So after a brief visit to Chicago for the Paralympic Ambassador Program training, I was back to Rossland for some more biking. And biking I have. I did a little pedal before Jim got off work and then went on to ride Greendoor which goes from Rossland down to Warfield. That is the little trail that is usually the exit from a multitude of trails that we have done. On Thursday we did two rides with car drops, thank you Kim, that were fun and exciting. The first one was the ride that Jim took me on the first ride that I did prior to Chicago. I was excited to ride that one again seeing how much trouble I had on it the first time. I rocked it, comparatively, only unclipping twice to get around obstacles which the first time I walked down a couple of section and avoided some sections altogether taking the service road to squirt around. The second ride was another car drop on Tamarack, Drakes, and Doukhobor Draw. So in simple terms this is how those all come together with out drawing a map for you. Start with a short but steep climb with some sketch rock faces where you are riding the side of the rock and not just rolling over the top of. After a bit of that mixed in with some unpleasant but needed walking we dropped to the top of Doukhobor Draw (a.k.a. “The Draw”). Bit of the way into The Draw we run into Drakes and ride/pedal/walk about half of that. On Drakes you don’t really gain or lose elevation but you do end up climbing a lot of steep bit and for some reason or another I would find myself having to push/walk the bike up. On the return trip on Drakes, back to The Draw, the ride is fun with a bit easier time keeping up momentum for the smaller less steep climbs to gain the back the elevation drops. Once back on The Draw we ride to the drop car which is down the highway on the way back to the States. After all of that riding I get to celebrate Canada Day, equivalent to Independence Day, by going to Trail to watch the fireworks over the river with the smelting plant as the illuminated backdrop.
Today we did the pedal up the hill to the viewing point. In theory, which we got a touch of, you can see Rossland all the way to Trail and see up and down a bit of the Columbia River. Today however it was raining. Not just a slight sprinkle oh my hair is getting wet, no, no. A full on down pour where I was able to make the comment, “All of the hair product I put in last night taste awful.” because I was basically taking a shower. Yum Yum. The ride turned out to be really fun though. Jim did some exploring with me in tow down a trail called Pale Ale, only having to walk a small bit that was just to technical in the rain. After that we got back to Milky Way which led us to Cemetery, then across the highway to Bones, which put us at the Wagon Road. Out of all of the I think we got the wettest on Bones due to all of the tall grass and bushes that would spray you with water as your handle bars and arms passed through. Wagon road was fun with the open lane but still rocky, I was able to go faster then on the single track but still let the rear wheel skim across the lose dirt and rock. For the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful except for the superman Jim did on to the pavement. Good news is that he has just a couple bumps and scrapes, no stitches required.
Today we are attempting a triple ride, the backside of Dewdney, then the frontside of Dewdney, and finished with a Tamarack into Doukhobor Draw. The clouds are still out but no rain yet. Today is a bunch descending and fast riding. I am very much looking forward to this last day of riding but also am sad ecause it is the last day of riding.
Day one in Rossland was a blast. I went and picked up the bike, one that actually fits me, figured out how the new pedals worked, and proceeded up the mountain. The first ride is always a little bit crazy, trying to remember where my feet, which normally is foot, are supposed to be when turning different direction, when to sit back down, how to move the bike under me, and overcoming the constant fear of going over the handle bars. We rode down bits that I wasn’t quite ready for but made it down in one piece. I crashed once that shook me up a little but was back on the bike in no time. I am 50/50 at clipping my right foot into the pedal, most of the time Jim just comes and does it to get out of mosquito fields quicker. After a bit of lunch today we are going to do a second ride just up the rode from the house. I am having a blast and look forward to the rides after my quick trip to Chi town.
So this is the first post for me at the US Paralympic Road Cycling Nationals. I am living with 10 teammates and one stranger. The teammates are; Anthony, Matt, Greta, Meg, Clark, Dave, Will, Aaron, Mike, and Sam (well Sam is technically sleeping in his Mercedes Benz Sprinter van out side with his wife and daughter). The stranger is Matt’s roommate Brandon and a fellow cyclist. We are staying in a house at the top of the hill and about a mile away from where the racing is. Yesterday was the road race, today is the crit race, and tomorrow is the time trial which is also the qualifying event for road worlds.
So far everything is all dandy. I am have a good time with everybody. The conversations are good and social. The stress environment is actually lower then I expected considering that all of the guys are competing against each other for the five spots on the worlds team. We are also being supported by Sarah, Sam’s wife. With all of her mothering instincts she has assumed the role as Den Mother for everybody. When Greta announced that she was going to Costco, Sarah immediately asked if she could join her. She enjoys it and feels no burden doing all of the kitchen work. Which makes it way easier for racing without that burden.
The road race was fun. I did not race it the way that I had intended. Knowing that the most important race is the time trial I had no intention of riding hard. So as we roll off the line, we being the men’s and women’s C3-1, a total of eight of us. The group was rolling very causally with no plans to go any fast until towards the end. On the first series of hills I noticed that my competition was already breathing hard. From the advice that I had gotten from everybody else was at the top of the hill do a fifteen second effort and then a steady pace for three minutes or until I was caught. After evaluating the situation I decided to do this on the first lap, first of a planned eight, to shake things up. Well I went and I didn’t see anybody until the last lap, which was reduced to six. At the half way point of the first lap I was fifteen seconds ahead, at the second lap I was one minute ahead, at the third lap I was two minutes ahead. I was super happy and felt really good. It did help that the men in the group realized that I wasn’t in their race so they didn’t chase me down and left that up to the competitor that actually was. Needless to say I won the race. Respectively Sam, Greta, Dave and Clark, and Mike all won their races.
For the crit today I do not know what the strategy will be but I will have fun none the less.
So the weather here in Colorado Springs is always a guess. I never enjoy riding the rollers for extended periods of time, but I don’t like getting all that wet either. So which do I choose? I think I am going with the procrastinating hope that the weather will change and I will be able ride outside… I really don’t believe that will happen but I am going to hope. I am also going to wait until the soccer game is over and the US has won. I guess this rain is a blessing so that I can watch the soccer game.
I did get to enjoy the awesomeness of Colorado’s weather. The other night I sat up on a rock wall on Gold Camp Road and watched a huge electrical storm that was hanging out east. I couldn’t hear the thunder but I could only image what it was like with all of the lightning going off. The evening was absolutely gorgeous, warm and a good show.
Wow! All I have to say is Wow! I am happy to be having fun. Got to go to the ball park yesterday. Today I worked on finishing up my website, putting the final touch onto my cycling jerseys, and keeping my life going has been a full-time job and I am glad to have that as my job.
So for tonight I am going to be watching my teammate and his debut to Colorado Springs evening racing at the Velodrome.