2011 Sequim #1

MB Tour de DungMy 2011 season started with Sequim #1. In Seattle, it was raining… a lot. Forecast called for 80% chance of rain. Driving up at 6:30 (yay day before daylight savings time), drove through… rain. then, we get within 15 miles of Sequim… and the rain stops, the roads are dry, the grass on the side of the roads is brown… we’re in the rain shadow. I arrive at the start line, and it’s cold, overcast, and dry. Awesome. I love Sequim.

The line for the 4s and 5s race (separate races) was huge, so I got to work on the bike. Still racing this year on my Trek Madone. New this year is a Quarq CinQo Saturn power meter on VCRC Ceramic Bearings. I’m running some Zipp 303 tubies I picked up at the end of last year, with a new 11-23 SRAM RED cassette. I also picked up a Ritchey Carbon Streem bars for fun. Got it all set up, got checked in, and started warming up. The wheels felt heavy… for some reason they do – perhaps it’s the chip-seal. But otherwise, we’re good to go. I saw the 3s lining up, so hopped in right behind them so I and the rest of Bikesale.com could start in the front. It’s not the most important thing in Sequim, as there’s plenty of room to move, but it’s better to be in front than behind.

The race began, and after a short neutral, the lead car honked the horn. I was in 4th position, and Kirby, another Bikesale.com guy, was with me. As soon as we were no longer neutral, this big guy – 348 (which puts him as a cat 3… weird) goes. Um, ok… so we all chase him up the hill. Punchy, but not clear what he’s doing. He and a few others launch off a few attacks on the first two laps, and nothing’s going. People are content to let one person go… two or more, the pack chases.

I rest up on the 3rd lap in the first third / middle. On the fourth, I move up to the front. I’m cornering well (Zipps are doing great for that), doing well up the rollers (lifting during the off-season seems to have worked), so good to go. We get past the rumble strip and into the final 2km. I move to the front and try to duck in, but there are 3 JL Velo guys in front with 348 in 4th. After fighting a bit with 348 for 4th wheel, I let him take it and move into 4th, then we’re swallowed by the pack. I keep up, and as we corner, I’ve got good position. We’re riding 3 abreast, I’m 3rd row back – basically #7 if the first 9 are arranged like a phone keypad. Some bumping up the straightaway, but people were cool. We hit 200m… go time! Full on sprint. However, I’m cramping at the legs – both legs at the calves. I’m spinning as much as I can, but I can’t get the gear up and hold a top 10. I end up with 14th – not bad, but not what I wanted. But that’s OK – there’s always Sequim #2!

Sequim #1: The better part of valor

MB Tour de Dung
Opening weekend 2009. Mason Lake #1 Saturday followed by Sequim #1 Sunday. Huge Masons are no fun, and the first Mason is always huge. So, I’ll do Sequim – nice and fast, and handles big packs well.

The weekend called for rain and snow. But, apparently Mason was nice and sunny… yeah, around here the weatherman may as well be throwing darts and just stick with “chance of rain.” Sequim’s forecast is also snow. Mail goes out from the promoters to the WSBA list that they’ll check the roads at 5 AM, and if there’s snow, they’ll cancel. 5:10, we get mail – Sequim is dry! Come race!

Well, I haul myself out of bed having had 4 hours of sleep (frickin’ early daylight savings time… ), pour the pot of coffee into the spare thermal carafe, and head out to Sequim. Seattle weather is sketchy, but not a big. We hit the peninsula, head up via Hood Canal. On Hood Canal there’s a wreck… looks like one of the racer’s wagons somehow slipped on the metal grating at the beginning of the bridge, and a car behind sideswiped it. The side airbags are deflated along it, the car looks wrecked, and there’s an SUV parked in front. Oof. Bad luck. I found out a bit later that someone behind me got rear-ended at the rise at the end of Hood Canal, so two wrecks at the same time. Not good!

We drive up 101, and there’s snow and flurries. Not a big deal; the same thing happened last year. It should clear up around Port Angeles. Not so much. When we all arrive at the registration booth for the race, the parking lot, which really is just a field, is covered with a light coating of snow. The port-o-potties there have a nice layer of snow along the western side and cast a shadow on the ground, clearly showing that in the night there was both snow and wind.

We find out quickly that the race is postponed for at least 2 hours, so a 12 noon start. And it’s still sketchy. We head to the 101 Diner in Sequim for breakfast. Greg, one of our crew, decides to drive the course to judge for himself. As expected, corners are sketchy. The big downhill at Sequim is sanded, for extra racing fun, and one of the two bridges has snow sticking above some ice.

At this point, the discussion begins… do we stick around to see if the race is on? We’re already out $23 for ferry tolls, we’re up, and we’re ready to go in the new kit. So if the officials judge it safe, why not?

Well, I look at the time… 2 hour start delay means the race finishes about 2 PM, means if I rush home I can make the 3:45 ferry, home at 5. If I’m lucky and hit the ferry; otherwise, close to 6. And really, it’s still 49-51 whether there’s a crash due to conditions. First race of the season, first race for a lot of people ever (it’s a combined Cat4/5 field)… yeah I’ll pass. So we finish our pancakes, some head back to the race, I and a few others head home. Sequim #2 is in two weeks, it’s not going anywhere. I’m a bit depressed in missing the race, but really, it’s a long season, and I’ll have plenty of opportunities to kill myself.

We found out on the ferry it had started hailing again while people were at the registration line, and a bunch of others bailed at that point. Don’t know if they ever had the 3 men, 4/5 men, or 4 women’s races. Ah well, next time!