Sunday, February 1, 2009

Loppet Ice Bike

Yesterday kicked off the '09 racing season with a twist... On the frozen lagoon between Lake Calhoun & Lake of Isles, dozens of racers gathered together to push the limits - racing bicycles on ice. People of all race abilities took on the challenge of the narrow, icy course, and the fans were out in the hundreds!!! (Yes, HUNDREDS)The day started w/ the beginner race & women's race. Just after the start of the race, the course headed up into the woods on a narrow path that was hard to pass on, so I made sure to pick a great start position and readied myself for the hole-shot challenge. At the end of the countdown, Kristi Olson and I bolted off the line for the 1 & 2 position into the woods. We tore through the woods and dropped back down onto the lake, gapping off the rest of the field as they bottled-necked in the tight zig zag. My homemade tires were unbelievable, giving me superior traction that was beyond understanding. The studs grabbed the ice with authority as I peddled through the corners and the 'pinwheel of death'. Kristi and I stayed off the front for a few laps, but a rockstar 'man of the law' artfully came by me as I rode at threshold.

Unfortunately, one more rider came around me, but since I was riding better than I could have ever imagined, I didn't mind. I held my position to finish 4 overall, and 2nd in the women's race!!! So freakin' rad - I really hope the local race promoters get a couple more of these in this year, cuz I'd totally love to do this one again!!! Nice job everyone!

In the intermediate race, Tyson Meyer destroyed the field. After nailing the hole shot off the start, he rode away unchallenged. It was a great race and super fun to watch.

The REAL excitement was in the advanced race. By the time it began, the spectators multiplied into a 150+ crowd. Photographers were everywhere documenting the excitement as the best of the best took on the now slushy & icy course. Chucker Norrie (Hollywood Cycles) started the race by getting into the woods first, with Hollywood right on his tail. They began riding away from the field right away and Tom Miller was in hot pursuit. Hollywood was quick to come around Chuck, and put the hammer down. The gap between Hwood and the rest grew lap after lap, and there was no evidence of him tiring any time soon. Chuck and Tom battled 10 seconds back for second, with Caveman (Hollywood Cycles) keeping the pressure on in 4th.

Hollywood made it look effortless, and his homemade tires gave him all the traction he needed on the slippery turns. As his lead grew to 18 seconds, Chuck came around Tom to ready himself for 2nd with just a few laps to go. When the bell finally rang for the last lap, the announcers were already predicting an unchallenged victory for Hollywood. Chuck was riding defensively in 2nd, trying to keep Tom back as they rode 12 seconds off the leader.

Jay dropped onto the ice after the wooded section, focusing on riding a smart pace to hold on for the win. As he exited the zig zag, I cheered for my hubby seconds before we simultaneously became aware of Jay's rear tire flatting. With 3/4 of the course to go, Hwood did all he could to keep moving, but Chuck & Tom were closing in. Luckily, since the course was so narrow, Chuck was able to run interference to defend Jay's lead all the way to the final time through the Pinwheel of Death. They were right on top of each other in the tight turns and, though we all wanted Hwood to win after such an amazingly strong race, Chuck knew he had to come around him to keep the win in the family.

Chuck came by and Jay rode with elbows out the help him get away. Tom snuck past Jay in the final turn, but not quick enough to beat Chuck to the line. Jay kept his bike in motion, and crossed the line with a broken heart. After all the work and enthusiasm, I think most of us were crushed to watch him finish in third - it was such an amazing race to watch, but a crushing defeat for the crowd favorite. The silver lining, though, was definitely Chuck's amazing attack for the win! Great job, guys!!! That was the most exhilirating race to watch. That was quality team racing.

Ridin' high after a great start to the new year,

Kristy Kreme