This weekend was the annual Squawker classic in Durango, hosted by Fort Lewis College. This is always one of the best, hardest weekends of racing on the collegiate schedule, and typically, I get shelled. This weekend however was a little different. As I wrote earlier, the TTT and the uphill ITT were both alright. I felt fairly solid in the ITT and caught my one minute guy, so that felt good. Usually I'm the one getting passed in Time Trials, so it felt good to be on the other side of that.
A blurry start to our TTT.
My ITT start.
The road race is always intimidating to me because there is about 600-700 feet of climbing per lap, and those kids down there just go uphill fast. My freshman year I crashed out, Sophmore year I got smoked and pulled the plug, and last year I was the last rider to actually finish the race. This year with my new found form, I was actually able to stay with the main group through most of the race. A break went off the line, and continued to get bigger over that first lap, but I knew I couldn't ride with the kids that were in it, so I held back with hopes that it might not stick. It did stick, and about on lap 4 or 5 of 9 the group that I was in had been whittled down to 15 or so, and a good number of them made it across to the break. I guess that is when the leader attacked and stayed away. I however, stayed back with the group and finished toward the back of the 7 or 8 that were left. I came away with a 17th place, which is nothing to brag about by any means, but compared to the way I typically feel climbing, I'm pretty happy. I felt like I was a semi-factor in the race, and I managed to hurt at least a couple of people at different points in the race.
Trying to set tempo on the 3rd ascent of the front hill.
The finish of my race.
The trip there and back was by far the most interesting part of the whole weekend. The way down was great, for everyone except Dana, who had eaten some leftovers that he shouldn't have, and evidently got a little bug from them. Evan summed it up best with, "He puked a bunch."
The way home however was interesting to say the least. We made it over Wolf Creek pass without incident, and stopped in Del Norte (pronounced Dell Nort) to pee (3rd bathroom break in 1.5 hours). The van wouldn't shift into park at the gas station, so I reversed a couple times, took a lap of the lot, and it seemed to go into park. I turned it off, we peed, got some junk food, and when I went to start it up again, it wouldn't start. We quickly realized, it wasn't in park, and therefore wouldn't start. Supposedly cars start in neutral too, but it wouldn't. We tried rolling it to see if it would click into park, or something, we tried everything we could think of. Finally we pulled the sorority card and called AAA. They said a tow truck driver would be there in an hour. We also called our teamates in the other car to tell them we were stranded and see if they could take a couple kids back to Greeley who really needed to get back. They told us they were already 45 minutes past Del Norte and the kept on going. Cool! About 30 minutes into our wait, I decided to try starting it in drive, didn't work, 2nd gear, didn't work, 1st gear, didn't work, reverse, what do you know... it started right up. The weird part, was that the van wasn't in reverse. I soon found that it was in neutral, and every gear was one off from the gear indicator. We waited for the tow truck, and when he came we told him what was up. He told us we should be fine to drive home, but we should take the main road just in case. No problem, we were soon on our way.
An hour later, I hear someone needs a bottle because they have to pee. I said no one was peeing in any bottles, and that I'd pull over so I could go too. There was a huge shoulder, and a straight stretch of road, so I threw on the caution lights, slowed down and eased it onto the shoulder only to hear what sounded like a tire popping, but couldn't be a tire popping because our bad luck was over. Sure enough, I'd hit the one small jagged rock on the road and we had a flat. Great! I changed the flat, then drove the remaining 5 hours to Greeley. Our trip that started at 12:30pm, finally ended back in Greeley at just after 10pm.
I spent the rest of the night with Brian and Matt reminiscing about all the fun and trouble we'd had. Not until the next afternoon did I realize that my backpack had gone missing. I still can't find it, and I've searched everywhere I can think of for it, yet still have found nothing. Oh well, it's not that crucial of a time to lose all of your homework.
The flat tire.
Luckily my cheerleading section was just as enthusiastic about the tire change as they were about my race.