That isn't to say that the racing at IWC isn't serious... it is... that's just that at ICW it's ok to take a beer feed even if you are in contention and snatching a cupcake in stride over the barriers will win you more cheers than any podium spot ever could.
Zanconato Racing was generously added as a co-promoter for the event by the likes of Colin, Kevin and Thom. Thanks guys, that helps us out a bit. As a result, we were all assigned volunteer tasks and comped entries into our respective races. Bonus!
100 riders registered for the 10 am Cat 4 race in 25ish degree weather... and 85+ of them showed. They put on a great show and broke up the crusty snow for the rest of us quite nicely. Thanks guys! The race was won by a guy riding a Surly Pugsley, a perfectly suited bike for the conditions.
Last year at IWC 1.0 I raced the elite field and missed the opportunity to party a bit... After the race everyone was packing up to go home you see. Determined not to repeat my mistake I swapped my entry in the elite field (2pm) for the single speed field at noon. The two kegs from harpoon were tapped at 10, but no way would it all be gone by the time my race ended at 12:45, right?
Wrong! More on that in a moment.
Having no single speed, I would have to zip tie the shifters on my bike to lock out my gears, but not before I took a few laps of the course to decide which gear to lock into. The approach was brilliant: while others had to race what they brought, I was able to take a lap in the 19, then another in the 17, and a third in the 21. Settling on the 19 the gears were locked and I was ready to race. My late number switch earned me the reverse call up... I was at the back of a pack of 50 riders when the whistle went off. Yahoo!!!
I spent the first half lap trying to work up to through the field, and the next full lap moving towards the top 10. Closing in on Kenny at the start of lap two, he went down in a muddy corner and I was vaulted into the top 7. This race paid top 5, so I set off in pursuit of the leaders.
This race was so much fun it is hard to explain. Having only one gear limited the damage that others could do to you, making the race more about bike handling and smooth pedaling. Gearing choice was a big factor as well, and I was pretty sure I had nailed it. Tall enough to get some speed on the straights but not too tall that I couldn't turn it over in the corners.
Once I made it to the top five and into the money I tried to take a feed. The handoff was captured by uber-photag Natasha McKittrick.
With the donut gone, I came around next lap looking for a beer, but was told that both kegs were empty. Dayumm! My focus turned to catching ThomP who was unquestionally a better technical rider that me but appears a bit undergeared for the long straight sections. I nearly made contact with 1.5 laps to go when he flatted and put me into third where I finished.
That course was a blast. I had a great time for the first 6 or 7 laps trying to stay with Al Donahue, a strong elite racer who would normally drop me in an instant but was limited by the single gear. We drove hard into every corner, hoped for traction, accelerated when we got some, and tried to keep it upright when we didn't. Mike Rowell was long gone, he's a tank with lots of single speed experience, and won the race easily. He then won the 35+ race on the same bike, taking 3rd in the combined master's and elite fields.
It was a beautiful snowy and cold day... it was proof that racers can and will race when the conditions are far from perfect. Riders and spectators alike had a blast, we should do this again next year but stretch it into January.