Cruise the Blues 2009 is in the books. It was another Epic year on the farm. 178 racers made there way out to somewhere east of Tipton, Kansas to the Palen family homestead, to take on their choice of the 6 mile joy course or the 13 mile glory course. My racing partner this year was Travis, who was this time leading us off at the start of the race. We gathered in the cow pins with our respective class racers and a local boy sang the Star Spangled Banner acapella while we watched a small flag blowing in the Kansas breeze, it was a pretty surreal moment, and I am pretty sure that I was not the only one who looked around at the sight and thought, "only in America."
Travis turned in a sold 56 minute lap and put me out on course third after Mike Marchand and my Dad just ahead. I caught my Dad in the opening trees and caught Mike a few miles later. I pulled away from Mike in the trees but he would flit back up to me out in the open fields. Travis did another 56 and put me back out still in the lead and growing. Always at this race I can never breath on the first lap and on the second lap I felt much better. I was not going much faster but I felt a lot better doing it. That lap ended up the fastest of the race at 52:34 and I was told was a new course record. Travis once again went out and did another 56 to finish his shift. I went into my third lap feeling good and ready to bust out my last one, then it went south. I was about to the U-turn in the first creek section when I called out to a buddy I was coming up behind and then clipped my handlebar on a tree, jerked the bar sideways and I hit the tree, then I hit the ground hard. It all happened really fast and I was more than a little stunned. I quickly took inventory and everything checked out to be in rideable shape, just knocked a little sideways in a few places. I was OK but the inside of my leg took a pretty good shot and it was painful to keep on. I rode hard on, but with a couple miles to go the leg I hit was cramping and I had to slow down and pedal with one leg some. I finally got in and we hung on to win, but it was not how I wanted to finish it up, and boy have a been sore since Saturday.
Travis and I were joined by our wives who raced in the glory class as well and rode quite well to finish second in their race. We danced and enjoyed ourselves at the after party and limped back over to Beloit, Kansas to stay the night and begin recovering.
Don't any of you miss this race, it is just plain cool.