Wow what a team turn out! 10 racers total for the 5th USAC race of the year at Ruby Campground just west of Port Huron. The course lap is about 5 miles long but throws everything at you. Steep long climbs, long deep water crossings (30 feet long), a lot of bridge work along with some great tight sections. Sounds fun doesn't it? Well try doing it while it is raining. Yep, another USAC race and more rain. Most people ran the water crossings because the water was over the knees this year and the current was crazy. The climbs were even harder than normal due to traction conditions be low. Lots of clay on this course.
For Jeff, Heather, Dawn and myself conditions were the worse. We had heard of riders trying to pre ride certain section and crashing in the process. It was raining when we were at the starting line so the whole first lap everyone spent learning. It wasn't until the 4th lap that I noticed a traction difference. I have never had to run my bike so far in a 20 mile ride before. The steep parts of the climbs seemed to hook up great but it was the switchbacks that made you dismount, put the bike on the shoulder and start running. After the first lap you knew exactly where you had to dismount. On lap 3 and 4 I dipped my bike in the water as I ran across just to wash off the brakes and derailluer. This by far beat out the mudfest we raced last year at Maybury.
Luckily for the Sport and Beginner classes the rain had stopped earlier and the sun was out so the course was drying. Riders were still running up hills and sliding back down them but at least the flats were dry and they were able to carve the single track more then us.
My family and I stuck around to cheer everyone one and also to be available to help with anything needed. I am pleased to say that even with the amount of crashes we had....me included.... we had no major injuries and everyone finished at least one lap. It was a tough day to race and it was great to see that we had such a big turn out of team riders and the level of determination was huge. Even being sick Jeff showed up to race and braved the conditions. Darlene gave it a shot and completed a lap. Pretty ballzy for only being her second actual race. The brat pack of Amber, Scotty and Alex all rode strong and showed what the future of Team Signoutfitters.com is all about. Despite a few minor incidents Mike and Gerry rode some consistent laps. Heather and Dawn did their normal damage to themselves and their class standings. Me, I was in my normal attack mode and did what I could with the conditions I had.
Here are the official results:
4 lap Racers:
Heather "Hollywood" Patterson - 2:39:08 - 3rd place Women's Expert/Elite
Dawn "U-Dog" Nicholas - 2:24:39 - 2nd place Women's Expert/Elite
Jeff "Sick-Boy" Socia - 2:19:29 - 11th place Men's Expert 30-39
Aryn "Nicknameless" Pongratz - 2:06:22 - 7th palce Men's Expert 30-39
3 Lap Racers:
Scotty "How's my Hair" Smiddy - 1:40:56 - 4th place Men's Sport 15-18
Alex "The Kid" Lanstra - 1:46:41 - 6th place Men's Sport 15-18
Mike "Tree Hugger" Keysaer - 1:48:14 - 9th place Men's Sport 30-34
Gerry "Where my Beer" Heath - 1:46:40 - 6th place Men's Sort 40-49
2 Lap Racer (Turned 1):
Darlene "Where's the damn finish line" Herrick - 1:07:37 - 3rd place Women's Beginner 30+.
1 Lap Racer:
Amber "Amber Alert" Smiddy - 45:03 - 1st place Women's Beginner 14 and Under.
A few others I'd like to mention:
Todd Powers from Team Sandbag. 3rd place Men's Expert 30-39 with a time of 2:00:32. Todd rode a rock solid race to put himself on the podium of his home course. It was great to see him up there, he rode hard for it and has worked hard all season to make that happen. Only two other riders in the entire Expert Division posted faster times than him.....that's something to writ home about. Great work Todd!!!
Just like old times Brad Lako and I were out there on lap 2 and 3 battling for position. Brad did some great riding and his trail sense and bike handling abilities really shined Sunday. Even after I managed to pass him he keep the pressure on really hard thru the rest of the race. We have been at it for three years now and it's always good to see him at the starting line.
Last, big props to Team Sandbag for hosting a great race. Thanks for all the hard work getting the trail ready. These guys and girls are top shelf, a great team to hang out with and do a great job hosting an event.
Good job to everyone who raced and A HUGE THANK YOU to our supporting cast on the side lines. The cheering section and race support is always a big lift for the racers when we are out there suffering.
Next stop, this Sunday for the Stony Creek Time Trial. Get out those road legs people. It's going to be high speed fun on the dirt this weekend.
Keep your determination high and your head down (you'll be more aero that way)