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The 4th annual Wawawai Landing TT & Wawawai Grade Hill Climb

Sunday March 3, 2013

A few changes this year:


1) All profits and proceeds from this event will be donated to the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s.

2) Cash and prizes will be given out for the overall combined times of the TT and HC. I want to reward the riders who are true gluttons for punishment.

3) Juniors under the age of 17 who hold an annual USAC road license will race for free. 

4) An Individual TT will start at 1:45 for the hill climb.  This will allow people who only have bikes equipped with aerobars to do the race.  It is highly encouraged that the juniors also do this event rather than the mass start hill climb.

5) I’ve added a 40+ Masters category

Location: Wawawai Landing - Near Pullman, WA (See Directions Below).

Courses: 20K flat TT, and a hill climb up the Wawawai grade - approximately 11K with 1950+ feet of climbing

Costs: $20 per race. USAC license required to race. One-day license for category 5 men and 4 women is $10 and available at the race. To race in all other categories you must have a USAC annual license ($60), which can be purchased at www.usacycling.org. Online registration will be available as well as on the day of the race.

WSBA (http://www.wsbaracing.com) numbers will be used and sold on site as well.  Rental numbers will be available at the race for a $10 rental fee (of which $5 is refundable).

Prizes: Cash and merchandise plus the possibility of bonuses for new records.

REGISTER ON-LINE HERE

Race Day: Registration will open at 9:30 a.m.  Registration for the TT will close at 10:30.  Registration for the Hill climb will reopen from 12:30-1:30.  Online registration will be available at usacycling.com and is preferred.  Registration/Parking will be located at Wawawai Landing .  Parking will also be at Wawawai Landing.  There is NO WATER at the staging area and there is NO Cell phone reception at the staging areas.

Race Details

Roads are chip-sealed and in fair to good condition.

The 20K TT is flat and it will be an out-and-back.  First rider starts at 11:00 a.m. 

The ITT hill climb (11K) will start at 1:45.  Juniors are highly encouraged to do this event.

The hill climb (11K) will be a mass start race and start at 2:00 p.m.  

Awards will be given out to all categories based on the combined times of the two events.  You can do only one event, but you will not be eligible for awards.  A racer can do only one event and still be eligible for the bonus.

A $50 bonus will be given to the male or female that sets a new course record on the hill climb and/or the TT.

Categories offered:

Men: Cat 1/2, Cat 3, Cat 4/5, Masters 40+ (Cat 1-5), Masters 50+ (Cat 1-5)

Women: Cat 1/2/3, Cat 4

Course records:

Female – TT – Allison Beall – (2010) – 29:45

Male – TT – Michael Emde – (2011) – 27:30

Female – Hill Climb – Jodie Bolt (2012) – 32:20

Male – Hill Climb –  Jake MacArthur (2012) – 27:34

DIRECTIONS

From Pullman or Spokane: 195 South.  Turn West on WA-194 (west) which will turn into Wawawai-Pullman Road.  Turn right on Wawawai Grade road and follow it to Wawawai Landing.

ALL USAC RULES WILL BE ENFORCED!! ALL RIDERS MUST SIGN A WAIVER!! ALL RIDERS MUST WEAR A USAC APPROVED HELMET. USAC PERMIT #pending

Sponsoring clubs: Kryki Sports and G.S. Gap (River City Red).  Promoter is Ted Chauvin (tchauvin@wsu.edu)

Time trial Profile

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0K                                            turn-around                                       20K

Hill climb profile

 image

image

A few notes:

1)      We are using WSBA numbers for the race.  Rental numbers will be available for the race at a cost of $10 to Washington residents ($5 of which is refunded upon return of the number). There will be multiple races in Eastern WA this year that will be using WSBA numbers.  If you have questions about the WSBA and the numbers please e-mail me. 

 2)      Weather.  People are often concerned that this race is too early in the season and it’s too cold.  The Snake River Canyon is usually 10 degrees warmer than the Spokane and Pullman areas.  Last year almost all competitors were in shorts for both races

3)      Finally, please try and use the on-line registration for the race. Pictures from the 2010 TT can be found here at Cecil Williams site

Results for the 2010 TT and Hill climb.

Results for the 2011 TT and Hill climb

Results for the 2012 TT and Hill climb

Wawawai TT and Hill climb results (with a GC)

The third annual (I guess it can now be called “annual”) Wawawai Hill climb and TT occured again last Sunday, March 4.  The event grew again this year with a total of 81 registrations which was composed of 55 unique riders.  Twenty-six of those riders did both of the events.  These people are true hard men and women of the sport.  Congrats to anyone who did both events, I know that it’s not easy.  Actually…I don’t know that since I have never actually raced either event…which may be a sign of my intelligence.

No records fell in the morning’s time trial.  The headwind on the way out made sure that would happen.  Of course, that same headwind helped the hill climb records fall.  Both the women’s record and men’s are new as of the 2012 event. Jodi Bolt (Old Town Bicycle) shattered the previous women’s record with a time of 32:20 (previous record was  35:29) and Jake MacArthur (Keller Rohrback Cycling Team) set the new men’s record with a time of 27:34 (previous record was 28:04).  Congrats to both of them.

Results for the hill climb can be found here or here.

Results for the time trial can be found here or here.

I’m posting the unoffical GC times here for people who did both races.  I’m thinking about adding overall prizes next year to reward people who do both events.

GC by category:

GC Overall

To those of you who raced, thanks again for coming out.  In addition to GC changes, I’m also thinking about adding a 40+ category.

I hope to get some pictures up in a few days.

Thanks to the WSBA, Emde Sports, River City Red Racing, and our officials for all the support and help.

 Until 2013…

Wawawai Bike racing…a short history.

To the best of my knowledge, which is rapidly decreasing every day, this coming Sunday will be the fifth bike racing event that has happened at Wawawai.  It will be the third installment of the Wawawai TT and Hill climb.  However, I was not the first person to promote a bicycle race on Wawawai. That dubious honor goes to WSU cycling (and I believe it may have been Dave Lawson who spearhead that race) in 1998.  

In 1998 the “WSU Collegiate Race” was held in the Wawawai area.  This was similar to the one that promoted by the WSU Cycling Team in 2002.  This was well before my time on the Palouse or even the Pacific Coast time zone, but I do know a few things about that race. The winner for the mens race was Rusty Beall who, at the time, was riding for the University of Oregon and the winner of the womens race was Laura Reid who, I believe, was riding for the University of Washington (some of you cycling types might know who her sister is).  Allison was at the race and she told me how Laura pretty much rode through most of the mens field to finish in 4th place overall.  Think about that for a second.  

In 2002 I was the president of WSU Cycling and I thought it would be a great idea to being the race back.  Furthermore, by being the promoter of the race I could use it as an excuse of why I raced so poorly (I did race poorly, but running ”the ladder” at Gambino’s the night before sure did not help).  The race started at the bottom Wawawai and went East along the river for 16 miles and at this point the racers would turn around (Steptoe Canyon) and ride back.  It made for, quite frankly some boring racing since everyone knew what was coming.  At mile 32 the racers went up Wawawai and then rode along the Palouse for another 7 miles before the finish.  It was a 42 mile road race for all categories.  

Some of the guys I raced against in the Mens A field complained that the race was too short.  And some, in quite honestly one of the dumbest moves I had every seen, only brought one water bottle.  Idiots…they paid later on the climb for their “weight savings”.  The results for the race can be found here.  Rusty Beall, this time riding for the University of Idaho, crushed everyone in sight.  Rusty would go up hills very fast.  I recruited a fellow graduate student to be a corner marshal near the final 1K of the climb.  He said the way Rusty went past was amazing.  Almost, like he was going down the hill.  None of this was surprising to me since Rusty just came off a year of riding professionally for the Prime Alliance Cycling team.  I also was not surprised since Rusty did not finish the ladder at Gambino’s the night before as I did.  I also ran my ladder with microbrews and he attempted his ladder with only domestic offerings.  But I digress…

The womens race was won by Kelly Hewitt who rode for Washington State University.  Kelly was more of a triathlete than a bike racer.  She really did not care for pack racing. We affectionately called her “20mph”.  Why?  Because Kelly would go up a hill at 20mph, but she would go down that same hill at only 20 mph.  She was a a true mountain goat whenever a race tipped up.  She was, for the purpose of this race, WSU Cycling’s “ringer”.  WSU went onto win the omnium for that race as well as the conference championship for 2002 and 2003.  I attribute a lot of that to the Wawawai road race. None of us were great climbers but we knew the course and how it would play out.

If I had to guess at Rusty’s time for the climb I would say it was definitely sub-27 and quite possibly sub 26.  It was probably the fastest anyone has ever gone up that hill.  Or is it?  Ya see…there once was a professional bike racer named Kirk Willett who grew up in Pullman.  He was pretty fast too and could climb hills fast as well.  I’m not sure who has the “official” record from years ago and that’s why I started to promote the Wawawai races. 

Oh, I guess I should talk about the time trial course (which was, part of the road course as well).  Something I really loved about collegiate racing was the team time trial.  They hurt like hell. So, as the promoter of the Wawawai collegiate TTT I decided to make people hurt even more (I was too busy promoting the race to actually take part) so I made the TTT a total of 15 miles.  Most of the races in the conference had considerably shorter distances, but nationals was always around 35 or 30K.  So, I upped the distance.  The University of Idaho won both the mens and womens TTT.  Thanks in part of the time trialing prowess of the amazing sibling time trial duo known as Allison and Rusty Beall.  Allison teamed up with Jess Draskau-Petersson, who would later become a world class triathlete.  They smoked the womens field.  In fact, they beat all of the B and C men teams as well.  Luckily the WSU Cougar A men beat them (by a scant 5 seconds, GO COUGS!).  It should also be noted that later in 2002 Allison went on to be the U23 time trial National Champion.  The U of I mens team was virtually untouchable all year, especially when Rusty was driving the pace.  

Okay, back to the current Wawawai races…

I was not sure what would happen with the races, all I knew is that we would finally have an official time for the hill climb and someone would cough up a lung in the TT.

In 2010 JT Fountain (yes, the single speed CX JT Fountain) smoked the hill climb for a very fast time of 28:04.  He did this on a single speed bike.  Let me repeat that, he did that on a single speed bike.  Stop, and think about that for a minute.  Now, go find a a hill that averages 5.5% and tips upwards of 10% in places…now, go climb that hill as fast as you can…but only using one gear.  The women’s race was won by Jenni Gaertner in 35:29.  I guess one could say that if you ride a CX bike well you have a good chance at winning the hill climb.  Neither of these times were beaten in 2011

The fastest 2010 TT times were set by Allison Beall (29:45) and Steve Wieler (28:57).  Allison won by over a minute and her 2010 record did not fall last year.  Steve was a Cat 4 (or maybe even a Cat 5 at the time) who beat a handful of Cat 2s and 3s that day.  A very nice ride by both.

In 2011 the hill climb and time trial were once again promoted.  In the TT Michael Emde obliterated the previous course record with a 27:30.  Allison Beall, once again won the womens race.  Allison also won the womens hill climb race. Neither hill climb record fell.  Jake MacArthur won the mens race with a time of 28:32, followed by Michael Emde (28:33) and JT Fountain (28:44).  The race became a bit tactical at the end and I think that may have affected the record attempt.  Two things I want to note: 1) Michael Emde did the TT early in the day, I’m sure his legs were a bit tired and 2) JT, once again, used a single speed bike.

So what will 2012 bring?  Will any records fall?  Who knows…

There is a $50 bonus to any rider that sets a new record for either event.  There will be an “off the books” bonus if the rider that sets a new hill climb record raced the TT earlier that morning.  That bonus will be another $50.  I think someone who can do that deserves a little extra…

EDITS:

It was pointed out to me by Dave Lawson that Bill Wykoff was intrumental in getting that 1998 race at Wawawai.  Bill is an excpetional cycling official, all around great guy, and he was the conference director of the Northwest Collegaite Cycling Conference for many years.

It was also noted that in 1991 there was a TTT down on the Wawawai River Road.

Wawawai time trial and hill climb - why - WHY!

Some idiot is promoting the first bike race in Eastern Washington this coming Sunday, March 4th.  Of course, that idiot, is me.

It’s a small event at a venue that I think is great for hosting a bike race.  Many cyclists in the Inland Northwest have asked me questions about the race and why I promote it.  Others have always seem to chime in with a back-handed comment about the race too.  So, here is my answers and comments to what I have heard.  A sort of FAQ about the Wawawai time trial and hill climb races.

I hate time trials.

This is one of my favorite comments that comes from a lot of cyclists.  You know why you hate time trials? Because you suck at them, that’s why.  Now, before you get all pissy with my comment…think about it.  I’ve never heard someone who is good at a TT complain about them.  Honestly, if you want to get better at them you need to do them.  Trust me, the more time trials you do the better you will get.  I think for a lot of people, what it is, is that they hate seeing people they can beat in a crit or a road race put minutes into them in a time trial.  Get over it, they are better than you in that discpline…that’s all it means.  Check your ego and race a damn TT.

A bike race in the Inland Northwest in early March?  What are you an idiot?  You can’t do that!

I will freely admit that I am an idiot.  But that is not the point.  Here is the deal…the venue that I have chosen for these races is beautiful in early March.  It will be in the lower 50s and there will be sun.  The micro-climate down on the Snake River is great.  Last year it was snowing in Spokane on race day but we had 50 degrees and some sun.  For those of you in Spokane or Coeur d’Alene it is worth the two hour drive.  I was shocked the first time I went down to Wawawai in the winter of 1999.  There was snow all over the Palouse but it felt down right balmy in the canyon.

I’m not fit, it’s not time to race yet.

Of course you are not fit.  Who is?  No one.  That does not mean you can’t start racing.  A TT and a hill climb will give you a very good idea where your fitness stands at the moment.  It will give you a wake up call (so to speak).  Also, the guy or girl who will beat you at the hill climb now…will most likely beat you in July.  The playing field is leveled. (Well, only for the TT, not the hill climb)

Why can’t you do this event later in the year?

A very valid question.  Short answer “Granite Point”.  If you went to WSU you understand why.  When the weather gets warmer you start to get a fair amount of the college kids down on Granite Point.  College kids + water + big rock structure = Beer (and lots of it).  As a promoter, I would not feel safe putting a bike race on with that scenario. 

I hate hill climbs.

Yeah, I don’t blame you, so do I.  However, this is a unique event because it’s a mass start hill climb.  It’s even more unique because I start all categories together.  You think you are a bad-ass cat 2?  You’ll probably be dropped by a cat 3 or cat 4.  If any of the cat 1-2 women in the area up you will most likely be “chicked”.  It’s fun to see where you stack up against everyone else.  Furthermore, this 11K category 2 climb will give you a good idea of your fitness.  It will also help you put down that porter that you chase with a bowl if ice cream at 9:00 at night. 

So what else can I add about the “Why” I promote the Wawawai races…

I kicked the idea around for a few years.  The one thing the Inland Northwest really needs (in my opinion) is more time trials.  There are so few.  I really didn’t understand why there were so few.  There is a huge triathlon group here as well as other people who race bikes.  Instead of complaining (the favorite past time of amateur bike racers) I decided to do something about it.  And that is how the race was born.  It’s very rare you can find a pancake flat course for 20K with very little traffic.  It’s a great place for a TT.

The “Why” for the hill climb?  Why not?  It’s a short, but brutal climb that if you don’t know very well can really kick you in the ass at the end.  It’s not nearly as hard in March.  Try climbing it in July when it’s 100 degrees.  That’s when Wawawai will really kill you.  

Finally, the main reason I wanted to promote these races is because I love bike racing and wanted to give back to the racing community here in the Inland Northwest.  Fine, they may not be the type of events you like, but that was exactly why I picked these disciplines. I wanted to promote something different.

Hopefully this clarfies some of the “why-WHY” I think you should race at Wawawai.

Wawawai Landing TT & Wawawai Grade Hill Climb

 

 Sunday March 4, 2012

Location: Wawawai Landing - Near Pullman, WA (See Directions Below).

Courses: 20K flat TT, and a hill climb up the Wawawai grade - approximately 11K with 1950+ feet of climbing

Costs: $20 per race.  USAC license required to race.   One day license for category 5 men and 4 women is $10 and available at the race. To race in category 3 races and above you must have a USCF annual license ($60), which can be purchased at www.usacycling.org.

WSBA (http://www.wsbaracing.com) numbers will be used and sold on site as well.  Rental numbers will be available at the race for a $10 rental fee (of which $5 is refundable).

Prizes: Awards plus the possibility of bonuses for new records

 REGISTER ON-LINE HERE

Race Day: Registration will open at 9:30 a.m.  Registration for the TT will close at 10:30.  Registration for the Hill climb will reopen from 12:30-1:30.  Online registration will be available at usacycling.com and is preferred.  Registration/Parking will be located at Wawawai County Park.  Parking will also be available at Wawawai Landing.  There is NO WATER at the staging area and there is NO Cell phone reception at the staging areas.

Race Details

Roads are chip-sealed and in fair to good condition.

The 20K TT is flat and it will be an out-and-back.  First rider starts at 11:00 a.m. Awards will be given out for all categories.

 

The hill climb (11K) will be a mass start race and start at 2:00 p.m.  Awards will be given out for all categories.

 

A $50 bonus will be given to the male or female that sets a new course record on the hill climb and/or the TT.

Categories offered:

Men: Cat 1/2, Cat 3, Cat 4/5, Masters 50+ (Cat 1-3)

Women: Cat 1/2/3, Cat 4

 

Course records:

Female – TT Allison Beall – (2010) – 29:45

Male – TT Michael Emde – (2011) – 27:30

Female – Hill Climb – Jenni Gaertner (2010) – 35:29

Male – Hill Climb – JT Fountain (2010) – 28:04

 

DIRECTIONS

From Pullman or Spokane: 195 South.  Turn West on WA-194 (west) which will turn into Wawawai-Pullman Road.  Turn right on Wawawai Grade road and follow it to Wawawai County Park

 

ALL USAC RULES WILL BE ENFORCED!! ALL RIDERS MUST SIGN A WAIVER!! ALL RIDERS MUST WEAR A USAC APPROVED HELMET. USAC PERMIT #2012-592

Sponsoring clubs: Kryki Sports and G.S. Gap (River City Red).  Promoter is Ted Chauvin (tchauvin@wsu.edu)

 

Time trial Profile

________________________________________________

0K                                            turn-around                                       20K

Hill climb profile

 

A few notes:

 

1)      We are using WSBA numbers for the race.  Rental numbers will be available for the race at a cost of $10 to Washington residents ($5 of which is refunded upon return of the number). There will be multiple races in Eastern WA this year that will be using WSBA numbers.  If you have questions about the WSBA and the numbers please e-mail me. 

 2)      Weather.  People are often concerned that this race is too early in the season and it’s too cold.  The Snake River Canyon is usually 10 degrees warmer than the Spokane and Pullman areas.  Last year almost all competitors were in shorts for both races

3)      Finally, please try and use the on-line registration for the race. Pictures from the 2010 TT can be found here at Cecil Williams site

Results for the 2010 TT and Hill climb.

Results for the 2011 TT and Hill climb

Results for the 2012 TT and Hill climb

Elkhorn Classic Observations

Last weekend I went to race the Elkhorn Classic Stage race for the eighth time.  I missed the first year and I also missed last year due to injury.  The courses are amazing and the setting for a 3-day 4 stage bike race is great.

Some random observations:

1)      Numbers are down all over the place for bike racing.  This was more evident at Elkhorn than at any other race I’ve done this year.  In the past I’ve started this race with 80 to a 100 other cat 3s.  Not this year.  We did not even have 50 people starting the event.  Road racing is down.  It’s a fact…how to fix that will be another blog post for some other day

2)      I’m beginning to believe I just do not have enough tattoos on my arms and legs to race with the Oregon cat 3 men.  There are so many tattoos.  Personally, a full sleeve does not bug me but for the love of all that is holy if you are going to have a shit-ton of tattoos on your body have them done by a good artist.  In the sea of inked skin I saw so many crappy looking tattoos.  Awful looking…

3)      I never thought I’d be the guy to yell “OFF THE BRAKES” in a criterium.  This past weekend I was that asshole.  You don’t need brakes in the Elkhorn Crit.  You don’t.  That’s just a fact. (and this is coming from a guy who loathes criteriums)

4)      If you drive to Baker City from Eastern Washington I recommend driving through Enterprise, OR.  The drive is stunning.  One of the best drives there is.  If you get car-sick easily…don’t try it.

5)      To the Team Oregon guy who was going to attempt to piss of his bike at the front of the peloton on stage 1…well…you are an asshole.  I’m glad myself and a few others noticed your squirrely attempt before you actually succeeded.  Moron.

6)      The food at the Best Western Sunridge Inn’s restaurant was the biggest culinary travesty I have ever experienced in my life.  Keep in mind this was after racing my bike 70+ miles that day.  I can usually eat anything after I race my bike that much.  This food was appalling.  There could (and should) be a blog post written about this “meal”.  How can you fuck up spaghetti and meatballs?  I know how…get them in Baker City, OR…

7)      Getting a flat tire on the first major climb of a stage race is a great way to ruin your GC chances.  I empirically determined this.  Meh…at least I chased really hard after my wheel change.  That’s racing.

8)      I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I can’t really do stage races anymore.  At least not until I can figure out what is wrong with me.  They take a huge toll on my body to the point where it just breaks down.  Once again I had to DNF the last stage.  We are trying to figure out the slight blood in the lungs/pulmonary edema I get when I race for days in a row.  My doctor thinks it may be a heart issue so I’m seeing a cardiologist next month.   Whatever it is, it’s frustrating as hell.  I simply can’t breathe when I’m racing on the third day of a stage race.  Oh, it’s not the world’s most over- diagnosed/misdiagnosed thing either (exercise induced asthma).  Pulling out of a race and asking for a ride to finish is an awful feeling.  I’ve worked so hard to get back to the point of being able to race my bike and now it’s something else.

9)  Bella is a great store.  Even if you are driving through Baker City on your way somewhere it’s worth a stop.  You’ll find something there.

10)   Every year the promoters harp on the amount of women that show up to the race.  I suggest they stop doing that.  Only 17 Cat 4/5 men started the last day.  Sixteen cat 1/2/3 women started the last day.  Back off of the ladies…the fields will always be smaller but give them the chance to race. 

11)   The winning time for the Masters 1/2/3 Dooley Mountain stage was only 45 seconds slower than the winning time for the Category 1-2 men.  This is why I will never race a masters category at large races.  The 3s are easier.  It’s a fact.

12)   I guess that’s enough random observations for now…and four “facts”.

See ya’ll at Cascade (I’ll never learn)

Ronde van Palouse…an epilogue

The Ronde van Palouse ended up being a shell game for me.

I most certainly do not mean a “shell game” in the respect that I was trying to trick my fellow racers into thinking that I was not feeling well…that I was feigning weakness…

…nope I got shelled.  Quickly.  Abruptly.  But that is not the type of shelled I’m speaking of.  Yesterday I realized that I am a shell of who I used to be on the bike.  What a difference a year makes.  One year ago I was killed at the Ronde van Palouse but a lot of that was due to an untimely flat.  Once I finished the race I drove 5+ hours spent the night in Tumwater, WA and raced over 90 miles the next day and felt really good doing it.  Yesterday I was spat out the back of the peloton before the race really started and after 8 miles of a group ride today I pulled the plug and rode home.  Like I said what a difference a year makes.

I can’t stress enough that the Ronde van Palouse is a brutally hard race.  I thought I was ready for it, but I was not.  In retrospect my poor performance is probably due to racing the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic last weekend and a hard ride this past week.  Realistically it’s hard to come back after what happened to me a year ago.  I’m not going to belabor that point too much.  The amount I train is not like it was a year ago.  I ride less.  I train less.  I hate the idea of training in traffic.  It freaks me out to ride in traffic.  Oh well…I need to get over it and I’m hoping the passing of April 15th helps me with that. However, I’m not an idiot.  I know the date means nothing and the reality is that there will be no magical “closure” that happens because a year has passed.  But a Man can hope…

A brief report on the “race” and I use that term lightly.  Racing occurs when you are with others and competing against them.  I probably rode 65 of the 71 miles by myself…in the wind…in the hills…in the gravel…by myself…I might as well have been doing a brutal training ride.  Yet, I finished which is a lot more than I can say for others who did the race.  If your idea of racing is sitting in a peloton all day and “hiding” form the wind or your competitors then the RVP is not for you.  The RVP is a hard race.  It’s not only physically tough…but mentally tough as well.  I quit it many times yesterday.  In fact, I quit bike racing as a whole many times yesterday…but I still finished the race.  The wind was brutal.  The course, although no big climbs, has no flat spots either.  You are always going up and into the headwind or a crosswind but always some type of damn wind.

I’m a big science dork.  I like to analyze everything. People who really know me would say I overanalyze everything.  I downloaded my data from the race and was shocked  at what  I saw.  This was the hardest ride I had done in three years.  No wonder I hurt so badly.  The amount of work I did?  Over 3200 kJ.  Think about that for a second.  When was the last time you went out on a Saturday afternoon and decided to burn 3200 calories?  What. A. Fucking. Idiot. I. Am. 

Normal people do yard work or go shopping on their Saturday.  Me…I did the Ronde van Palouse.  And even after my misery that I endured yesterday, the time I spent in the 10th circle of hell known as Rattlers Run road, and the self doubt I possessed…I know I’ll be back again.  And I suggest that you come race it too. 

Come race the Ronde Van Palouse!

The Ronde Van Palouse is this weekend in Spangle, Washington.  If you race bicycles or pretend that you are an amateur bike racer I suggest you do the race.  Spokane Rocket Velo (SRV) is promoting this race for the second year and hopefully it will start to grow.   It is one of the toughest courses in the state of Washington that is currently used for bike races (Which is the toughest?  I would say the Malaga course in Wenatchee.)   No courses in Western Washington come close as far as difficulty and none of the Walla Walla courses stack up either.

The beauty of the RVP course is not the four mile stretch gravel/dirt road you have to ride but the unrelenting hills of the Palouse and the wind that accompanies them.  It’s brutal.  Absolutely brutal but fun as hell…if, and only if, you are a bike racer.  Oh, the scenery is kind of nice too.  In a Palouse sort of way.

There are a list of excuses local riders and racers will have for not doing the race and I highly doubt anyone from Western Washington will travel over to race on Saturday.  However, I feel that I should chime in and try to convince a few of you.  Hell, if I can convince one person who was on the fence about doing this race to try it I will be happy.

So just to address a few “issues” that people have brought up:

 “I’d love to do the race but the Volunteer Park Criterium is happening the same day over here in Seattle…it’s a classic!”

Okay, you’re right.  It’s a classic and it’s the first crit of the year.  I get all that.  I really do.  But here are the other facts.  You suck at crits and there is no way you are going to win it.  There are about five people in each category who actually have a legitimate shot at winning it and you, well, you are not one of them.  Don’t delude yourself.  Fine, you might win a Gu prime.  Big deal.  You hate Gu anyways.  Try something different.

“Really?  You expect me to drive all the way to Spokane, get a hotel, pay for gas, etc…when there are two races in Western WA that same weekend?”

Nope, I don’t expect you to do anything.  But please, don’t use the money and drive thing as an excuse.  For the love of all that is holy you own a $1500 carbon fiber wheel set that you only use on race day and at STP (I won’t make fun of you for doing the corporate challenge gig thing at STP…not yet).  You also own a power meter.  You are a cat 4 and you spend more money on your cycling equipment than you did on your wife’s engagement ring.  Get over the money thing.  As far as the drive goes?  You’ll spend five hours in a car to race around a tiny lake in March that you never would have known about if it was not for bike racing.  Last year I did both the RVP and the Olympic View Road Race.  You can do both.  You can race a hard race in the Spokane area and then drive over to Olympia to race again the next day.  You then can bitch all day long about you “long transfer” you had the night before.  So pro…

Seriously though, I did both RVP last year and the OVRR and my ass was kicked.  It was a great weekend of bike racing.  I was going to fly at Walla Walla. But things changed.

“There’s gravel in the race.  I’m a roadie.  Not a mountain biker or a cyclocross rider.  Plus, it’s not good for my bike.”

It’s freakin’ gravel.  It’s not boulders and nails.  It’s not like there are landmines strewn about the course.  It’s not that big of a deal.  And your bike?  Your bike will be fine.  You are probably the same type of guy/gal who worries about putting their bike on a roof rack.  It’s a tool.  A bike gets you from point A to point B.  You can race on it too.  And if you think your Dura-ace crank is going to get messed up from racing it on an unpaved road I suggest you get into therapy…or better yet…go back to racing triathlons where you obviously belong.  Bunch of freakin’ pansies…

“I’m a triathleteand this type of road race intimidates me.”

First off…my condolences.  I hope you can get through this time in your life and you eventually realize being “okay” at three different sports is not a good way to go through life.   Second, look at who won the cat 4 race last year.

“I’m not quite in race shape yet, and it’s such a hard race I’ll just get dropped.”

Reality check.  You’ve been saying that same thing for the last couple years.  Are you a bike racer?  Or are you a bike rider who spends $60 on your club’s jersey? (by the way, I suggest you spend $60 on a few other shirts…sheesh…have you seen your wardrobe as of late?  Get some priorities!)  The best way to get into shape is to race yourself into shape and this race will kick your fat/skinny ass.  It will make you realize a few things too.  1) that you are in shape, 2) that you are not in shape but you are ready to actually commit to training, 3) You are a total bike race poser, it’s time to admit that you are a club rider and that centuries and STP are all you really care about.

“I can’t race, I’m volunteering”

I thank you very much kind sir/madam.  Thanks for your help, it’s greatly appreciated.

“I was miserable last year”

So was I.  Just like I was miserable every time I did Columbia Plateau.  Yet I kept going back.  An “n” of one is not a large enough sample size to let you know if you truly like something or not.  Come back and try it again.  I am.  It will be better this time.  Unless you are just a miserable person…this race can’t help you with that.

“The fields are probably going to be small.”

Nice attitude jackass.  Of course they are going to be smaller if you don’t show up.  Who cares about field size?  What are you grubbing for upgrade points or something?  Here’s the deal with upgrading…you are either good or you are not.  Upgrades come when you are ready for it.  Small fields?  Every field has been down this year.  Did you see the pathetic turnout at Mason Lake?  As Shawn Howard once told me, “Racers, race.”  Show up and race.

“I have family commitments that day.”

Good…go do that…we don’t want your kind around here anyways.  Of course, I kid with that.  That’s the most legitimate excuse there is.  In fact, it’s not an excuse, its called life….I don’t fault you at all.

“I like to race Masters.  I just don’t have the time or the ability to compete in categorized races anymore.”

Did you look at the race flyer dumbass?  There are master fields for 40+, 50+, and 60+.  I hope your name got picked for RAMROD… 

“Speaking of masters…The Masters is on this weekend.  I really want to watch that”

If you have a bike worth over 3K and you don’t have a DVR you are an idiot.  That is all.

“I just tore by ACL.”

Another legitimate excuse, I only threw this one in because this just happened to Kris Holden.  Kris towed me around for 30 miles last year in the wind at RVP.  It was brutal.  It’s unfortunate he can’t race it this year.  Actually, he’d still crush me with a torn ACL…hopefully he does not show up. 

“I’m peaking for the first Tuesday night race that happens on April 12.  I want to win the first series!”

I have nothing to say to you.

“It sounds like you are going to be there and racing the race Ted.  The thing is I try and avoid you because you seem like such an opinionated asshole.”

Guilty as charged…well…in the “opinionated” part.  I’m really not an asshole.  It’s a façade.  I’m actually a nice guy who really loves bike racing and I want you to check this race out.  It will be like no other race you have done.  Trust me…

For more information on the race and some great quotes about it see this month’s issue of “Out There”.  Specifically pages 24 and 25. (that caption on the picture lies by the way…Alan was working the race last year…he did not race it…he laughed at us the whole time…I heard him and his bawdy laugh when I flatted and he drove on by…)

Full disclaimer:  I am in no way associated with SRV, I spend way more money on bike clothing than I do on regular clothing, I bitch all the time about money and the cost of racing yet I continue to drop a lot of money on my bikes, I’m a mid-pack cat 3 on a good day, and I’ll be getting my ass kicked on Saturday and I’ll have a smile on my face while it happens.