Monday, March 17, 2008

PANAMA! Starting the Season Locally...

It was quite a weekend, but in a wall-to-wall busy good way. Saturday was supposed to be the first race of the season, down at Landahl at the Spoke Pony Showdown, but it got rained out and rescheduled for March 29, so of course we met at 8am at the D Street for our usual Saturday gravel epic. Surprisingly, I've found no pictures proving the ride took place, but my legs know it happened.

Snapshot from the Tomac gig Saturday afternoon. Photo by Davey Boy

I got home from the ride, got down on some Oreos and milk, and just about anything else edible I could get my hands on, and then laid down for a 3-hour nap. Nice... Got up just in time to hit the Tomac open house at Cycle Works Saturday evening. Holy shit... it was like everyone in Lincoln showed up. I was awfully glad I rode there, because the parking lot overflowed well into T street and beyond. It was awesome. I saw people there I haven't seen in years. Thanks Cycle Works, and thanks to Joel, Carrie and Clarke from Tomac for showing off their sweet new bikes. It's very cool to have a company like Tomac based in Lincoln. And now with War Axe setting up shop, we've now got two bike companies calling Lincoln home. Coincidence? I don't think so. It's a good place to live and ride. But I digress...

After the Tomac/Cycle Works gig, a bunch of us rolled down to Yia Yia's for a slice and a few pints, then a few of us rolled to the D street and found some sweet mountain biking show on The Weather Channel with Travis Brown and Jeremy Horgan-Korbelski -- nice timing!

Sunday was the last race of Jim Craig's NSC Winter Series - The Panama Enduro.

We took off at 11am from the D Street to ride out, which gave us almost 25 miles out to Panama, which combined with the race itself and the ride home, had me with a total of 75 miles and right at five hours of saddle time for the day -- a good day by any estimation.

The Route: Pretty much all gravel. Seven checkpoints -- 26 miles. You can't see it on the map, but there are some BIG hills in Gage county. Narrow roads too... They don't get much traffic on some of those gravel roads. Photo: Cornbread

Before the pain -- Here I sit, eating my first bowl of chili and chattin' it up with race director Jim Craig (standing) and eventual solo winner, Craig Schmidt. Craig's a fellow Malcolm HS grad, so I've known him since I was but a wee lad. Photo: Cornbread

Rollin' out: An estimated 50-60 participants braved chilly conditions. It was totally worth it too... Photo: Cornbread

Checkpoint #5 -- About the last time I had contact with Craig Schmidt, it was right here, and it was only because he waited for me at the top of the previous climb... Thanks good buddy! Photo: Cornbread

Craig Schmidt took me to the bank in the race itself. He had at least one gear on me everywhere on the course, and he even tried to keep me with him several times. But in the end, he had me covered, and we both had to simply accept the fact that he was going to ride away from me, whether we liked it or not. In the end, I finished 2nd overall, and second in the solo men.

Congratulations Craig Schmidt! You rode awesome!

Thanks to Jim Craig, the Panama Fire Department, and to all the volunteers who made the Panama Enduro a super fun event. I had a great time, and I appreciated all the enthusiastic support, and especially the great chili both prior to and after the event.

I rode my Salsa La Cruz in the Panama Enduro, and it proved to be a great choice. It took the minor off-roading we had to do at Wagontrain Lake in fine form, and was faster than greased lightning on the gravel roads. With the recent addition of 38c Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires, I've been happy as a clam with the the La Cruz, and feel like I'm quickly honing in on the setup I'm going to use for TransIowa in April. I've found that the Schwalbe tires are great candidates for tubeless conversion, and they have a Kevlar belt under the tread, so they're very flat-resistant in themselves. When combined with my sealant mixture, it just might be the ultimate flat-proof solution. We'll see if time proves that to be the case...


Cornbread said...

Great race Matt.

Sure was a fun weekend. Lincoln rox.

MG said...

Thanks Cornbread. That was an awesome weekend. We're pretty fortunate, aren't we?

Jason said...

Nice finish man!

MG said...

Thanks Jason!