This weekend was my first cyclocross race and it was at my favorite course up in Sandpoint. This year the Team Autism folks built it up into a very challenging course. There's a set of stair steps spaced about 15 feet apart consisting of buried railroad ties. This is on a slight uphill grade. Directly after the steps were the barriers. Not the best place for barriers so most of us were in for a long run. The run up had two levels to it. The first is rideable although I couldn't on the single speed. And the second level is steep. A new addition to the course is a LASR (pronounced lay-zer), which, in this case, is the opposite of the speed of light. A Long-Ass Sand Run. Of course, for the elite athletes it was a Long-Ass Sand Ride. It's about 100 feet of soft sand. And there was a double barrier of logs to get over. This course kept you honest.
As usual, I entered the single speed and 50+ races. I got all six laps in on the single speed. The wind was blowing fiercely, making some of the straightaways slower or faster depending on the direction you were going. And it made the sandpit area more like a sandstorm at times.
I worked on technique and finding good lines. The ground was getting soft in many places especially later in the day. One thing I was confident about was my ability to jump over the logs. I'm thrilled to report that I cleared the double logs on each of the eleven laps in my races. A couple times I was able to pass someone because they either dismounted or slowed down to ride over the logs. They still caught and passed me later on but small victories, right?
The 40+ and 50+ masters raced together. I was a little tired from my earlier race but I was still able to ride hard. But not quite hard enough. The 40+ leaders caught me on their last lap, which made my fifth lap my last. One thing that didn't help my time was my stopping at the halfway point in the sand pit and accepting the beer that was being handed up. I was their best customer! And to top it off someone handed me a can of beer just before the finish line.
The Wild West CX Series medals are pretty cool. The medal for each race location consists of part of the shield logo. So if you medal in every location you can put the pieces together and make a complete shield. Since the only way I end up on the podium is if there are less than four people racing in my category I'm focusing on having fun and staying fit.
Kathy and I had a great time hiking in north Idaho over the weekend. On Saturday we hiked the Lakeshore Trail on the west side of Priest Lake. The terrain was easy and we got about 12 miles in. We spent the night in a cabin at Priest Lake State Park. We were pretty tired and hit the sack at 8:00 pm. Although we both woke up several times during the night, we crashed hard in the morning and got up at 7:30. I have no idea when the last time was that I spent 11-1/2 hours in bed.
Today we drove on some forest service roads on the east side of Priest Lake to hike towards Chimney Rock. The directions said the last .8 mile was steep and rough. They shouldn't sell it so short. It was effin rough with a capital effen "F". The steepness wasn't so bad. It was trying to get over all the berms. With a couple hundred yards to go we had to give up trying to get to the trailhead. I did a zillion point turn around and abandoned the Highlander on the widest part of the road.
I'm the king of the world!
The views from up top were awesome. The hiking today was shorter than yesterday but the terrain was much more challenging. Kathy liked the view from the heights better than the walk in the woods. I concur.
Back in May of 2013 I sprained my ankle something fierce. I couldn't run for four months. Since then my running has been hit and miss. I'd run three miles and my ankle would be sore for days. I couldn't run barefoot because my form was off so much I'd develop a blister on each foot within two miles. But I kept plugging away and now I'm making some meaningful gains. Last Friday I ran 3.5 miles barefoot and it went great. No pain. No blisters. My form was very good. Today I ran four miles and I'm happy to report the same results.
What a relief to be back again. Enjoy the foot photo. It'll be the only one I post unless something weird happens. (Yeah, I know, like running barefoot isn't weird enough already.)