The weather was overcast with occasional light rain and about 40 degrees at Ft Steilacoom for the third MTB race of the season. The Blue Rooster Cycling Team was well represented on the podium with Brendan, Rainer, Robbie and Eva leading the charge.
Here are Rainer and Brendan leading the expert SS event.
Pete chasing on the second half of the course.
Mark also on the second half of the course.
Roger heading for the finish.
Eva finishing in the rain.
Robbie passing on the finishing straight for second place.
Today was the second of the Kermesse races for this year. The race was the same course as the Andy Salmon Kermesse but run in the opposite direction and with 12 laps this time instead of 10. This race gave us a chance to climb all of the hills on the dirt section then descend on the tarmac. Again I rode my cross bike with 32mm clincher tires pumped to 32psi. The officials gave us a few jokes about there being a little dirt section on the course then they blew the whistle. My starts are not the best and I scrambled to hold on to the pack. There was a fellow in the pack with what looked like a new Cervelo and as we hit the first section of baby heads I heard him say, "this is insane". Obviously not a crosser. After a few laps a little group of four had formed (John, Larry, David and myself) and we had fun changing positions according to our abilities. I led through the dirt section and the other fellows would lead on the tarmac. With two laps to go, John and I pulled away from the others and then on the last lap just as we were coming to the final stretch of tarmac, John pulled away from me.....I was out of gas. The preliminary results showed me at 16th place out of maybe 24 starters (there were lots of DNSs). Sadly, the officials made a mistake and placed Larry in front of me in the results. But, I just learned that Larry contacted the officials and requested a change to the results that would put him in 18th place. How is that for integrity! Thanks Larry! I will thank you before the next race. The results should now show that I won the 50+ category. It was no big deal since there were only three of us but, what the heck, I'll take it.
The start of the dirt section
And the finish of the dirt road
The road section
Just a little mud
As a side note, The gravel road was rough enough that during the race it pounded my heart monitor strap from the center of my chest down to my waist. Also, on one of the laps as I was following John, we transitioned to the tarmac and a chunk of mud from his back wheel flipped up and went right into my wide open mouth. I was hopping that the mud was not horse manure.
After an illness in December and ugly weather in January, I finally got some miles in and decided to try a bike race that I had never done before. According to the local promoters, a kermesse is a race consisting of road and off road mixed in a 3 or 4 mile circuit with everyone (all cats, men and women) starting at the same time.
It was a clear, sunny and cold start for the race. When the whistle blew, we went up a tarmac road for a mile and then turned right onto a proliferation of fire/maintenance roads that were hard packed dirt with boulders sticking up from the road surface. The race course had to be modified from event description due to the downed tree limbs from our recent storm. When racing the off tarmac portion, the protruding boulders kissed the tires in such a way as to produce a rhythmic vibration that our massage sponsor would find quite dreadful. Said rocks also pulled the air right out of many of the skinny tired bikes. I used 32mm tires with about 35psi on my cross bike and did not have a flat (I weigh 130lbs). On the rocky down hill, the bike took a real pounding. Everyone started at the same time so the fast guys went up the road as I struggled to warm up. After several laps a small group formed at the back and we continued to rumble through the rocks, then tarmac.....repeat. After about 5 laps, three fast guys passed us then life returned to normal. The race was feeling like a very long cross race without barriers. There were only two wet sections on the course but that was enough to fill my shoes with water and subsequently make my feet very cold. On the very last lap, the second group of fast guys caught me just as I was about to go down the rocky down hill. I tried to stay out of their way but in the process got forced to the side of the trail into deep ruts, had to slow down and lost contact with my small group. I struggled to catch up but did not get back to the group for the finish. I got 33rd place out of 50 starters but maybe 10 or more folks flatted due to pinch flats on the rocks. During the race I noticed that a woman was glued to my back wheel during the race. After crossing the finish, she came up to me and said thanks for pulling her along. You are welcome Heidi. At the end of the race, I got tangled up in traffic and she placed just in front of me.
Monroe, WA was the last race of the year for the Seattle Cyclocross series and this race would determine the podium winners for the year. After the Sprinker race I was sitting in 5th place for the series. When I got up in the morning it was raining....hard. As I arrived at the race course it was still raining hard. On my one and only ride around the course I noted running water, mud puddles, deep mud, and grassy sections of goo. The race started and the roosters of flying mud began. This picture was taken during the first lap of the race in one of the sandy corrals. Note the narrow line of hard packed sand.
I figured that my glasses would be covered in flying mud thereby limiting my vision but the real problem was the slimy hillside where I fell. Later in the race I would have to run the slimy sections.
This was a power course.....powering through all the mud. This picture was taken later in the race evidenced by the accumulation of mud on the jersey.
During the run-up.
Finally I crossed the finish line and then headed for the car and some dry clothes. I wanted to get to the awards ceremony and did not have much time. After piling all the muddy things in the car, I headed for the ceremony. They called Don forward for third place and my heart sank to the floor. I figured that I missed the podium for this year. Then Tom was called for second, again not me. I was standing there under the side of the barn watching the rain fall when, much to my surprise, they called my name for the top podium position. The final numbers must have been very close, but at age 64 I'm very grateful to have won this series.
Podium finishers for the Cat 4 Men 55+ group
Many thanks to Seattle Cyclocross for putting on these races for the past 20 years.