A pretty sunrise saw us out of the house and on the road early yesterday, headed for Leadville and the first race of the season. I haven't raced in quite a while and I was pretty excited to turn the pedals in anger again. Marni was nervous as it was only her 2nd snow race ever and her first race ever on her new 29er singlespeed.
We rolled down the highway to the T-rex park and ride lot to pick up Brett and meet up with Bill. Shortly after getting back on I-70, a huge mess of (ski) traffic saw us cheering to hit 20mph. At first we were just annoyed but it soon became increasingly clear that we might miss our race! With a little interwebz help from my dad we managed to call Sterling at Cycles of Life and let them know we were on our way and not to start with out us if we could get there by 10 am. By a minor miracle the traffic eventually broke up and with some crafty driving and in car clothes changing, we made it to the race start with 5 minutes to spare. So much for a warm up but hey, at least we made it! We got registered, numbers pinned on and shortly thereafter lined up for the race. Around 30 people took the starting line with some fast faces in the crowd and I lined up on the outside of the front row.
Someone said "go" and we all clipped in and headed off. Immediately Doug on his SS took the lead and I tucked in right behind him on some choppy but hard snow. As we started heading up for the ~1400 feet of climbing I took advantage of fatty's tires on a bit of soft snow and took the lead. I was suprised to see no one immediately come with me and I opened up a gap. A minute later we hit a big snow covered road and the climbing begain in earnest. I looked back a few times to see a chase pack but they didn't seem to be able to close down the gap. Well until I made a wrong turn that is. Doh. All the chasers followed me on my wrong turn except Mark, the PBville snow race veteren. When I heard him yell and saw him go by I knew for sure I screwed up. We all turned and got back on the road and I sprinted off after Mark. Last year he was the one who beat me in this first race and I was hoping to turn the tables today. The rest of the long climb up 7th street was a battle. I'd close the gap, he'd stand and try to take it away while I tried to match his pace. Slowly I realed him in by the top of the climb and another soft spot on the course give me the break I needed to open up another big gap. Hey I hauled the 35lbs Pugs up the hill, I was going to take advantage of those 4" tires were I could :) By the time we got back off the trail onto the road again I had my gap and could see that there were only 2 chasers left. I knew at least one of them was on a SS so I flew down the road as fast as I could. Soon they were out of sight and the rest of the race isn't too dramatic. I didn't make any more wrong turns, kept it cool on the fast trail downhills and gave my effort a bit of extra juice if they ever seemed to be catching up at all. I rolled through the finishline in 59:11 and took the first W of the season. Sweet!
After my two chasers came in, Mark and Chad, I spun back up the road to cheer on Bill, Brett and Marni. Bill did really well and finished around 1:17 on his Yeti. Brett battled a 32:18 on his 29er to a 1:38 finish in his first snow race and Miss Marni was the first girl in a little over 2 hours. She beat the other girl who had gears so I think she was really pleased.
Marni coming across the line.
Marni all finished with Mt.Massive in the background.
Marni ran flat pedals (which she thought was a good idea post race) but forgot to wear her booties without a cleat hole. Thus she developed snow clod foot :) Haha.
Brett, Marni and I post race.
Sterling waiting for racers to come in. He and the rest of the race organization put on a GREAT event. For $20 you get a great race, free post race beers, tons of prizes and raffle prizes and apparently they can schedule awesome weather too!
We packed up from the race site, grabbed some post race grub at Rosie's where the awards were held and then headed out of town. Luckily traffic wasn't so bad on the way home.
Next race in the snow is at night on February 7th. These races are really low key and a lot of fun. Hope some of you can join us for the next one! Link and info on the right sidebar of my blog.