Snake Alley

Despite listening to the Cubs' horrendous collapse in back-to-back games during our drive over to Burlinton on Friday, I was able to mentally recover in time to tackle the vaunted Snake Alley on Saturday. XXX Racing/AthletiCo was represented by Joel Feinberg, Alan Rovge, and Jason Mindeman in the men's Cat 5. A quick shout out to the teammates that imparted much wisdom in the weeks leading up to the race. Also, thanks to Matt Welch for loaning me some shades, while mine were safe and sound on the kitchen table in Chicago. We had a great cheering section all day all the way up the Snake -- our Triple X family is big, and it is LOUD when it wants to be. I really do love this team!

The component gods would smite two of our brethren in the fives, sticking Jason with a flat tire and Alan with a dysfunctional pedal. I raced scared for the first four trips up the Snake and had a good 20-second lead at one point in the fourth lap. Around the fifth trip up, I started to realize that I wasn't recovering from the climb until -- well, ever. When I go back next year, I'll have at least a 25 cog as a bailout. The 39x23 just wasn't enough for me after a few trips up the climb. I was barely turning over. Two guys got by somewhere before the last lap, but I stole second place right before the line with an entirely unnecessary bike throw that my girlfriend called "cute." Joel stayed strong throughout and took 10th place.

Congrats to everyone who raced that day -- the highlight was hanging out with my teammates on the steeps of the Snake, getting a tan and watching others suffer. Can't wait until next year!

Quad Cities

After putting in a 4-to-11 AM shift at Bike the Drive on Sunday, I was feeling a little bonked on Memorial Day. But arriving in time to see Reid and Robert in the Pro/1/2 race had me keyed up in time for the Cat 5 race. Having been drinking since 10 a.m., much of the crowd was too sloshed to move, so they stayed to cheer us on. XXX Racing/AthletiCo had Alan Rovge and myself in there -- let me just say that Alan is turning into a force. Hopefully he'll chime in with a Melon City report.

This time around, the same guy that won Cat 5 Snake Alley went off the front in the first lap. I wish I'd recognized him, because I would have chased him right away -- lesson learned. I thought a solo first-lap breakaway on a very windy day would never last. Unfortunately, Alan and I couldn't get more than one other rider to chase with us. I tried to bridge to the leader once on my own with two laps to go, but eventually cut my losses and finished second with two primes. Alan, who had pulled for several long stretches, stayed with the lead pack and took sixth. Afterwards, the winner (who did seven races on the weekend!) was nice enough to thank us for "not catching him." Sonofa ...

Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement at the races.