Well, I finished... And that's about all the bragging rights I have.
First, let's start with the stats. CIRREM 2011 was a 63+ mi snow covered gravel course with about 4500 ft of total climbing. Temps were in the low to mid 20's with occasional freezing rain and very little wind. I finished in six hours, which is about an hour longer than I was expecting. Yuck.
The theme of this party was leg cramps, and I had my fill of cake. I felt the familiar twinge in my right quad early on, but otherwise I was feeling good and even running above my expected pace. I tried taking it a little easier on the hills, but 25 miles in I started cramping up. Around mile 40 or so my legs locked up. Not long after I was walking some of the steeper hills. Finally, 48.8 miles in I pulled over for a much needed a pop tart break. I stood there for a little while, relaxing, taking time to just enjoy where I was. Two riders passed, but I didn't pay it much mind.
Feeling somewhat refreshed, I hopped back on the bike and took off again. It wasn't long before I joined up with another racer who was going about the same pace as me, so I decided to ride with him for a while. It's pretty rare that I spend more than 10 or 15 minutes riding with someone on these events, but we kept each other company all the way to the finish. We took it easy, walked a few hills, chatted about work, bikes and racing and just enjoyed the rest of the ride. So... Jared from Ames, thanks for keeping me company. I hope your knee is feeling better. See you at Trans Iowa.
Overall, I had a good time. It was a great course and with the fresh snow the scenery was amazing. Even though I climb like a slinky and fought cramps for most of the ride, I did enjoy the hills they threw at us. Still, this race showed me that I have a lot of work to do between now and April 23rd if I'm going to have any hope of doing anything impressive in Trans Iowa. But hey, that's what we do...