Tuesday, November 11, 2008

and for the rest of the story...

I was excited to head up to Traverse City Michigan for the Iceman race for the first time. We got up at 3:00AM on Friday morning and hit the road by 4:30 AM. We scathed the Chicago traffic by a hair, turned east and then north to wide open highways. It felt like we were up North Wisconsin once we left Grand Rapids. We secured a great spot in one of those very nice condos at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa which was located approximately 7 miles from the finish line of the course. Our condo offered more than we expected. A nice cozy fireplace, a very large well stocked kitchen, large screen plasma TV, and a lovely view of the golf course. We picked up our race stuff and meandered around the expo center for a bit on Friday evening.

Saturday morning came round fast and I was soon faced with the issue of what to wear for the race. The anticipated rain that was forecast was only a little bit of drizzle during the start of expert race and a dash of cold ice pellets here and there during the pro race. The weather was cold but not breath taking bitterness and that was a huge relief. I opted for my Craft long sleeve pro zero undershirt and the tried and true Alterra winter jacket that I usually wear for my winter rides. This worked out perfect instead of the Pearl Izumi Polyester rain jacket I purchased the night before at the Iceman Expo event. Somehow, the thought of plastic fibers did not equal warmth or comfort for the race.

Ty and Regina were off to their start as I decided to check over my bike and dial it in. I wanted to ride with a bit firmer rear shock for the anticipated long flat sections of the course. A few clicks to the rear brain specialized shock and that should do it. I then pushed down on the rear end of the bike and it did not seem to respond. TJ took a look at it and had me take it over to the Specialized tent for a quick check thinking I may need more pressure in it. It was set exactly at 70 PSI just as I had it dialed in previously. The nice mechanic took one look at it and said it was shot. Yes, brain death again. This was approximately five minutes to the start of my race. He said he would replace it no problem or we can pump it up with more PSI to get me through the race but there was no guarantee that I would not have any problems during my race. So we made a quick decision to have it changed. By now, Patti Kaufman’s husband is standing at the specialized tent telling me Patti is lined up at the start and we have three minutes to GOOOOOOOOO. The rear shock is half off and I can’t believe this is happening to me. TJ had a great idea and sent me to go stand in the start line and wait for my bike. Luckily, the specialized tent was exactly at the start line. As the clock was ticking and they were cranking down the last bolts. I felt like an idiot for not checking this earlier, but I usually just deal with it and not let these little things bother me. I have raced several races recently and the shock has just not responded well to my climbing despite taking it in to get checked for this back in August. Just as the announcer was counting down to zero, TJ was there handing off my bike over the rafters, I grabbed it with the assistance of another only to have me set the bike down, clip in and GOOOOOOOOOOO just as they called it! Holy Shit, off I went.

I had a pretty good start and punched it right out in front with the others not knowing where this was going to lead me. I had only pre-rode the back 3-4 miles of the course on Friday afternoon and did not know what to expect for the first half of the race. Well my punch started to dwindle and so did my effort. I just don’t seem to have that pep I had mid summer and it was a struggle to even keep up a good tempo. They had mile markers counting down from 27 and I remember clearly that after mile 15, I was starting to come back around. I started to pass some guys in a mission to catch some girls. I finally came across one woman just ahead and I could see her fatiguing after the climbs. I caught her and made my attack, one down, more to go. I was feeling pretty good now on cruise control, passing more guys on my way. TJ warned us of the great big sand pit some where in the race, and would you know, I for sure made the hit to the bottom and could not save myself. I unclipped and sure enough, that girl came back to attack me. I got out of the mess, made a new water bottle switch and I was off to catch her. Sure enough, after a few minutes, I passed her again. That was about it for me catching anyone else, the lead pack went off strong and stayed strong and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. The last half of the race I kept up a steady pace had a blast in the single track sections and fast down hill descents but that was about it.

Mile two marker came into the final picture, I unzipped my jacket, took off my gloves and punched it once again to the finish line. I am not too happy about my time but its fits in with the way I felt for the day. I think top ten is pretty darn good considering my first year in expert and I am content knowing I had some pretty good competition out there. I was even more surprised at the size of the field for the 45-55 Expert women age group, I think at least 30 women showed up. This was the largest field of all the expert women which is totally awesome.
A big Ya Hoo goes out to my husband Ty for an awesome finish 1:51:42, 21st in 112 expert men 40-44. Way to go honey!

Don warming up with Regina 4th place SS extraordinaire and young Sarah Lukas who beat her overall time from her previous Iceman race in bare legs.

Warming up after the race at the one fire pit for the thousand and some racers. Earlier I accidentally hit the Gary Fisher VIP tent to use the bathroom (there were no lines) and they had nice fancy fire pits with peeps sitting around the fire sipping Martini's. WTF? Next year i will have to get me one of those yellow hats :-)

We patiently waited all night just to see Regina get up on the stage for her award. left to right: Cole House, Dallas Fowler, Sarah Lukas, TJ woodruff, Me, TY, and Regina

Finally some dinner at 9:30 PM

Jeremiah Bishop

Michelle and I enjoying a sip of the magical potion

Phillips as usual

Chris going for the gusto

God only knows what they poured in that trophy

Stu Alp from Windsor Canada

The nice drive back home with a few snow flakes on the ground. I can't wait for 2009 Iceman!


amelia said...

omg! your pre-race bike adventure is crazy!! glad it worked out. you were probably much calmer than i would have been.

oh and good job up there!

Christopher said...

Awesome work Christine!

Ty said...

Jeeze....can't take Phillips anywhere with out haveing to worry about what he's gonna do next!

Cpt Candy

claire said...

Nice work staying cool under pressure, Christine! Great pics too, as always.