We packed up on Friday and headed to Mom and Dad's house. Our logic was that Marshfield was a lot closer to Rhinelander than Butler and it would be a shorter trip for us to pre-ride the course on Saturday. Once we got to the course Darrin was off to pre-ride and I was in a chair waiting for Mom and Dad to arrive. (They are trying to make it to as many of his races as they can.) Once they got there we decided to walk around and check the place out. The event was held at Camp Tesomas, also known as the boyscout camp. This camp is nestled into the pines with a small lake on the back side. (Great for swimming in the summer!) We managed to walk the trail to check point one. We later learned that this was almost half of the race course. We earned our Pizza Hut supper that night. Darrin waited patiently for us to return to the car. Afterwards, we were off to catch some grub, a dip in the pool, and some shut eye.
You ever wake up with a bad feeling? I guess you could say that is exactly how my morning started off on Race day (Sunday). Well, that and freezing cold. We headed off to the continental breakfast and took our time relaxing before we had to pack up and head back to the course. Darrin checked his bike over and reassured himself that the gears he changed to were going to be great for this course. Darrin got his first call up as a racer and was so jazzed! Everyone else at the line said congrats and they chatted while the announcer finished out the top 20. They were rushing a little at the start line perhaps to beat the rain and didn't play the national anthem. Instead we heard Don reminding everyone to put one foot on the ground and clip the other one in. Before we knew it, the race had begun. "Bark! Bark! Bark...Ginger cheered as the roar of the group passed us by. After the dust settled, we noticed a few riders on the ground. At this point I was praying it wasn't Darrin. I would learn later on that he was involved in the crash.
The leaders made their way around the 8 mile loop and lots of elite riders passed us by. No Darrin. That feeling I mentioned before was still there and only getting worse. Before long the first of the comp riders were making their way to the start finish line. Something was definitely wrong. Doug, an elite rider rode past and let me know that Darrin was coming. I soon saw him walking with his bike just off to the side of the race course.
"I was in that crash right away and I think it knocked my crank loose," he said as he held up his pedal. A rider came from the back of the pack and tried to win the race in the first 30 seconds taking out 4-5 top elite men. This was a mega bummer as he thought he was going to do fairly well with his new gearing. Not much one can do about it now, except get to the first aid station to clean out his wounds and head for home.
Although he DNF'd this race, we still had a great time up in Rhinelander and he can say he has now ridden there. Mom and Dad were generous enough to pay for our hotel stay and our meals. (Thanks!!!) We stopped at a nice restaurant after Darrin got changed and had some supper before we made our way back to Milwaukee.
All in all it was a good weekend and Ginger was the champion that weekend!P.S. Check out Mom and Dad's Flickr account for more pics...I've added them to the side under our photos.