Mar 23, 2000
Well, all the Heartland Spodes were on the fence for this one, so when the better half said she'd drive me home so I could nap.... count me in.
Packed Saturday night, then up at 3AM for a 4AM leave time. Mostly turnpike all the way there, so we hit sign-up at 7:30. Got on row 20 with a couple of other C riders, then found a parking spot to gear up.
Weather was perfect, had a t-shirt and 1 jersey and wasn't chilled at all. There had been some spotty rain for the last couple of days, and the weather system was moving out that morning, leaving clear skies.
Hit the trail at 8:20, and immediately began floundering, sliding, and bouncing around the loose and fixed rocks that makes up The Gruber riding area. The loops were scheduled for 15.5 miles per, and I was wondering if I could complete ONE loop. I was thinking at the time that I wouldn't want the be testing on the first part of the loop. Along the trail, there were numerous spots where the racers friends and family could watch as you went by. Found the first check-in around mile 8, with a long 6+/- mile test section.
They sent me off, and the trail opened up after a bit, with some nice open high speed stuff. It felt good to open it up after struggling with the early tight. rocky trail. There wasn't anything terribly challenging, but it kept you on your toes... Had one get-off on a flat left-hander. There were alot of roots that were pretty slick, and the front wheel washed out in the middle of the corner. No damage or pain since my speed was way down. Picked it up, kicked it going, and dropped it again. Picked it up AGAIN, kicked it AGAIN, and finally got rolling. I was puffing pretty badly and took a couple of slow minutes to get back up to speed. Checked out close to the camping area, and got a workover from my 'pit crew'. Got some clean gear and refreshments in the 30 minute free time. I made the first test in 28:50, the fastest C rider did it in 23:30.
Start loop 2 at 9:50. They had a shorter test section on this loop, right where I was hating it on the first loop. Took it at safe/slow speed to make sure there were no boo-boos. I carded a 24:17 through that section with the fastest C rider posting a 19:09.
Started loop 3 at 11:05. It was setup same as the first loop. I felt alot more comfortable after being able to warm up to the rock riding style, and had a better time the second round. 27:42 with the fastest doing it in 23:15.
After cleaning up and loading the gear, I felt pretty good about the race. I didn't see that I could have done it too much faster than I did. I went to the scoring area and hung around with visions of trophys dancing in my head. Reality showed up and laughed at me, I was 7th out of 8 finishers, and the 6th place finisher was Michele.
Well, I had a great time spending the day with my wife... traveling, racing and looking at some different terrain. We stopped by O.S.U. and took our college kids out to dinner and caught up with their lives. We'll do it again, Good Lord willing.


Apr 14, 2002
Sounds like a good time. I just wasn't really ready to ride this weekend (work, allergies or a cold, etc. etc.) I still want to do one of these so don't give up on me, OK!
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