Friday, April 24, 2009

Playing the game

Since my better half was sidelined from racing this weekend by some minor day surgery and the chance of rain discouraged him from spending the weekend sitting around, I head out on my own. Kyle didn't have travel plans for the weekend so I went to Flat Rock Ranch in Comfort via Austin to pick him up.

I left early to enjoy the drive on such a lovely day
which was a good idea, because things just kept getting slower
I was glad that I took the alternate route and wasn't behind this
Once past that ^ the roads opened up for little bit until I got to this
I'm glad I left early, because it was looking like I was never going to make it out of Dallas. Traffic finally started flowing and forward progress was possible. It was still drizzly, but at least we were moving. Due to weather, traffic issues and a few stops, the trip from Dallas to Austin went from the standard 3.5 or so hours, to almost 5 hours. Got to Kyle's place, loaded his stuff and we headed out for a late lunch/early dinner aka "linner'.

We decided on either pizza or Mexican and since the pizza place was across from the Mexican place, it made the choice easy... where ever we could find parking is where we would eat. Ended up at Guero's Taco Bar, checking over the menu I asked "what was good" and was answered with "dunno, never been here before". So it became an adventure in dining for both of us. Have to say the Al Pastor and Chicken al Carbon tacos were quite the tasty. Too bad I had more driving ahead of me as the margaritas were tempting.

Kyle was fascinated by these guys
hanging on the wall and pecking at the mortar.

Back in the car for the drive to Comfort, about 2 hours away. That is, until we got to Dripping Springs. Sat in bumper-to-bumper big city style traffic for over an hour. After inching along we finally arrived at the source... seems that it was Founder's Day weekend, the 2 lane road was closed to 1 lane and everyone in Austin was there. Got through that then it was clear sailing the rest of the way. So much for the planned Friday pre-ride - oh well, it was a rainy day and we wouldn't have been able to ride anyway.

At least our hotel room had a lovely view that Kyle just had to investigate.

5:30 Saturday morning I wake to the sound of a hard rain pounding the sidewalk, not the sound I want to hear on a race weekend. At least it didn't last very long. Maybe it's all a bad dream, so I pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. When the alarm goes off a couple of hours later, I look out the window and see the sun trying to shine through the clouds and water puddles in the parking lot, so while not a bad dream it did look like it would be OK.

The first test of trail conditions would be when we drove into the ranch as there was a low, narrow section of road that easily flooded. I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was the road dry, the creek crik looked dry, too. Good news - while the road in the ranch was soft, it wasn't messy muddy. Things were definitely looking good! The best news was that the lower field Expo area was also dry (better than a couple of years ago when it was flooded).

Race weekend was ON!

Speaking of racing, this weekend was an omnium race with three races: a short track (course less than 1 mile, multiple loops for a set time); a time trial (race against the clock); and our regular cross country. Points were earned for your finish position in each race and the race awards are based on those accumulated points. You could do one race or all three, which doing all three was obviously the best way to place in the overalls.

The first race was the short track (ST) and all Cat1 Women raced together (we would be scored within our respective age groups) for 20 minutes + 1 lap. 6 of us lined up, 4 raced 30-39; 1 Jr; and little ol' me alone in the 40-49. All I had to do was ride and cross the finish line after 20 minutes and I had my class wrapped up - easy enough. However just riding along once they say "GO!" is hard to do and even harder when everyone is cheering and encouraging you to chase down the person in front of you (even when they know you're not really racing against anyone else). So, off I go chasing and racing. I did have one moment of weakness at the end, before starting the last lap I stopped and waited for the leader to lap me (again). I know, I know head hung in shame I should have done that last lap.

After about a 3 hour break it was time for the time trial (TT). What was supposed to be a 1 mile hill climb was changed to a 4.5ish mile route on the race course. Jen and I took an easy ride on that course before the short track, so I had a worse case scenario time. I watched Kyle and a couple of others start then go riding around to keep moving. I keep an eye on my watch, because once your appointed start time has arrived you race time starts, whether or not you are there. When I have a couple minutes before my start time I roll up to the staging area and I hear Judy
(one of the race officials) call for number 260... hmmm, I look over at the front of my bike and guess what? Yep, I'm number 260. I ride up and Judy tells me I have 10, as in 10 seconds, no time for much more that an "oh crap!" before she says 5, then "GO!". Once again, although I am the only one in my age group, I WENT!
(When Alan looked at my heart rate download he said I took off way too fast and blew myself up at the beginning. Guess I'm more competitive than I think I am.)

Once I was done and the results were posted - I won both the ST and TT for my age group, how about that! Kyle and I head back to the hotel to drop off the bikes, pick up Scott & Jen and then meet Andrew, Raine and Claire for dinner. Good times.

Sunday was the regular cross country. Since the course at Flat Rock Ranch is two loops that can be tied together, they are able to get all the racers started in the morning. Not much exciting to report about the race, other than the climbs and rocks getting the better of me; or maybe an accumulation of the two races on Saturday AND the climbs and rocks getting the better of me... yeah, that's it.

Bonus of the day for me was that since I was the only one that did all three races, I won the overalls. YEA! I'm now the owner of a cool cowbell
complete with typo Photobucket
and 1st place payout.

Clean up, pack up, load up and head out. Take Kyle back to Austin and then start the lovely drive up I-35. Amazingly enough, the traffic wasn't all that bad until just north of Waco
good thing I know the super-secret route to bypass Hillsboro. Got home in record time... at least compared to the time it took me to on Friday.

That's all for now.

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