Drove back from Cedar Rapids this morning to take part in IMBCS race #5. Bruce Brown and the crew had set up a really nice course along the shores of and through the doubletrack around Lake Ahquabi. I arrived around 10, registered, got my bike ready and headed out for a recon lap. The course started out really fast, and I was feeling pretty good about my chances to do well. I was about halfway up the first climb when my bike stalled. I looked down and was greeted with the sight of my now bent rear derailer doing the tango with some of my spokes. I untangled the mess, moved the mech into the small cog and limped back to the starting line. Paul Varnum from MOB racing offered me a derailer to race with, but after a quick bit of fiddling, I had determined that my hanger was bent as well. A quick consult with fellow Rassy rider Kent Carlson and a few minutes later I was prepped to throw down on a single speed for the afternoon.
I sped out and got a quick recon lap in. Kent's gear recommendation was going to work well for most of the course. I'd have to walk the hills, but I could live with that. I got back to the start finish line with a few minutes to spare, and spent the rider meeting taking the wobble out of my rear wheel after cutting off the broken spoke that announce itself on my recon lap. We took off a few minutes after experts for the start of our 3 lap race. I spend the first half of the first lap passing a few people. Right as I left the forest to cross the earthen dam at the end of the course, I unknowingy allowed my hand to hit my front derailer trigger and drop my chain onto my granny gear. I spent the next minute putting my chain back on and watching most everyone that I had passed cruise on by. As I came through the start/finish area on the first lap and made the corner, I grabbed too much front brake and went down hard on the still damp grass. I checked my helmet for cracks, put it back on and went out for what was to be an uneventful lap two. I took it easier through the start finish area this time and went out for my final lap, still feeling pretty good. At the top of the first climb, I stopped quick to pick up the water bottle that bounced out on lap one and continued to cruise around the course, walking the climbs when I needed to.
As I crossed the lake for the last time and headed up "railroad tie hill" I spied Taylor Webb from Mercy Specialized walking his single speed up the hill. I picked up my pace and we went head to head for the rest of the lap, with Taylor and I trading the lead up the remaining hills. At the top of the hill I spun up and started pulling ahead of Taylor. Right as we hit the semi paved downhill, Taylor's front wheel washed out. At this point, I figured that Taylor would be satisfied with finishing, and I make the mistake of letting up slightly on the downhill. I heard Taylor coming behind me and I picked up the pace as we headed toward the line. We hit the line at what appeared to be the same time. Looking at the time sheets, it appeared that Taylor just nabbed me at the line. Lesson learned. You earn every spot.
My next race will be the Iowa Games Road Race on Sunday the 17th. Looking forward to racing with the road regulars and helping the effort where I can.