Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dead Dogs That Bite

It was time for another Dead Dog Stage Race, so on Friday afternoon, just in time for the afternoon downpour, Zac and I packed up the car, and headed North. Rubin was already up in Laramie, warning the locals that we were on our way. The Dead Dog is one of those races that I have such a love/hate relationship with. Overall, it's a well-run race, on some pretty sweet courses... all ones that I don't excel at. The road race is absolutely beautiful, every year, I'm too busy racing, to really take a look around and enjoy the area, which is sad. Especially since whenever we get back and see pictures, then you see what you're missing.

Anyway... off to Laramie, pick up some race numbers, grocery store, and then head off to our sweet cabin for the night in Albany. The cabin was sweet... 200 meters form the start of the road race, and super quiet up in the mountains, with just 15 full-time inhabitants of Albany;

First things first... bug spray to keep from getting carried away by the mosquitos. Next up... a lovely little spin on the bikes to loosen up the legs and all that, and you know, to remind ourselves just how miserable the final miles of this race can be, as if it isn't etched into your mind after just one trip.

Sara, Seth and myself rolling the painful, but scenic course. This is even the boring part of the course!

After riding, we had a nice dinner to load up for the next day, and then a relaxing night in our cabin;

Saturday morning the skies were clearer than expected, but it was also already getting windy. You know those days where you ignore the signs that you should just stay home? That's the way Saturday was starting out... 5 minutes before the start of the race, I put my hand on my bars, and was subsequently stung right in the center of the palm by a bee! That was sure to feel lovely during the next 4 hours of holding onto my handlebars. Anyway, the gun went off, the race started, and the legs were feeling just fine. Seth followed some wheels off the front, and I hung out to keep an eye on things. A few minutes later, I realized I had made a drastic mistake, and had not tightened my cassette lockring sufficiently. Doh! Of course, it was perfectly fine riding around all morning... until we were racing that is. Just as the pace was heating up a bit, it all came apart and my chain jammed. Luckily the wheel car was able to help me out, but it took a bit of time, and then it was 5 miles of solo TT effort straight into that evil headwind. But at least I got back on.

Eventually the course went uphill, and I came off the main group, but found some friends. It was fricken windy... and cold... not fun. But I was just looking for that turnaround which should give us a tailwind then. It did... sorta... but the temperature swings and turning to go back up hill had it's usual effect on me, in the usual place and I had a big ol' come-apart. Bummer, since the main group was within reach. Man does it suck being 40 miles from home, and wanting nothing more than to get off your bike and quit. I knew another group was coming up behind though, so I jumped on with them, and rode the rest of the way home with similarly dejected friends. Oh well, I get to race again on Sunday.

Nice distraction on the way back to Laramie; check out the size of these friggin' wind turbine blades! I don't know why, these things just always amaze me, but especially the massive ones!

Here's a good size reference for you... the front of the regular, full-size semi, was lined up with the end of the truck with the turbine blades;

We even had some time off for some ice cream, and no trip to Laramie would be complete without a photo of a meth billboard. Zac was kind enough to pose, but I'm starting to worry about his uncanny likeness to the billboard;

Sunday it was time for the double. The downtown crit was silly fast, as expected, from the gun. Being just 50 minutes, it was sure to be. We rode around and around, and I was pretty active in the first half of the race, but we missed the break. Ciclismo put their entire team on the front to chase, so things looked good, and everyone relaxed a bit... instead, the gap went up, so I guess they did a good job of blocking instead. Oh well.

Pack up the car and straight off to the TT. It's a relatively flat TT, downhill tailwind out, uphill evil headwind coming back. And usually pretty hard to be motivated given the big time differences from Saturday left little if anything to be gained. Even worse that the legs were absolutely screaming to stop at the start... but they got better, and I rode a consistent, if not strong effort, to finish the weekend. Blah. But still mostly fun overall. And now for a bit of time off.

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