After our cold-ass week in New York, we were ready for anything. So we thought. On the way out to the next race, we ran into some snow, ice, and jack-knifing big rigs. The last time we were in the Poconos the truck bought the farm, so it's appropriate that we still have issues in them thar hills. We went 25mph for a couple hours until the storm blew through, and then continued on our merry way.
So we were heading to Iowa for the next races, but last Thursday was Thanksgiving. My family is really into getting together, and Turkey-Day is usually a huge affair. My cousin lives in Chicago and was missing the big get-togethers. So we detoured, hooked up with Colin and his new wife, and had a big old Thanksgiving dinner. We had to walk around the city for an hour just to let the food settle. Then we had dessert.
Once we made it to Iowa, we froze our asses off. It was damn cold, still. In California, it's 70 degrees. Here, it's half that for the high temp of the day. Actually, on Saturday it was just over 40, and that felt great. The race is put on by John Meehan, who's also the team doctor for my new road team, Team Bissell. It's a small world. John now lives in Seattle, but commutes back to Iowa to put on this race, he really did a great job. The course design was awesome, the crowds were rowdy, and the weather cooperated (with the spectators). It actually felt very similar to the Watsonville Fairgrounds, cause we were first rolling through barns and stables, and then nearly puking at the top of the damn steepest runup. Aaaah, right at home.
So, Saturday was dry and reasonably mild, which made for some road racing tactics. I flipped off my bike in the start, and had to clamber back up to the front of the race. By the time I was there, the Wells Brothers had checked out, and I was fighting for third. I wasn't going to chase them back solo, so that was that. I rode with Marko Lalonde and Brian Matter, and then attacked them for two straight laps to get 3rd. Ouch.
Saturday night it snowed a lot, and we woke up to 3 inches of snow. Perfect. The snow was slopping up the ground, so we would be racing on a nice slick layer of mud. And we would be going DOWN that steep-ass runup from the day before. In 4 inches of mud. Wow, neat. The whole day was slick and sloppy, and I was lucky to keep it smooth for the entire race. Really, no bobbles, no crashes, no technicals, nothing. Sweet. It was snowing for the whole race, too. On the start, I stomped the first off-camber and got a gap on everyone, Todd Wells bridged up and then took off. I rode my own pace as if no one else was in the race. Todd was 10 seconds up teh trail for a couple laps, but I didn't bother trying to bridge up. All it would take is one striaghtaway of going too hard, and you are guaranteed to piledrive your head into the mud. All it takes is one small mistake, and you lose tons of time. I kept it safe, and held onto a big gap behind me for second place. Two podiums on the weekend is always awesome!
In an astounding show of solidarity, JoJo matched my placings for the weekend. She's now yelling that I matched HER placings, since she raced first each day. I guess that's accurate. On Saturday she was in a three-way battle royale for the win, but another rider's bobble in the sand pit broke her off, and all three rode solo TTs for the last lap. They were all less than 5 seconds from each other, and were all out coming into the line. JoJo couldn't quite catch on and ended up 3rd, but it was the most exciting race of the weekend. I was running around trying to warmup and trying to follow the race and cheer JoJo on. It was awesome.
Sunday, JoJo's race was won on the first downhill. One girl CRUSHED the descent and pulled out a 20 second gap in a 100 meter off-camber. She did it again the next lap, and that was that, she won by 34 seconds at the line. Very impressive. JoJo out-rode everyone else, and looked quite comfy in the slimy corners where everyone else was freaking out. She's the champ, for sure.
From here we head to KC, stash the trailer and fly to Portland for the USGP finals. Then we're back to KC for Natz. Bring it on!