Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hueco Tanks - El Paso Texas

Got done with work and wanted to see something new in El Paso, TX.  A glance through the guide made Hueco Tanks State Park seem interesting, and the 45 minute drive to the mountains was appealing.  So off I went.  The drive was beautiful and once I got off of 180, I never saw another car.  I took advantage of it and stopped frequently for pictures.  Once I entered the park, I asked about what I could see in the less than two hours I had before closing and Buck volunteered to take me around.  We had a great afternoon and he showed me so much more than I'd ever have seen on my own.  I never would have ventured into the crevices to find the pictographs!  I was kicking myself I didn't have my Canon travel camera that usually floats around with me and so I had to make due with my phone camera, but the results were good and you can find them here.

Superweek 2010 - Geneva Crit

Well gang, it was a really tough hot race in Geneva.  As the lone WFR rider I knew I was going to have to be smart, but at Superweek you can't cheat on good fitness.  About 50ish guys rolled up for the Masters 4/5 35+ crit in downtown Geneva.  It featured a final turn with some nice smooth brick, unnoticeable in the heat of the moment.  The 6 turn course saw tricky turns 3 and 4 where the road narrowed dramatically in the turn causing speeds to drop with the caution and then a hasty acceleration up a slight hill out of 4.  It would prove my downfall.  I chose to race my Cherry as I needed every advantage I could get - my favorite bike with light fast wheels that would hug corners like a mom saying goodbye to her kid on the first day of kindergarten.  Temps were 94F at the start with a slight breeze.

At the start a guy from Freeport Bicycle Co. lined up just ahead.  As I grew up out there, I tapped him on the shoulder and introduced himself.  Turns out I worked summers lifeguarding with two of his kids.  His son raced 4's last year and is now a 3.  When I kept seeing the name in the results I just didn't put it all together!  After instructions we set out and immediately the tempo was fast.  We nailed the turns safely and charged the stretch between 4 & 5.  I felt ok.  Definitely it was hot and fast.  We kept the speed up the next few laps and I just stayed on wheels as my heart rate climbed and my tongue started to hang out.  I stayed in the field and hoped that I'd just be able to hang.

Finally, coming out of 4 the rubberband snapped and I was done.  I couldn't handle the acceleration and I was going backwards.  I tried to ride as hard as I could, but the field left me behind.  Another rider caught me and we started working together.  I can't even tell you what team.  We traded pulls and soldiered on.  A Beverly rider caught us, recovered, and then rather help us with the work, dropped us. Typical.  A Spin Doctor rider got to us as well.  Exhorting us to "work together" failed.  The Beverly rider came back, but there was no coordination.  Just me and the guy I'd been with trying to take even pulls and not get pulled.  It didn't work.  With probably 12 to go, we were prompted by the moto to withdraw.  Crud.  I knew I wasn't really race-fast, but was hoping that if we stayed safe we'd finish.  No luck on the technical course.

As it turns out, Bill from Freeport's daughter that I last saw in 1993 was at the race with her kids to cheer on grandpa.  It was actually really nice to catch up as we watched the race continue to evolve.  A break with two guys got away - one a Bicycle Heaven rider Andy Swims was in the break with a Bellum rider, Dan Cleveland.  The field trailed well behind. With 3 to go, Jenny's kids exclaim that "Grandpa is at the front".  Sure enough, rather than finish at the back of the pack, Bill Liebman turned it on and led the field through the line to give the crowd some excitement.  Bicycle Heaven took the race which was practically home for them so that was nice to see.  Chatted with Ed Ekstrom from Tower post-race who took 10th.  Bill scored 28th.  For me, all I can do is commentate.

I can't make excuses.  My fitness just isn't there right now.  Wednesday nights are helping, but I need to be more consistent.  Due to a mishap trying to fish my computer pick-up out of my spokes that was merely irritating, I pushed it further into the spokes and watched it disintegrate against the curb so I can't even give averages and confirm my agony.  I opted not to race the Homewood crit.  Wish I'd have seen Ed from Tower take 2nd, though!