Two Weekends ago…..Altoona-Big Creek, Iowa

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A couple of us went up to Iowa last weekend for two road race. The Big Creek Road Race and Altoona Road Race. Saturday it was just Bill and I. Sunday Shad came up to join us.

Saturday the course was rolling hills and pretty windy. 80 + miles. But, the main problem for me was the burning they were doing around the course. We left Kansas because of the burning they are doing of the fields around here. But, a few of the farmers were clearing the underbrush from the fence lines or something, There was smoke on most of the sides of the course. I’d bet it didn’t even bother most of the riders, but it kills me. Completely shuts my lungs down afterwards.

Anyway, the race on Saturday went picture perfect. After 30 or so miles, Bill and I went up a hill in the sidewind and got it down to 5. This group rotated until one guy flatted. We were planning to wait, but he got the slowest wheel change ever.

Then it was down to two Kaos Nebraska guys and us. I could tell they were kind of wasted. Bill said he knew it was over when they said something like how much they hated trainers. Like, they’d been riding trainers as recently as the day before. We’d all been pulling consistently, so I felt obligated to ask them if they wanted to concede. They might not of understood, but it sounded like they wanted to race. It hardly took an attack to loose them. I’d won the last couple weekends, so it was Bill’s turn. We felt pretty good about the riding. It was a good long day. Until, one of the Nebraska guys came up and said that today had been the first ride he had done in a group this year. Not to mention, first race. They rode crazy good for that scenario.

Sunday was cold and blustery. 5 mile loop. No hills. After a lap I realized the course wasn’t hard enough to do much damage to anybody. It is kind of weird showing up at a race and being disappointed that the course or the conditions don’t allow natural selection to happen. That was going to be the case here.

The problem for us was that the hard gutter riding section was on the side with the wind from the right. That meant echeloning to the centerline. And we all know how that goes. Here’s a website ( link-Big Creek ) that probably explains the situation better than I can. I’m not too big on the centerline rule. Personally, most of the races that I do that enforce the centerline don’t need to enforce it. This one probably did because this section went up a blind hill.

Anyway, after the race during into a interval session with us attacking and everyone else chasing, I finally got off the front with Sean Walker. He was going pretty good for April and the cruddy winter Iowa has experienced. We pulled pretty evenly for the last 15 miles, but I had more juice at the end and won. He said that he was concentrating on collecting Iowa Series points. I’m not sure what that entails, but hopefully he can cash them in and get a stuffed animal or something at the end of the series. I’d go to more NRC Calender races if they had that incentive.