Yesterday was Spam Jam 2007 in Austin, MN, a citizen rode race in Hormel country. Jay and I rode out of town early to meet the rest of the Silver crew in Lakeville. This race wasn't on the MCF calendar, but definitely one of Silver Cycling's favorite races that they've won time and time again. This year's returning champ was none other than the Silver Fox himself, Steve Knowlton.
The temps were warm and the sky was clear, as it always is on the last Saturday in June (ask me sometime, I know this, Man!). More than 12 riders came out to don the Black n White at this race. Spam Jam was great, one mass start for all of the age classes, men and women alike. I worked my way up to the start in an attempt to grab on to the rest of the Black n White and pull away from the pack early. I myself wore my favorite Silver Cycling kit, and have never felt so much a part of a team. The start was fast, holding on at 28 mph for the first mile. I thought the guys had leveled out a bit, but rev'd it up to 32 mph before I dropped off the back. Their chase group came up on me, so I jumped on their wheel for a bit, but let them go as I saw we were only 2 miles into our 25 mile ride. I wasn't about ready to completely blow apart, especially as I was already sitting 1st for the women.
I rode solo for another 6 miles or so before a group of 4 guys and one tri-gal came up on me. They were pushing a good 24 mph, so I hopped on the back and kept on. They kept the pace going for more than 10 miles and rode hard and smart with them every step of the way. The light was turned on this time - now I could hear the pedal speeds as they increased for a sprint, and was able to react quickly and stay on. I could stick on a wheel and see a rider coast up the line like I had just stepped into the other side of the Matrix. I was feeling great as we watched riders drop off the back, and the 3 remaining of us bridged up to faster groups.
With 10 miles to go, me and the 2 guys I was riding with came up on Jay, riding the course backwards looking for me. We were tearing it up at 24 mph when he cranked it up to grab on. At first I couldn't tell if Hollywood was hurt or spent, but soon enough I caught the sound of his flat tire. He rode on my wheel for a couple miles, encouraging me and cheering me on. It was an amazing treat to have him see me riding so well - I hope he knows I couldn't have done it without him. Riding the flat turned was definitely a struggle, and Jay fell off the back with only 4 miles to go. I ended up dropping the other two and bridged up with some other riders that were working their way up strong. We kept moving, picking up riders and charging up to the next group.
I let the guys ramp it up to the next level and charge in without me. Sure, I want a field sprint so I can seriously throw down, but this was not the day. Here I was, 1st place lady, coming in for my first win....I wanted to throw up my hands. Luckily, I learned how to ride with no hands just weeks ago (literally only weeks ago) while out riding with Jay and Timmer one afternoon. So, as I came to the finish, I sat up proud and tall and threw both hands in the air! Winning my first race! Yowza! It was so nice, how proud Jay was of me.
Silver Cycling as a whole did wonderfully at Spam Jam, taking the top 4 places in the men's division, and me taking 1st in the women's. Joe Hamline won the men's race, Chris Flood had a triumphant return, finishing 2nd, A. Grab took 1st in the "kids" class, followed by medal winners Ted S., Steve "the Silver Fox" Knowlton, Andy Kruse-missile, and C-Ray. Great job, guys!!!
Bleed Silver and party on!