|Ready for Triple D, but was I?|
As I said, my family and I all traveled to Dubuque where we spent Saturday at the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. I was duly impressed with several things I saw there, but I won't go into that only to say it is well worth a visit if ever you get there.
Saturday afternoon, my good friend MG was to be in town, but he got there by around noon, and when I found out, we conspired to get a ride in together. Eventually, after all the family things and after running some errands for race supplies, we met up. About 4:15pm, I went back to my room with the plan to get kitted up and hit some of the opening trail of Triple D.
As I scanned my room, I couldn't find a small bag that contained at least half of my clothing for the race. I finally figured out that I had left it at home! It was 4:30pm, and the bike shop closed at5:00pm! Yikes! I texted MG that we were going on an emergency mission to find me some race gear. Well, my wonderful wife said, "Get what you need. Consider it an early birthday present." So I got a North Face base layer set up of a long sleeved shirt and long underwear. I also got some Bontrager tights to go over that. My other bag had my coats, hats, gloves, and tops, so I had everything else I needed. We got it all paid for and we were outta there by 4:50pm. In the end, it was good that I had planned that ride with MG, otherwise my race would have been sunk!
I missed riding with MG, but I did get kitted up in my new stuff and tested it out on a short, half an hour or so ride just to see if everything felt okay. So, a bit of an unknown quantity going into the event was added to the unknown of my health going in.
|Michael Lemberger jonesin' on a Surly Special Ops Pug|
|Event director, Lance Andre|
Anyway, we take the start line at 10am and slow roll to a starting point behind some industrial place which gets us out in the woods and off city streets right away. I take my place near the back of the pack since I had no idea how my body was going to react once the heat was on and I was stressing my body again after the long layoff. Of course, this made the entry into the tight, technical single track a dance of ride some, get off your bike and push some. It was also apparent that the snow was not as "set up" as I had hoped, but it was not bad at this point. Had I been out there alone, the trail may have been more rideable, but with the on again-off again it was hard to get a rhythm going. This led eventually to my first header, which was a classic "lawn dart". I actually had to pull my helmet out of the snow bank with some effort! Subsequently I had packed in snow dripping off my helmet for several hours afterward, but it wasn't bothersome at all.
|Waiting near the back to get going on Triple D- In other words, the "real start line" was here!|
|At this point you leave the city proper and head out into the country.|
|Looking back from the same spot as above.|
The technical section finally ends as you get dumped out into a bike path, and this had a lot of drifted snow. Finding the right line was critical, and I did okay though here.
Eventually the course dumps you out onto the back yard of a large warehouse looking place and out into the countryside. A long downhill punctuated by a steep drop in and an overpass that you go under leads you into a dairy farmers yard, and one of the coolest parts of the course, to my mind.
At this point in the event, things are really strung out as far as the riders go. Lots of spaces exist between you and others, and generally speaking, you are essentially out there on your own with the occasional pass or getting passed thing going on. Conditions were bright and sunny with temperatures headed toward the freezing mark quickly, but the trail surface wasn't too bad yet at this point. I don't recall having a lot of issues riding through this section of the event.
|Super-bright sun and excellent farmland views|
|Riders get pretty strung out by this point in the event.|
Next: Up, Down, and Post Holing