Sunday, November 12, 2006

alberto's account of crossing minnyapples

it was a lovely event to end a lovely season of cross (except of course, for grudge cross - the penultimate event for the truely cross starved soul).

friday started early, very early, as chris and i both wanted to hit the twin cities with enough time to visit a few of its best bike shops and hangouts. by 7:00 we were at the border, and because of the non-threatening nature of a theology/ethics professor and medical rehabilitation librarian we were quickly on our way. 1:00 found us in the heart of minneapolis at matt's bar for a jucy lucy, fries and pitcher of grain belt. satiated, we quickly made our way to the crc coffee bar for a cup of joe and a quick hello with hurl, international legend of the singlespeed world (seems like one of our own, ian hall, has bit of a rep as hurl inquired if we knew ian). jittery on hurl's fine joe (please check out this site - a very cool company that delivers their product via bike around the twin cities), we headed off to one on one bicycle studio to see if i could resist the temptations of walking out with out having purchased a new bike as i was unable to resist this temptation last year; it was a close call because this one caught my eye immediately. after a few words with gene, the shop owner, chris and i made off with our purchases (a for chris, and a larger more functional courier bag and sock for me)it was off to the next bike shop, the hub, a worker owned and operated bike shop. having seen enough bike shops we hit the rei to kill some more time until my friends mark and nancy came home, friends of mine who were kind enough to put us up for the night.

saturday arrived cold and clear (we were lucky because a storm passed south of the us, dumping up to 30 cm of snow in some areas), and we started the day with a hearty and foolish breakfast at the sunnyside up cafe where i had huevos rancheros and chris started his day with biscuts and gravy - in hindsight, not the wisest of decisions. from there it was off to the race. once we got to the race site we quickly registered (chris had to talk his way into the b race as they were only going to let him race c because he did not have a license), met up with cam, got our bikes put together, and scouted the course. it was a little bit of a different set up this year with a double switch back at the bottom of the long hill climb, instead of barriers. this was followed by another 180 at the top of the hill, a quick turn to the right which led into a 40km descent (one of two). the rest of the course was pretty much the same with stairs from hell, and the run through the creek bed (where dallas turned his ankle last year).

the start of the b race saw 87 riders on the line - after some quick instructions the whistle blew and we were off. the course starts on a single lane dirt road which they divide in half 100 meters from the start. because of the number of riders you need to pay attention if you start in the middle of the pack like the three of us did. cam jumped at an opportunity and was off with the lead pack, i saw one for myself and settled into the middle, but chris got stuck in the back, having to brake because of congestion. it quickly became apperent to me that my choice for breakfast was not a wise one, as i started to feel like i might be seeing my breakfast before me again. after two slowish laps this sensation settled, only to be followed by the felling that i might soon be riding with brown shorts - not good. 3 more laps of agony finally saw these demons leave me and i settled into my race, picking off a rider here and there. the worst part of the race however, was with one lap to go when i was lapped by the leader 30m before the start/finish. this meant that i finished the race one lap down - something i was hoping to avoid. cam had a great race finishing 13th overall, chris finished 40th after recovering from his poor start and i finished in 49th overall (8th in the B2 category for 45+ which i was happy with considering the start of the race).

the a race completely rocked with two riders, bjorn ??? and another dude rocketing to the front right off the start. the two riders held on to each others wheel for 55 minutes, with barely a 1/2 meter seperating the two the entire time. other riders were quciker over the barriers and faster up the hill, but none were as consistent and as strong overall as these two. the race began with 3 laps to go; for some reason the un-identified rider decided to run up the hill and bjorn pulled a little bit of lead on him as he rode up the hill. sensing that he might lose the race at this point the second rider busted a lung to catch up with bjorn, which he did by flats at the bottom of the hill. the riders disappered to the other side of the hill, when they came out again, they were still wheel on wheel. as they came to the climb bjorn attacked again and the other rider stayed on his wheel, this time riding instead of running. they flew up the hill and quickly descended down the side. we watch them hit the flats and suddenly bjorn was up on his pedals mounting another attack. well we felt the explosion from the top of the hill as the other rider blew up dropping a meter a second as bjorn rode away. on the final climb bjorn was by himself and climbed to victory - a very impressive ride and race. when the second rider came up you could tell he was pissed - really pissed, because second was not an option. what a cool race.

following a quick shower at cam's hotel room, chris and i headed out for dinner at the modern cafe. after dinner we headed to the windup party at the one on one bicycle studio. this looked like it would have been fun if we could have stayed longer - gene said we could crash upstairs if we decided to stay and have too much fun - but chris and i both felt it would be nice to get home; six and a half hours later we were pulling into winnipeg (record time for myself).

everyone should mark this on your calendar - it is great race and great time

1 comment:

PaddyH said...

it was a tough one to miss this yr, as we've been there the last 4-5 yrs...glad you guys represented