Monday, August 3, 2009

WORS #7 - Alterra Coffee Bean Classic

Darrin had another WORS bike race this past weekend. The nice thing about this race was the proximity to our home here in Butler, WI. The commute to the course was roughly 20-25 minutes, all freeway. Alterra Coffee put on a great event at the Crystal Ridge Ski Hill in Franklin, WI. Nathan Guerra, of Mr. Tree, took his 1st WORS win which was just one of the great moments of the race weekend.
Darrin pre-rode the course Saturday morning with his coach before the rains came and went. Afterwards he was happy with the gear selection he had decided upon for racing on Sunday. (If some of you are new to the blog or have just forgotten, Darrin rides a single speed bike with only one gear in the front and one in the back. Sometimes you get lucky and pick a gear that works very well for the course conditions and sometimes you pick a gear that is either to much or to little on race day.) The decision would allow him to compete on the flat parts of the course, he would have to run up the larger of the two hill climbs on the course.
Another thing that Darrin noticed were his rear break pads...there weren't any pads left. For most people this isn't a problem because they simply go to a local bike shop and pick up another pair. But Darrin found himself at a loss because the break pads aren't a part the bike shops keep on hand. Darrin made a few phone calls to fellow bikers and was happy when Bubba said he would give him a pair at the race on Sunday. Most racers also have spare parts lying around their bike rooms, but Darrin is pretty new to racing and hasn't had a lot of time to create a surplus of all the parts he goes through in a race season.
Mom and Dad arrived in Milwaukee around 3:30-4ish on Saturday afternoon. They had my nephew Killian and niece Reegan with them. The kids are always a lot of entertainment and found Darrin's Rollers to be the best toys we had. We snacked on Ice-pops and then enjoyed a spaghetti dinner. Killian opted for cheese and butter sandwich while Reegan spilled her spaghetti on the floor. No problems there as Ginger helped her clean it up. After we enjoyed some ice cream and Brownies, they headed to their hotel on the south side of Milwaukee near the Race Course. We relaxed the rest of the evening watching TV and enjoyed being at home for a race weekend.
Darrin and I took our time getting ready Sunday morning. Normally we have to pack everything back into the car, eat breakfast and get to the course in time for Darrin to register and warm up. But this time we didn't have to pack much and the race was only minutes from our house. By about 11am we were headed off to Franklin. Usually we only have to concentrate on one racer and his race, but Sunday we also had a chance to watch Killian and Reegan in the Kids Race. When we got to Crystal Ridge the parking lot was packed, bikers were warming up for the sport race, and my Family was already there. After getting Darrin registered we emerged on the other side of the ski lodge to look for my Mom, Dad, and the kids. To our surprise we found them golfing on the ski hill. They were already having a great time and the race hadn't started. In no time, we were headed back to the car for Darrin to get ready. He was extra excited for this race because his coach was going to be in attendance for the first time. Yup, this was the first time that Joe was able to attend one of Darrin's events.
Just as Darrin and I were heading up to where he wanted water bottle hand-offs, Joe (his coach) pulled up. He parked and met us near the top of the first hill. Darrin and I thought it would be the best spot for a water bottle hand off and Joe agreed. Joe (Cieszynski of Wenzel Coaching) brought with him a cooler full of water bottles and gu for Darrin and other racers he knew. Joe also brought his son Jake, and a friend of Jake's to enjoy the race event. With us in place, Darrin headed off to finish warming up.
About 20 minutes before the race began Darrin came back to where he left Joe and I. He hopped off his bike and asked Joe if he thought his front wheel needed to be trued up before the race started. YES was his answer and he sent Darrin searching for someone to quickly help him before the race started. As luck would have it, Bubba (Team Extreme) was finishing his sport race and offered to help Darrin. They also remembered that Darrin was going to use Bubba's break pads. Before I knew it, Randy and John had Darrin's bike up on a stand and were wrenching away. T-minus 15 minutes until call ups.
I ventured off to the start of the kids race to help Killian and Reegan. Mom took pictures while I helped Killian and Dad helped Reegan. We waited for the older kids to make their way around the course and then it was time for Killian and Reegan to line up. The director yelled, "Ready, Set, GOOO!" And the kids were off. I gave Killian a little push to get him over a mound of rocks and he didn't stop pedaling. Although the lap was a short one, Killian huffed and puffed the whole way around the loop. When we got closer to the finish he started to smile and was excited to be finishing his first race. Reegan was not far behind. The great part of the kids races are that they all get medals until they get up to the Youth race, which takes them to the same course the adults race on. Reegan and Killian both held up their medals for a quick photo and I was off to make sure Darrin got his bike fixed in time to be at the start line.
Not only did Randy (of Team Extreme) get Darrin's front wheel true enough to ride, they were also switching out his rear break pads with Bubba's. The funny part was that Bubba had just finished his race with those pads and now they had to work again for Darrin. Without the help of Randy, Bubba, and John, Darrin would not have been able to race. I don't think we can thank those guys enough for their generosity. Darrin pedaled off to make sure everything was in working order and then found himself headed towards the start line.
Darrin has been doing well in the WORS series. This has allowed him to take 3rd place overall (in the series) and gave him a great starting position for this race. Along with Darrin, about 15-20 other riders get called to the front of the pack. We all waited as they sang the national anthem and then got the riders into start position. "One foot in and one foot on the ground gentlemen," Don announced just before he counted down from 10. The guys put their race faces on and began to realize that they had 4 long laps up and down the ski hill course.
Ginger gets very excited at the start of the race and begins to bark when the racers go past us. Everyone gives me this look of what the heck...but we know she is only cheering everyone on. (In fact this one time, she got out of the bag and ran after Darrin thinking she would be joining him for a common run. Luckily he was able to stop her and I put her back in the bag for the remainder of the race.) Once out of sight, I made my way back to where I would be handing off water bottles, but this time Darrin's coach helped me out by doing the job.
I thought about walking around and taking pictures but found myself near Joe just in case something else happened. I think I get more nervous than Darrin does sometimes. While I waited I had a chance to talk with Joe who just returned from a 3 week trip helping the Junior riders out. It is nice to know that the kids are getting really great help at an early age. As we were waiting for Darrin to come around on his 2nd lap, John (of Team Extreme) thought I looked a little parched and brought me a nice cold beverage (aka-beer). It sure went down smooth and was a great way to enjoy the race.
We watched as the riders came by for their 3rd lap. My Mom kept Ginger in the shade with her while she watched the race. My Dad carted Reegan around on his bike, while Killian rode around the BMX track a few more times. As we were all chatting, someone was yelling in our direction that Darrin needed water. For some reason I thought it was funny that there was another rider out on the course whose name was Darrin. It didn't dawn on me that they were talking about my Darrin until Randy said, "Lynn, your Darrin needs water on the other side of the Ski Lodge." I grabbed the only bottle of water I had and started running from one side of the course to the other. I had a few minutes to catch my breath before Darrin came through and got the hand off. As I walked back by my Mom, she informed me that he dropped his bottle again on his way down the hill.
After I made it back to my original spot, Darrin was making his way back up the steep hill climb. Once he approached the top I could hear him yelling, "I need 2, 2 bottles, I need 2!" I knew Joe had one for him so I grabbed the last bottle full of Gatorade from the cooler and got it to him just before he was past us. And here I thought the day was going to be enjoyed by watching and actually getting to cheer Darrin on. I guess I got some much needed exercise in.
Once again we waited while they finished their last lap. On Darrin's first lap he had a technical which put him back a ways in the pack. From then on, Darrin had to make up time and spots if he wanted to have a good finish. We watched him lap after lap gaining time like crazy, and even gaining time right up until he finished the race. I won't spoil the end for him, but I will tell you that he did his best and he had a great time. These trails have become his home course if you know what I mean. Not only does he train on these trails, but he also takes part in the Wednesday night Time trials here almost every week through out the summer.
After the race we sat around while they handed out the awards. Reegan fell sleep, but Killian was still talking about how he went up and down the hills in his race. Killian, Darrin, and Ginger all posed for one last picture on the podium, Killian sporting his proudly earned medal. Just as we were packing up to head to the car, Dennis called to see how the race went. Dennis and Heidi have been to quite a few of Darrin's races and were not able to make this event. Dad talked to Dennis for awhile and then put Darrin on the phone to tell of his race.
I think everyone was a bit sun burnt and ready for a nap by the time we left the ski hill. Mom and Dad had 2 tired kids, and we headed home with one more bike than we came with. Scott Cole, an Adventure 212 team member brought down a geared bike for Darrin to borrow while he trains for the Chequamegon 40 in September. Darrin is borrowing the bike from Adventure 212 Team Owner/Captain, Chris Peariso.
I know I am not speaking for myself when I say that we are very appreciative for all the help and support that everyone continues to give Darrin as he pedals down the road of achieving one of his personal goals/dreams. Thanks goes out to everyone who made this race even better for us!

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