Sunday, July 26, 2009


Sunday, I made my debut in the 45+ Sport category at Roslyn's Indie Series race ( Terrific single-track trails, beautiful eastside setting (that is, ponderosa pines), hot as hell. No, make that hot as frickin' hell. Accuweather said is was 90 to 93 during race time with the Real Feel temp 97. Ugh. Ten minutes into the race, which started basically straight up a crazy-steep, sand and powdery pitch, I thought: "My legs are already rubber, I'm gonna DNF."

Sport races are longer than the Beginner races I'd done to this point. Each of those was 45 minutes to an hour. Roslyn's Sport race was likely to be twice that and in the relentless heat I was kicking myself for upgrading. But you know how it is, you suck it up, you think of your loved ones and how they'd find a way to get through it, you think of other hot races you've survived ('06's Ironman Coeur D'Alene when temperatures hit 94), and somehow you get it done. Plus, the Indie Series has points. I'd get points for finishing, even if I was dead last, but I'd bupkiss if I DNF'd. I wanted them points.

At Roslyn, we did three laps of a 4.5-mile (I think) course, each lap of which, according to my altimeter, climbed 850 feet. About 600 of that was in the first mile or so of each lap, that kind of tiny-gear, move-to-the-front-of-your-seat grind which, in the heat, made for some sloooow going. I saw several people get off their bikes, throw them to the ground, and plop themselves down in the shade to cool off. Then there was some fun, roller-coastery sections, another crazy-steep (but thankfully short) pitch, some not-too-bad climbs, and finally a screaming, hang-on-for-life descent through dusty talcum powder. If there was someone just ahead of you on the trail, you ended up eating a lot of dirt at Roslyn.
One of the many great things about the Indie Series races is the people you meet. The loquacious and energetic George Spaggiari was there (he's also a recent upgrade to Sport) and throughout the race would yell out my name any time he saw me on course--pulling away in front of him, as he passed me, as I passed him back, etc. In the end, I finished fifth with George just behind me for sixth. Results aren't up but time-wise, it was about an hour and forty-five.
I'd say the first lap was brutal, largely because I'd never ridden it before and had no idea what to expect; second lap, not quite so bad because all I was thinking about was finishing; third lap, suprisingly OK because I knew I wouldn't have to do it again.
Next up, Greenwater on August 8. That'll be my sixth Indie Series race. Actually, I'm thinking of riding the elegant Tarmac Pro road bike in Saturday's Tour de Whatcom (

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