Ah, good 'ol Parowan. Where else can you stay in comfort at a localized national hotel chain with small town America spread out around you?
Alright, so you can do that just about anywhere between Salt Lake and St. George. But Parowan has something distinctive, and unique; the annual Tour de Gap bike race. Allow me to regale you with the adventures or our weekend:
After waffling back and forth about whether or not he was going to race (possible school conflicts didn't help the waffling any) Friday evening we were packed and on our way to Parowan. Due to lovely Happy Valley traffic and a potty stop for the dogs, then a pit stop for us we didn't arrive until 9:50 PM, 10 minutes before packet pick-up closed. We checked into the lovely Days Inn and immediately crashed trying not to think of the looming 6am wake up call.
Saturday started bright and early for room 120. Blanche and Zeke (our dogs. Remind me to post a picture) knew something was up as Bob and I criss-crossed the room gathering the days essentials: water bottles, race bible, butt cream, etc. I don't know why, but they seem to like to go to the bike races. Which is beyond me because they spend a good majority of the day sitting quietly (yes quietly, I have wonderful dogs) in the back of the scion.
The race was 48 miles and mostly flat. Bob said the pro/1/2 field had a max speed of 45mph! I sped to the feed zone; only to find out I didn't know where it was, found myself on the race course as the lead rider started coming though. He was only a single rider and not a threat for the GC or the stage win. I only had a short while till the group was to come through and I still didn't know where the feed zone was. So I sped ahead and followed the cardboard arrows the racers follow until I came across a section of road with a large shoulder which contained several SUV's and women with water bottles. This was the place.
After last weeks feeding fiasco (http://roberttaunyalofgran.blogspot.com/2006/08/weekend-race-report.html) I had to make sure I got this right. By the time the racers came through the single rider had been caught by the pack and there was a new group of five off the front. I didn't know any of the riders, and had full confidence that they would be reeled in by the time the race finished in 20 miles, which they were. Here comes the pack, with Bob on the front (yes, he was pulling in the break with little to no help by any of the teams there. No, none of the teams had a man in the break so they should have helped pull. This important scenario will be a factor in the coming stages) The feed zone was flat and fast. I had to jog a little to lessen the impact of Bob ripping the bottle out of my hand. I thought he was going to knock me right over. Impressive speed, no? By the time we wait for the next field of racers that my friends husband was racing in (c'mon a Sunday ride in the park could rival their speed through the feed zone); sped off to try to pass both fields, and have a potty break we managed to miss the sprint finish by a matter of seconds. All that really matters is everyone got the same time. Which is a good way to go heading into the afternoons criterium.
Between the road race and crit there was very little action. A shower, leg rub, pb&j, and excessive amounts of vegging.
Not much happened in the crit. Not unless you count a breakaway of Swindlehurst (Burke, a pro rider who lives in UT) Flynn, and _____ (I never did find out who the third guy was) lapping the field and taking the time bonuses, and another break of two only seconds from lapping the field and a crash of two teammates in the final lap. Bob worked hard to bridge up to the gaps twice. Each time he got painfully close then they noticed him and rode harder so that he couldn't jump on, dang it. These efforts combined with pulling in a couple early breaks and the work in the road race would eventually lead to his demise.
Oh! and some kind of bug stung me or bit me or something and left something in my neck GROSS!
We did get some great Mexican that night though.
Sunday's road race went from Cedar Breaks lodge by Brian head and back. Very rolling, and high elevations. Flats are but a dream on this day. After the first climb Swindlehurst was away (big surprise) and the pack containing Bob was only a minute or so behind. As per Bob between there and the feed zone an attack got away and no one was bringing it in. Bob wants to race for first, not fifth. He worked with Harward to bring them in and after a couple surges by the pack Bob was done. At the feed zone he was by himself a few minutes off the pack. He tried chasing for a while and when he realized he wouldn't be able to catch back on he called it a day and just rode in at a steady tempo.
The same steady tempo was applied at the time trial which was good enough to get Bob a finishing time. No one likes a DNF next to their name.
Taunya sniffed and sneezed all the way home, excited to be away from whatever hellacious allergen that was plaguing her all weekend.
Ah, nothing like Monday morning after 4 races in 2 days and 1000 miles on the road.