IMBCS #8 took place on September 7th at the Science Center Trails in Des Moines. I meet up with Lou, Basso and PIg at Hy-Vee on Grand for some breakfast and a piece of Denman's at 7 am. As we got ready to head out to ride I discovered that I had pulled a Basso and left my helmet at home. I called Kathy (unfortunately waking her up) and had her bring the helmet with her to the race. While I will ride on the streets without a helmet when I feel like it, I am definitely not comfortable mountain biking without one, especially when I'm working to keep up with Lou, Pete and Pig. I took it easy through Denman's, trying to keep the others in sight, but walking the log overs to avoid Murphy coming to bite me. After leaving Denman's through the new route along the creek we tried to ride through the path left by the equipment working to pave over where J11 used to be at. We were about 1/2 way in when the mud caked around my brakes and bottom bracket made it obvious that I wasn't going any further. I wasn't happy about having my bike completely caked with mud an hour before the race, so while the guys rode along Grand, I took a solitary trip on the railroad tracks to cool down. Pete wanted to race, but couldn't stick around due to other commitments. Race organizer Chris Maharry took pity on him and let him run the course while registration was going on. Lou and I make a quick trip to a car wash on 31st Street to clean our bikes off. A kind soul bought Lou's coffee for him at the Caribou drive thru as we headed to the car wash.
The race itself was pretty uneventful for me. We ran up the pavement and came down into some rarely used single track, along the rose garden and then took an unconventional line into roller coaster. In the midst of trying to catch the guy in front of me, I missed the turn by the pump house and had to back track, along with Paul Varnum of MOB Racing. I put a gap on Paul not too long after entering Rollercoaster proper, walked the switchback and proceeded to feel pretty good until I heard Cam Kirkpatrick coming up behind me (on his second run). We nudged a slight bit as he flew by me since I couldn't quite get completely out of his way. The price for the slow being in front of the quick I guess. The rest of my lap was spent working to to keep my heart out of my throat and my stomach contents down. I managed to successfully accomplish both (barely). I finished with a time of 26:12, which put me in 4th place in the 35+ Sport Men's group. Tom Anderson won our class handily with a 23:39. Overall winner was Cam Kirkpatrick with a 19:10. Kent Carlson handily won the single speed class with a time of 20:09. Oddly enough, my time would have been good enough for second in Sport Open. Looks like the old guys were faster for a change. :) Chris Maharry had plenty of swag on hand for prizes, including some bottles of wine, autographed photos of our own Oakley Rob, bike accessories and parts galore, and a number of pairs of sunglasses courtesy of Rob Versteegh and Oakley. After handing a good portion of the prizes, Chris opened up the rest of the "table" to anyone who didn't get anything and thought they deserved something for their efforts. After letting most of the others pick through stuff, I snagged a nice Aveda Shaving Kit filled with some cool stuff. Not your typical racing prize, but something more useful to me than a 26" mtb tire or a bottle of slime.
The course that Andy Lueck and Squirrel set up for us was a LOT of fun. I had ridden parts of Hillside that I typically don't ride, and they made the most of the mileage that was available on the trails. I think that if we were to cut off the run up the paved trail on subsequent laps, this would make for a great cross country race. I was a bit disappointed with the turnout for the race. With it being in town, I was sure that we would have a really good turnout from the local riders. There were a lot of people that I expected to be there that weren't. Hopefully next year.
After the event, Scott Sumpter and I rode over to Rasmussen's for a post race beer, pizza and bike party in the back of the shop. Good times as always. After an hour or two of pizza and beer, I rode back through Valley Junction and to Hy-Vee, loaded up and drove back home.