay roads.  Clearly he is one tough man, and clearly he wanted to get back to his car more badly than I wanted to get to mine.  In the end, he crossed the line as the 30+ winner and I crossed the 45+ winner with, what some said, about an 8 minute gap over the next finishers.

Frozen, delirious, caked in sand and clay from the waist down, we both rode wordlessly to our cars flopped out bikes on the ground, got in and turned on the heat and seat warmers vowing never again…until next year.

Only 3 riders finished the Pro 1,2 race.

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Mark Swartzendruber Google: Mark Swartzendruber
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