OK, so we had this race-thing on Sunday that you may or may not have heard about. Grown men & women wearing spandex, riding bikes on difficult courses (designed that way!) in very cold temperatures. Sounds like great fun when we put it like that I'm sure. And perhaps you may or may not have heard that we're raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project by doing this, ahem, activity. Which means we should tell you how it all shakes out, right?
The set-up: Dec. 5th Cap City Cross held a race at Smith Farms in Columbus, Ohio. This course had a little bit of everything - long straight fast sections, gravel paths, twisty tight technical turns, a couple of steep climbs and barriers. Yeah! This is cyclocross! Of course we had barriers. The "triple threat" as we came back from the first half of the course & the hay bale barriers toward the end of the lap. Not a lot of pavement but what was available was utilized. The course we better suited for those who had their fitness and had speed. While we didn't get much snow accumulation it was still coming down at times. Cold, too. I don't think it got about 28 degrees F.
We roll up for the C race (beginners). And - what the He.... I get a call up? Whoa. (For those of you not familiar with the term, typically last race winners or series leaders will get called up to take a place at the front of the pack.) I figured I better show up to race if I'm going to get a call-up. So we take off from the gun and I'm doing great for the first, oh, 30 pedal strokes. Then I start slipping back. Yow. Just one more thing to work on is maintaining speed. The good thing is after the first lap I start slowly working my way up, gradually picking off other riders. I thought we were going for three laps so we come out of the left-hand 180 and I sprint around another racer to the finish line, only to see the "1" card displayed, meaning one more lap. Crud. I had sat up thinking I was done, allowing the guy I passed to get back up to me. He raced pretty smart, staying close but behind me for about 3/4 of the lap, then he gasses it and he gets past me. I make up time on him coming through the hay bale barriers. Back to the left hand 180 and I manage to sprint around him to the finish line to take 5th. My best finish all year, very cool. And a heck of a battle those last couple of laps. I can't wait for the results to get posted so I can learn his name, he's going to be tough.
Jovid did really awesome too. Only his third race ever and he carded a 13th place finish. Outstanding job, Jovid! I wish I was back with him to see how his race progressed. Nonetheless I'm proud of him.
Next up is the B (intermediate) race. No call up and once again, I slip to the back of the pack from the start. Once again, pointing out again that this is an area I really need to work on. Ugh. But As the lap goes on I'm feeling pretty good. Lap 2 and I start getting around a couple of guys. But halfway through that race my legs just fell apart. I started feeling awful. Endurance wise I was OK -- not great but OK. The legs just hurt hurt hurt. Must have used them up on the first race. I honestly thought of just dropping out of the race with 2 laps to go. But I keep using the motto I borrowed from my Marine friends - "Die first, then quit." Yes, I got 6th in my age group. But that's only because the other guys in my age bracket didn't want to be turned to Popsicles. Yes, I got lapped. I stayed in there, tho.
It was a good day for some other racers, too. Some of the guys I've ridden with in the middle of the pack turned in some great finishes. Guess the cold agreed with some people. Good show!
The BIG deal, however, was the fundraising for the Wounded Warrior Project. Cap City Cross did an fantastic job of promoting our fundraiser. Between Cap City Cross and all the contributions from the racers we accumulated $325 in donations! Team Lake Effect came down from the Cleveland area to race with us to support our cause. Wow, that is truly AWESOME. Add that to the other contributions we've received in the past week as a result of the newspaper articles and we are currently standing at $1,235 in donations. That really has me floored. Team Lake Effect, Cap City Cross, racers and everyone who's contributed - you guys rock! You don't know what it means to me, to be racing with such a great group of people. I don't know what else to say. Except that we're not done yet. Please think of contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project at this link: http://WWPProudSupporter.kintera.org/jdkimple
Goodnight for now. Tomorrow, I'll announce the winner of the Photo Caption contest. Drum roll, please....