Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bethel Spring Series - Sweep Day

I woke up today, unbidden, at 5:40 AM. My pre-race nerves were tuned to a fine pitch. I closed my eyes again, the urgency missing as the race is tomorrow.

A short time later I really got up and staggered to the window.


A lot of it.

I went downstairs and sat in a daze. Would the sweep really happen? I didn't know. I knew coffee would help so I had some. Bacon too, and pancakes, so I had some of that too. And pasta, pasta always helps. So I had some of that.

At 11 I started to move about, loaded up a few things in the van, blowers, gas, my bike. On the way to the sweep, 12 miles or so, I went through bright sunshine, a relatively heavy snow flurry, little drifting flakes, and rain.

Bethel was windy (as usual) and bitterly cold. But dry.

The course was a wreck (sorry, no pics). Tons of sand. But there were two saving graces - a whole lotta people and a sun trying its hardest to burn through the clouds.

I figured out a "better" way to sweep - an echelon of brooms followed by an echelon of blowers, with a backpack blower or two bringing up the rear. Of course, just like in a bike race, the echelons would slowly disintegrate, but it ultimately worked out. I now have some ideas for some new sweeping type gizmos for next year.

After two hours the course resembled something more like what I saw a week ago, not the sand pile that met us at noon.

With that we started loading up the van, I took names and races (everyone who worked today races one race a week free for the Series), and everyone not riding started leaving.

One of the helpers came over on his bike and let me know that there was an industrious father and son team working hard on the course still. I asked him to tell them we were done, and 10 minutes later they trudged up the hill, shovels and broom in hand. I took their names too and silently thanked the rider for letting me know they were there. It would have been horrible to learn that there were people working for an extra hour or two.

A few of us decided to ride afterwards ("test the course") so we met at the van and started to get ready. Mysteriously the sun disappeared and within minutes it started snowing pretty heavily. When I emerged from the van, the snow was falling hard enough that it was hard to see the hillside about 300-400 yards away.

Of course once we started riding Mother Nature decided we were worthy and stopped the snow. Within 15 minutes it was sunny.

The wind never stopped, of course, and we actually looked at each other when we hit it full on at the back stretch. It really took your breath away.

My legs felt horrible (and this isn't trying to psyche anyone out). Within a few laps I had to sit out a lap, and after that it seemed that every few laps the other guys would lap me. I did do one jump but that was about it for my hard efforts. It was a big effort just to hang with them when they weren't jabbering (and the jabbering just made it a little bit easier).

I hope my legs are better tomorrow. Someone pointed out that it was a long day, but tomorrow I'll have a longer day before getting on the bike. So I hope that it was just the day or something. Maybe my legs will magically get better.

With the move and some other stuff that happened between the last 2007 Bethel and this one, I managed to misplace all our radios so I'll have to get another batch of them. I'll have to do that tonight and get them all charged up. I think we had six, maybe seven of them, so maybe eight of them.

In addition, this is the first official post from nowhere in particular! In other words, the broadband air card is working. I'm sitting in the van, about 10 meters past the finish line, just before Turn 1, typing away.

Very cool.

Now to pray that the course stays in relatively good shape until tomorrow.

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