Bend OR, a modern efficient town sitting on the threshold of an arid tumbleweed desert, and the base of the Cascade Mt range. The perfect place to host Masters Nationals, Bend is burgeoning with Ponderosa pine, the Descutes river, and cool looking rocks. One of them is named the Monkey Face and I hear its a pretty sweet rock climb. I'm not sure what kind of rocks they are but maybe we can get the famous Phil Mooney to chime in with a little geology lesson when he gets a break from racing as a Pro. Phil? At any rate moving away from the rocks, where else can you find the roundabout? You may not believe it but these simple creations completely eliminate the need to sit at a stop sign or stop light. They send motorist and bikers alike on a daily journey of smooth flowing traffic ensuring peace, safety, and enjoyment for all. Marin soccer moms, if there is one thing you deserve, its the roundabout.
OK, I'll get down to it. The TT course is one that I've done many times only on this occasion its shortened from about 35 km down to 25 km. From the start it snakes out of the High School and heads up an innocent looking climb. The innocence is lost pretty quickly as the road soon pitches up and becomes steeper the farther you travel. After about 8km you turn around and head straight back down the hill reaching speeds of over 50 mph. Then at the 16km mark, you make a sharp turn right and head up over a rolling bluff with with a few power climbs, roundabouts, medians, winding descents, tumbleweed, and some pine forest. There is a golf course in there at some point but between the sweat in my eyes and the snotty drool splattered all over myself I couldn't see a thing. I set the fastest time of the day as I crossed the finish line and then anxiously listened to Dave Towle announce the time of the riders that follow. In the end I won by about 35 seconds. Its a great feeling.
Now some people may call me a sand-bagger, and that's pretty much what I'm secretly calling myself. However I didn't call Lance a sand-bagger when he showed up at the Tour of the Gila and I was 47th place 1:47 behind the TDF champion. I felt privileged and stoked that I made it to a level that allowed me to even line up against him. In respect to my competitors I'm obviously not Lance Armstrong and have no grounds to compare my performance with his, but you hopefully get the picture.
As a 31 year old amateur racer, I fit into many different categories. I may race as a Masters 30-34, a Category 1, some races pit me against the domestic pro teams, and occasionally I'm lucky enough to line up against a big name UCI Pro rider from the TDF. I am the in between rider without a true home.
The way my season has gone I'm just happy to be riding my bike. But I'm obviously elated to walk away with a national championships jersey and super fat gold medal. Even if it was masters category 30-34. I know some riders that would pay a large some of money for the chance to wear one of these and I won it fare and square.