Then it was decision time. What to do for the weekend. Andrea was flying home from California Saturday night and arrived in MKE at 11:00pm. It was out 6th wedding anniversary and I missed her after she had been gone a week. No matter what I was going to be at the airport.
So....should I race Saturday and stay at home Sunday. Should I stay home all weekend. Or should I skip Saturday and wake up early and do Eau Claire Sunday.... or how about both!
Andrea's new bike had just arrived to a shop up in Marquette, MI. I called the guys in Marquette and they mentioned they were going to the Miners Revenge on Saturday for the downhill race. Hmmmm Andrea had done that one before and said it was awesome. It's only an 1:30 from the cabin in Eagle River....I could pick up Andrea's new bike, race, and be home in time for a late night run to the airport! I instantly put the batteries on the charger. It's game on...
So I called up Street Player for a partner in crime and he was in. Rosco, Street, and I hit the road Friday night and made it to the cabin in E.R. by 11:00. The next morning it was off to the Adventure Mine for the coolest race of the year(sorry Gravel Rouser....but this one was pretty awesome).
It was super technical....brutally steep climps, technical muddy greasy rock drop root filled descents, bridges, flyovers, and did I mention the mine.....1/4 mile of a pitch dark mine that you had to ride through. It was pretty sweet and a little intimidating. Lights required for sure(good thing I have a sweet L & M Seca 900). You were in the mine for 3 - 4 minutes. The temp outside was 80+ and the temp in the mine was right around 45....as you approached the opening of the mine you could feel the cold air rushing out at you. It was misty, you were crushing through rocks and cold puddles, turning, and even dismounting in one section where the roof of the cave was only 4 ft high. After you emerged from the cave you hit a wall of humid 80 degree air and a drop that would rival the most technical trails at Mt. Snow VT or MSA Quebec! Another sweet thing about U.P. racing is you almost always get local TV coverage at the races....kind like Belgium!
It was worth the drive for sure. We grabbed Andrea's bike, swung by the cabin to get Rosco, clean the bike, and take a quick shower. We were back to Sheboygan by 9:30! Just in time to unpack and hop in the car again to MKE airport. Rosco looked at me like I was crazy when I told him we had to go back in the car!
We picked up Andrea at 11:30 and it was awesome to surprise her with a new Top Fuel and 6 colorful roses. One for each year of our marriage. She thought I forgot! The drive home went fast as we both had some good stories to share of our adventures apart.
5 hours later I was up again...this time not feeling quite as chipper, but I figured GO BIG or GO HOME. I had a good warm up ride at the Miner's Revenge so hopefully my legs wouldn't feel the shock of the rest week at the start of the WORS race.
Well....I don't know if that was the case or not, but it didn't go the greatest. I was hurting on lap 1 and could tell all the guys I was riding with were very familiar with the course. I think they all pre-rode and I hadn't done Eau Claire in 3 or 4 years. I was just hanging on for dear life and wanted to make it through the first lap. I was almost there when my front tire just went off the ledge on the switchback climb and I tipped over. 10 seconds. I chase hard for 1/2 lap to no avail. The harder I chased the more mistakes I made. I think I was within 5 seconds for a while, but as soon as we hit the singletrack again it was over. I went over the limit and with the high temps I had to recover. Lucky for me NG crashed so I slowed and waited for him...was hoping to recover, and start going again. NG dropped me promptly and I had to wait again. Another 1/2 lap of solid recovery and I was ready to go again when Chris P and Big D came up behind me holding hands. I think Chris was about as tired as I was but he was actually training hard....I was just having a rough go. We followed each other around until a half lap to go when we picked it up again, but like I thought...the first guy into the last singletrack before the finish would win the sprint....BIG D was that guy and I finshed 6th....6 year wedding anniversary...6th place finish....I'll take it....
It was a really long drive home...looking forward to lots of rest today and an early night to bed. Then its time to start some interval training!