|Hot Papa Calhoun!|
We arrived at the Eagle Ridge Resort in Lutsen Friday afternoon and immediately I loved the atmosphere, so casual and laid back with a nice touch of energy...kind of like sitting in a coffee shop listening to someone play their guitar...chill. We grabbed dinner on the patio, I even had a couple lucky pre-race Corona's and was so excited about the fact that I wasn't nervous for this race at all...I was just excited for fun day...and I suppose my expectations were minimal.
|Pre Race chillin'|
Race morning came quickly and soon enough I was trying figure out what was a proper place for me to position myself in the corral. This actually involved me checking to see if any women were ahead of me and if so inching my way forward. The star spangled banner was played, and a rifle was shot! We were off! Since the race was downhill they had a van in front keeping the race speed under 20 mph...Which was fine and I actually appreciated a chance to warm up the legs. People were chatty in the pack and I loved how everyone was just out here to "have fun!" About 5 miles in we took a left and started a climb that I swear would never end. They call this a category 3 climb, but I’m not even sure what the means...let’s just say it kept climbing and climbing and climbing...probably like 3 miles worth of it. During this section I was passed by a gal in the 39er and I just couldn't get my legs to go with her. I stared at her blue jersey 200 yards off into the distance and then she was gone! The next 20 miles or so are pretty blurry and involved some tar, gravel roads grass, big rocks in the swamps...yes full on 2 feet of water pits. I was nervous at the first swampy pit and after making it through I was ecstatic! "This is so much fun" muddy water was flying up even into the back of my bike shorts…it was wild! During this section I was riding with about 10-12 guys and some were actually telling me they would help me catch the gal in first. What a nice change of pace from the guy you pass in a tri that can't believe he is getting beat by a girl! I found myself really enjoying the pack riding way more than I expected and couldn't believe the advantage you can get riding in a pack.
Post Race...I was Smashed!