Monday, September 19, 2005
Well, another Chequamegon comes and goes. I am getting closer to that podium. This time I missed it by under a 10th of a second. Heck, I missed the win by 1.9 seconds. The race split up as I had expected with a group getting away that contained just about everyone that I expected to be there. Steve Tilford, Doug Swanson, Jeff Hall, Brian Matter, Tristan Schouten, A.J. Ettmayer, and the Eppens. Look behind me in this picture......yep, that is the Eppens climbing Firetower on the tandem. Anway, Doug and Tilford did spend a lot of time on the front early on and I joined them halfway through. Ten miles in I heard some metallic noise in the rear of the bike and I knew something was not cool. Bill Stolte pointed out that a spoke was broke and sure enough it was. It was broken right in the middle on the drive side of the rear wheel. It would dangle behind the cassette while I was pedalling and then lodge up behind the cassette when I hit the freewheel.....which deactivated my freewheel for the whole race. I had now had a geared track bike. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Top it off with a out-of-true wheel dragging on the brakes for 30 miles. Oh, my luck. I had absolutely no brake pad remaining on the right side of the brake after the race. It was down to the carrier. Still, I felt strong and as long as the wheel didn't get worse I would keep pushing it through. The tandem was here and there and I felt that we had to ride strong to hold them off. We could not give them any sizeable gap. This race ended up coming down to a race of minds as I expected it to. Doug proved to have the top mind. I think I has the top power. Tristan and I got to duking it out for the sprint. Once I got around him (slightly) I looked back to the line only to see a tire sneak by on my left. "Oh A.J !" Dammit. So I missed the podium again but atleast someone I knew well won. I won my age group again. I must be getting old.....er. I would much rather see Doug win than anyone else in the group besides myself. No offense guys. It was cool to sit back with 5-miles to go and look at the guys I was with. Here they all were. The powerhouses of the Midwest. Each and everyone of them capable of winning the race. Pretty damn cool group of guys. While people say there is always next year I have to first forget about this one. I felt incredible through-out the entire race and my power was spot on minus the wheel drag. I was having fun and that pretty much is the key to success in this sport. It is always a great race. Check out more photos at www.skinnyski.com. Great ride to Doug Swanson, Steve Tilford, AJ. Ettmayer, Tristan Schouten, Jeff Hall, Brian Matter, Brian and Kim Eppen, Bill Stolte, and everyone else at the Penn Cycle encampment. Anne Grabowski for killing it in the Short and Fat.