Poudre du 2001
 
5k run/30k bike/5k run
Friday was 60deg sunny and dry. Saturday dawned grey and freezing
with a strong wind, love that CO weather. By that time I'd already
driven 2 hours to get to the race, so figured I might as well
get on with it. At the start, rain was beginning to fall. Thought
long and hard about just running the first 5k then bagging it, but
there were enough mad bikers setting up their beautiful TT bikes,
Softrides, etc, that finally I felt like a weenie and got my bike
out too. Transition area didn't have racks, just tarps laid on the
ground, with puddles building up and muddy footprints. I'd packed
a Goretex running suit at the last moment the previous night,
don't think I would have even started without it.

There was a duathlon, 5k, and 1/2 marathon all going off together,
with a wave start, 13 in all. Went off in wave 1, the 6 - 6:30 min/mile
group, a pleasant 5k on a trail along the Poudre River. I'm familiar
with the river up in the mountains, where it's a brawling whitewater
trout stream: here on the plains it's a mild little creek, most of the
water diverted to farming. Brown sedges and grey water, heard a
pied kingfisher 'chip...chirr'. That was about the last pleasant thing
that happened.. 9:58 to the turnaround, 20:25 to 5k, about 6th in the
wave.

Luckily I'd forgotten bike gloves, so was wearing an old pair of
wool gloves. Five minutes into the ride, rain changed to freezing rain
mixed with snow. Toiling into a headwind at 16mph on the flats, being pelted with fragments of ice, blue gloves turning white with the snow.
I ride in wraparound sunglasses with prescription inserts, these were
fogged during the run and misted over on the ride: didn't see
much of the race after the first 5 minutes.

Approached a side street and saw a kid in a Chev Cavalier coming up
fast, figured he probably wasn't going to yield to a cyclist, and started to slow down. He looked right at me, then accelerated through the stop sign and swerved towards me. I howled imprecations at him but don't think it did anything more than relieve my feelings.

Onwards through the cornfields. Strong evidence of agricultural activity, often the shoulder was composed of straw, mud, and cowpats, forcing us to ride in the road proper. Maybe a mountain bike would have been better. Lots of flats, saw 3 or 4 guys pulled over and patching up. After 20k, even though my average speed was barely 18mph, I'd only been passed by 6-7 people, which counts as a great cycling day for me. About this time the slush finally soaked through the socks, icewater footbath for the rest of the ride.

Then the road became suddenly more insistent, bumps turned into thumps. Pulled off, yup, flat back tire. What joy. A busy road, about 3ft of shoulder, then 6" of gravel, then a muddy ditch. Stood in the gravel and began work. Behind me (mistake no. 1, I guess.. always face traffic), some dim bulb decided this would be a great time to pass the girl in front of him. He squeezed past her and the traffic, she tried to squeeze past me and failed, handlebars took me
in the thigh just below the hipbone, and down we both went. The instigator of the crash of course simply fled the scene. The crashees' bike was fine, but she sat glumly in the road for several minutes without responding to me: then got up and swore at me for 'standing in the middle of the road'. I suppose I should have gotten ankle-deep into the mud in the ditch instead..

By the time all this was finished, 10 or 15 minutes had gone by. Started off again, but somewhere in all the excitement the front wheel had been whacked. Handlebars pointed NNE while trying to head straight, had to stop and yank the headset straight again. Passed a few more guys on the way in, but I confess my heart wasn't in it. One of them was riding with running shorts and no tights, his bare legs an attractive shade of light blue.

On to the run, stood up and found my feet had gone AWOL, couldn't feel much of anything. Figured the fastest way to warm them up would be to run, so headed off again, but it was like running on two blunt instruments, like running on peg-legs. Stumping along trying to answer a persistent question, a Method actor with an antipathetic director, 'But what's my motivation ??'  Guess by that time the motivation was to get my feet back. Limped in at
24:and change for the second 5k. Total time 2h 4min some seconds. Subtract off the 10 or 15 min for flatting and general fracas, it's still kinda slow.

I was going to call this my worst race ever, but got to thinking, and
remembered a few doozies. So it's just on the list for 10 worst.
Actually the worst part was the aftermath of the crash, that kind of
strife and contention always leaves me feeling ill for days.

Home again, several amusing hours of washing, drying, oiling and greasing the bike. I remember now why I don't ride in the rain. No more springtime duathlons for me.