Bayfield, Gill-net-tugs and the ROY/State Fair Crit

It was 58 and raining yesterday morning in Ironwood.  The plan was to do some touristing and check out the sights while taking the northern route back through Bayfield etc. on my way to the State Fair Affair Crit.  I knew I'd be tired for the race, but it was a Rider of the Year contest and so long as I'm going to be a '3' for the year I figure I may as well make those events.  They tend to have the highest level of competition of the '3' races and the contest gives a bit of extra incentive. I think it's also really good to push myself 'too' hard and race as much as possible while I can.  It's all miles toward being better in the future.

This is just north of Red Cliff/Bayfield-

 I sort of wish my job were to drive one of these around!

If you've followed me for long you know I'm fascinated by gillnet tugs and the history of great lakes fishing etc..  I was very excited to find all of this-

 and these two boats in active use!

After Duluth things started to change quickly.  The temperature was rising about 1 degree per 4-5 miles driven south.  Within about an hour it went from 61 to 92 degrees.  I started to be thankful that I was only racing a "short" 40 minute criterium.

I wanted to race smart and maximize energy expenditures and told myself to stay out of breaks and games as much as possible.  However, the masters guys were also racing with us and the Skarpol/Flanders duo were doing some things early and I recognized that I better pay attention and consider the huge advantage that might be available to someone who got away with one or both of them...  I put in some relatively big efforts to try to position for that but wound up totally missing the real move of Skarpol and Montesano.  At that point I was racing for 2nd in my race/3rd overall.  Lots of medium paced laps where no one wanted to work hard.  Spent more time on my hoods in this race than in any other crit I can remember!  With two laps to go I was feeling good, with half a lap to go I was feeling good and in OK position, at the bottom of the sprint I was feeling good and in great position but when I stood to sprint my legs just hurt.  I wound up fifth in the 3s.  I think that was a very good result and I think it's a good sign that I was able to do it without my normal sprint as I hope that means I'm getting a feel for positioning etc. at the end of the races.  I believe I am now tied for the rider of the year competition with a rider who has been in all 3 races to my just two.  I'm not sure I'll make all the rest of the relevent races but I hope to.  Next crit will be the State Championship which is looking like another double for me-  this time with the 3 race coming earlier in the day than the 1/2/3.

I feel a bit rushed today trying to get everything cleaned up, switched over, cleaned up etc. in order to head up the Cheq 62 Friday morning, but I'm sure it will be well worth the effort!

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