Monday, October 13, 2008

Burning in the Bluff

What a sweet weekend. I have been looking forward to this for a long time and am not disappointed at all on Monday morning. Craig Stoeltzing, Myself, and Graham Aldredge were the posse that headed over to Council Bluffs Lake for the Burning in the Bluffs 12 hour race. We had a full load in Craig's Honda wagon. But it went like a champ the whole trip. We arrived early morning on Saturday and crawled into the tent at 12:30 or so. Perfect camping weather was lending itself to some top notch sleep until the craziest music you ever heard came on over the loud speakers at 7:00. We decided later it was some kind of Jazz, Folk, Mexican Circus music hybrid that I would have thought was in my dreams if the others would not have confirmed it to be real. We pulled ourselves together and went and stood in line to get marked and pick up our timing chips. It was at this point I caught my first ever real life glimpse of the 2009 S-Works Epic, sick sick sick. This will be my 09 race bike.

I had first lap duties and I was feeling pretty good about it. It was going to be a short dash to the bikes and then we were on and rocketing downhill. Craig caught this sweet picture of me emerging from the smoke bomb someone had lit in the middle of the bikes. I love these races.
The first lap was going well. I moved from 5th into the singletrack up to the leader and we were putting massive time on everyone. I was climbing strong and waiting for the last mile long climb to attack up to the first transition. Between mile 8 and 9 disaster struck when I sliced my tire on a rock. The copious amounts of Stans wouldn't seal it, my CO2 dispenser was squirting air everywhere but into my tube. Finally a passing racer lent me his and I got rolling again. I was pretty bummed when I came in. Graham and Craig both pulled their weight with solid laps.

I was ready to throw down on my second lap. I had traded in my 29er for the Epic we had brought along as a back up bike. I crushed for about 11 miles and then I imploded. I crept in the final miles resigned that I was not going to bring us back and to enjoy riding the rest of the day. From there on out it was all fun with all of the team turning solid laps and basking in the beautiful weather. My third lap was fine, not fast but I had a great time and at least kept everything moving at a reasonable pace. The race for 1st place was intense with the top two teams so close lap after lap. I was trying not to think about how much fun it would have been to be mixing it up in that. All of us had Super Duper night laps. I simply could not have enjoyed mine more, and I found Craig feeling the same way when I came back. Graham did our last lap and he was a champ storming around the lake with a solid time and reeling in a few minutes on the teams ahead of us. He is one tough 17 year old. The days work was still good for a podium finish and warm fuzzies around the camp fire.

Racing all day and then crawling back into the tent without showering only to get up and ride some more the next morning is a pretty unique feeling. That is what the agenda called for and is what we did. The famous Dan Firman of Rolla, MO was our guide for a wonderful jaunt on the middle fork section of the Ozark trail. We rode for an hour of spectacular Ozark woods riding before turning around to do it back in the other direction. We made a dirt road detour half way back that turned out to be perfectly lovely riding beside babbling brooks, green pastures, and happy horses. All the elements of a turn of the century novel.

Dan and Craig lead the way down the idyllic road. Soon after this picture we would be eating cheese burgers and fries.


Davey B said...

Good to have you guys there, Cam. Now you know the course and will defintely be mixing it up next year...


AaronE. said...

this is right up your alley.