you get what you pay for
That's about sums up how Chequamegon went for me this year. All in all though, it was a dynamite Friday and Saturday. Friday Fride and I drove up in the van with a plan that is in its 3rd year running. Leave MPLS in the afternoon on Friday. Get to Telemark Lodge around 5 for race packet. Get the hell out of there as quick as possible (usually I'm all for hanging around a bunch of bikers with bluegrass playing and vendor displays all about, but there something creepy about that situation at the Telemark that makes me want nothing to do with it...can't really put a finger on it, but....). Head back to Hayward, park the van in the very empty school lot right at the Start of the race. Ride the course a bit and then head over to the Angry Minnow for dinner and beer. Two ales and a burger later, we head back to the van, put the Awning (Awing is capitalized because awnings rule!) out and call it a night. It's a very low stress way to race and I dig it. There seemed to be much less activity in Hayward Friday night than in years past. Saturday morning, I smiled at about 4am as Fride got his bike out to the start line, then I fell back asleep till 7. After 2 shits, 3 pees, a big bowl of oatmeal, two cups of coffee, orange juice, 3 sports legs, 3 amino vitals and 4 hammer electrolyte capsules and 1/2 a Power Bar, I was ready to race. I was hoping to line up right behind Jonathan Page, but due to all the top dudes getting to the line with about 10 minutes before start, I was 3 rows back. Not bad, but the confusion at the start line before we got rolling set the stage for a nervous, confused rollout. BANG! The rollout through town was fine as I was just behind Marko on the left side. I felt I could stay with those top dudes at least till Rosies then fade back and settle in avoiding the chaos that inevitable ensues on the main road before Rosies. As you've most likely read in other recaps, as we turned left onto the county road, the shit hit the fan. Out of the saddle and hammering as hard as I could to stay with the front muscle, I realized after about 1 minute that my 34x12 (1x9 setup) was not going to be close to enough gear to keep me in this deal. FUCK! The pace was crazy fast and I started fading back. About half way to Rosies, I heard the sound that makes you sick. The big crash happened right behind me. I saw Tomac made it through, but until about ¾ of the way through the race, when Stone passed me, I was really worried he got tangled in the mess. By the time we his Rosies, I was feeling very lame. I was somewhere around 200th place and knew my goal of top 50 was toast. But, when we hit the grass and started heading up some of the first climbs, I started passing people in bunches and I was feeling really strong, so I started thinking top 100 might be doable. I used the same program as at O2S "use and abuse". I hooked onto every group I could and kept moving up. By OO, I was in felling really good and felt like I could hammer like that for a while. According to the results, I was in 88th at that point. I might have moved up a bit more from OO, but nearing the Firetower climb, the wind died, my sail lay still and I was in a sea of what the fuck. It happened so fast I didn't even question what was going on. I knew almost immediately that with the riding I've done this summer, the races, getting sick. All of it got me to this point in the race and that was it. I simply didn't ride long enough or hard enough over the last couple months to keep up the pace that got me there. It was kind of a good feeling to be honest. Usually when that happens I start trying to figure out what I did wrong and that I should be feeling better. Not this time. My legs talked to me and said, you have paid to get to this point, but now you are out of credits. Done. So, I struggle to get to the Firetower climb, climbed and walked that. Then struggled to get to the finish. Never once did I get mad at myself for not being stronger or for letting so many rider pass me back. It was crystal clear and it's what I deserved. A couple good things that came out of my 182 place finish were I didn't cramp and my back didn't get blown out. I've been stretching like a mother since the FIVE-O, so that is what I'm attributing to that nice little surprise. It seemed all the Kenwood Racers at Cheq had interesting races. Tommy rode a really strong race and almost broke the top 100. Fride was smiling on Firetower climb, so he was happy. Stone threw down on a first time ss ride at cheq and put in a hell of a ride. From being pretty far back by Rosies do to the insane rollout, to passing me and heading toward Tomac and a top 1oo, to lying on the side of the trail dealing with the devil. He let it hang out 100% and that's fucking cool. Ez rolling with the big dogs only to flat twice and roll in amongst the fools and pretenders. WW and Becko clawing their way back into a podium spot after sitting in fourth position right up to the Birkie rollers (Passing Paul and Janna and hearing a hardy "FUCK" as they passed and never looking back). That's racing folks. Hell yeah! Chops, GFrides, Paulie, Robo and any other Kenwoodie I might be forgetting, I'm sure all have tales to tell. Many Kenwood Superfans along the course too. It’s rad when you’re passing a big group of spectators along the course and you get a personal shout out. That’s it. Another long fucking recap for you. After Cheq, Cyclocross was not sounding too fun, but now the juices are starting to flow again and once I get a few house projects done, I’m hoping to get in some more race action before the debauchery season starts. Yeah, that’s right bitches, the next post will tell of one such event. Giddy up fuckers!