Sunday, February 08, 2009

First race of the season is in the bag

Yesterday was the 2nd annual Lake Orion High School winter race that I help to coordinate. With all the snow we have had this year the school grounds crew and myself put a lot of time into trying to get the course ridable by plowing, compacting, and snow blowing as much of the 3.2 mile course as possible. The day before the race it was about 98% there. But the almost 50 degree temperature at race time undid most of what we had accomplished.

It became apparent on my preride that the course was quickly breaking down and would be difficult to ride. I made a decision to reduce the number of laps since this was supposed to be a fun race, not a death march. Although by the second lap I was thinking it was more of the latter. There were very few stretches of the trail that were ridable so the laps turned into 2.5 mile jogs. Some sections were better on the second lap, some were worse.

At the start our group headed up the school driveway and out on to the course. We immediately cam to the signature feature, the ride down the sledding hill. Unlike the day before it was now very soft so that we pretty much ran and slid down the hill to the next section of trail. It too was soft and we formed a line of runners pushing bikes. At times we would hop on only to ride about 100 feet and have to get off again.

Fairly early on four of us managed to separate ourselves from the rest of the field but by the end of the first lap two of the riders managed to get a small lead on myself an another rider. I raced most of the race with the other guy and we stayed together until I started to tire from running and fell back. I could tell I was tired because I would jump on the bike to try and ride and then fall over in the deep snow.

As it was, I finished 4th overall and not too far back. My calves are sore from the run and my back also from the pushing. Biking shoes are definitely not designed for running any great distance.

The attendance at this year's race was higher than last year and everyone seemed to have a good time despite the conditions. It was a chance to break the cabin fever and enjoy being back on a bike outdoors, no matter how much we were actually able to pedal.

We have a spring series of races at the school in May and the fall race is scheduled again for October. Hopefully we have good weather for a change.

Below are some more shots of the family in Spokane.

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