It's almost Wednesday, but last weekend was awesome!

Just got back from a great ride on the Caffeine but my "blog life" is still living in the past...

Last weekend I went down to the last of the Iowa Spring Classic road races.  This time I carpooled with Brady Prenzlow and Fred Mills so we had a bit of a "carpool teammates" or "team minnesota" thing going on for the race.  We also had plans to spend the night in Des Moines and take in the night life.

Right off the bat I got over to Albert Lea and realized my bike didn't have a chain on it!   Luckily the race didn't start until noon and I was able to find a replacement without wasting too much time. 

This course was primarily gravel with a longish paved climb after a quick paved gradual downhill/downwind section.  Most of the gravel consisted of constant rollers and the wind made the 'back half' of the course the tough half.  Most of the same guys I've been racing with since CIRREM were in attendance.  I knew I'd felt strong two weeks prior and also that having two friends in the race might help.  Things should have been looking up, but I felt absolutely terrible.  I had fallen hard on Thursday night on pavement and various parts of my body were sore.  I still can't take a full deep breath without pain.  I warmed up hard figuring that most of those issues would go away after I loosened things up.

Almost immediately Fred took off on a solo break up the first hill.  Then Brady flatted out of the race.  The main group caught Fred about 3 miles in after he hit a spot with soft gravel and wasn't sure he was on the right road.  There were a couple other early attacks that were covered quickly.  Somehow Jerome Rewerts snuck away from everyone by himself.  I don't remember why I didn't react, but I definitely figured there were enough people with the "orange guys", Fred and myself to pull him back despite the decent gap that he was forming.  I figured it was super early and windy.  I took a couple turns with William Rekemeyer at the front as we went down the downwind rollers and when I looked over my shoulder it was only Kevin Tempel and Lane with us.   Now it looked like Lane was in a great position with his team mate way up the road and somewhat of a free ride from the rest of us.  I didn't know what had happened to Fred. 

Near the end of lap 2 a small group led by Fred was able to catch the four in my chase group.  He had pulled two guys from the orange team and Steve Robinson up with him.  I made the decision to hit the gas before they all got a chance to recover.  The group split again with just Rekemeyer and Lane with me in the first chase group.  Now things were looking almost exactly like CIRREM, except with Lane and Jerome in opposite positions.  I wasn't super excited about it, but hoped to play my cards better.  We soldiered on after Jerome with Lane doing very little of the work.  At some point I started to feel like Lane was pushing me a bit with some attacks right after my pulls at the front.  I tried to drop him on the paved hill and Rekemeyer and I got at least a hundred yard gap, but he somehow closed it.  Lots of random shenanigans ensued which ultimately allowed Rekemeyer to get away at the start/finish with 1 lap to go and left neither Lane or I with enough strength to catch him.  It was my mistake to focus too much on Lane and it definitely hurt my entire last lap effort.

Fred had dropped back a couple of minutes behind riding with Kevin but had eventually been forced to give solo chase.  He is STRONG.  He caught Lane with about half a lap to go while we were trying to chase Rekemeyer and basically blew right through us.  I tried to stand and hammer up one of the rollers on a different line than previously and got all bogged down in soft gravel, thought both Lane and Fred were gone!  Did wind up passing Lane before the finish and pulling a bit back on Fred for 4th.

This was a good race for me!  Jerome's and Fred's solo efforts were both pretty incredible in their own rights and Rekemeyer made  really ballsy move to solo that entire last lap for 2nd. 

Felt bad for Brady.  He would have been right in there and he had to listen to Fred and I talking about the race the whole rest of the weekend!

What a weekend it was too!  Brady had set up all the details and things were well thought out.  We had tickets to Arena Football and a great hotel within walking distance of the whole of downtown Des Moines.  I had a great time Saturday night.

Sunday we had a long drive back home and a ride with just the three of us.  It started out super super fast, but eventually we all simultaneously decided to end that!   A major throw down after our Saturday racing and evening activities was just not a good idea!  Plus, we all have different strenghts, so any scoring of who is the "strongest" will have to be another day (or by looking at past results-  hint, I'm not the fastest!).  As it was we rode about 38 miles in two hours on a pretty flat route with high winds at mostly a "recovery" type effort.

I've got plans for as much mountain biking as possible over the next week or so.  Maybe not the best way to prepare for the Ragnarok, but it's time to start thinking ahead.  I need to get on the 29ers and work on handlind skills if I want to go as fast as I should in XC.  I've got to hope I've already got the endurance base and "pop" all built up.  It's too late now anyways.

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