It is time once again to make the trek up to the Hayward/Cable/Telemark area for the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. The last few years have left me with 7th, 4th, and 4th again. I also learned how to spell Chequamegon. Once you learn to spell that you earn veteran status.
This year should be a little bit different with the apparent notice that Jermiah Bishop, JHK, and T-Brown will make appearances in the northwoods of Wisconsin. The "Trek Family" should be very well represented by their big guns. And women, you get Heather Erminger and Willow Koerber. Your race will be a hot one too.
So what does that mean for someone like me when the hired guns are coming to shake up the race? Not sure. The last few weeks were intensive training. I actually blew myself out in my interval week and got sick. I just shook that off a couple of days ago so I am hoping the old recovery system is working full blast. I jacked up my back pretty good and have been working on that for a couple of weeks with little success. Damn folks, I must be getting old. I need a OCLV 110 Carbon Fiber walking stick. One of two things will happen Saturday. You have a stellar race with the big guys or everything falls into the crapper. Hey, that is racing in a nutshell. I am still putting it on the line whether my body wants it or not. My bike, that I thought was fixed, has just changed the location of the problem. Instead of slipping off the middle ring under load it now slips off on the big ring. I went out to do some hard intervals yesterday on it and "pop, pop, pop!" Devils Head and the local trail don't require the hammer on the big ring so I had no idea until yesterday. Nothing I can do about it at this point so we play it and ride it as is. Of course, Chequamegon= Big ring.
I thought about putting the old 24-34-46 XTR on but how often do you really catch yourself in the 46-11? You are more likely in the 46-12 and at that point a 44-11 runs bigger.
Besides the guys above you have to factor in Hall, AJ, Tristan, Dougo, Simonsen, TJ, Matter, The Eppens Express, Phillips, Kelly, and the unexpected hammer from-out-of-nowhere. And then there are the unavoidables: Flats, sticks, flying rocks destroying parts (my rear spoke last year leaving me fixed and with brake rub), and the whole other list of things that can go wrong. Simply put, get a flat and you now can safely stop for donut holes. You are easily out of the race. You can still manage a fair spot. I had a 25th place four years ago after a flat but I am not here to place 25th.
Anyway, best of luck to you all whether you are just riding it or racing for my place. It is Chequamegon and that means a damn fun time of the year. The racing is competitive but the staggering intoxicated cyclists at the back of the awards cermony that night is one of the many laughs to be had. Safe rides and have a great race. See you all up there! -Ian