My legs hurt! After racing the Dirt Bag on Sunday my quads have thrown in the towel! Maybe riding 80+ miles the day before the race wasn't too smart, but as I've said before...if time allows I'm usually going to ride.
The race itself started off mild enough. Quickly a group of 10 formed. I did some pulls on the front but nothing crazy. On one such pull Mark Skarpohl came around me and got to work. I jumped on his wheel and we were off. It was a solid pull, hard enough that I didn't look back until the next turn. I was a bit surprised It was just 3 of us: Mark, Noah, and myself. This happened at mile 25. We kept the gas on for about 10 miles. We could no longer see the chase group and let up some on our efforts. Noah was on his road bike with road tires. For the most part this was a great choice. A couple mile section into a cross wind was pretty loose and deep gravel. It hurt! Noah fell off here. It was just Mark and I.
We mostly took turns pulling with a bit of chatting. We kept the pace solid. I had my Garmin on the map page so I had no idea how far or how fast we were going. Despite feeling the legs I was still able to put in some efforts. Mark was clearly riding strong and seemingly effortlessly! When we hit the section before South Haven I really started to feel it. I was still taking a turn pulling but I wasn't matching Mark's speed nor duration. At the top of a switch pack climb in Fairhaven I told Mark my legs were hurting...kind of hinting that it was ok for him to go on without me. He told me to never tell another racer your legs hurt! Playing poker!
On Delwood road we were battling a cross/head wind. I really suffered here. After doing my poor attempt at a pull Mark would surge ahead. He would always wait up for me. At this point I had already decided he was the clear winner (stronger) for the day. It truly is a "for fun" race. I have never been able to ride with Mark in the past. It was a super fun day...glad I got the opportunity. I mailed in my Trans Iowa card yesterday. Mark is doing it too. Next April we ride again!
We finished 85 miles in 4 hours with Mark crossing the line before me. It wasn't a sprint finish but more or less a ride to the finish. I had nothing left to sprint had it come to that! I was shocked to see we averaged 21.3 mph! What a great day. Thanks Mark.
Thanks to John, Susan, Justin, Ruth, Greg, and Chris for putting on and supporting the Dirt Bag.