by Dave Delperdang
Tim and I headed over to New Hartford for the Iowa Gravel Road Championships. This was my first gravel road race and my sixth race for the year. This would be only the second race this year that I didn’t start with arm warmers on. For those of you that know me, I define cool as anything under 70 degrees.
Racing on a tank of a bike (a mid-priced hybrid frame and a hodge-podge of old parts, Bio-pace chain ring, friction shifter, etc.), I still felt good about a chance at medaling. The Masters 50+ was part of wave that included Cat 4 and 40+ riders. Tim was only one of two people on MTBs, and several were racing their road bikes straight up. So Tim and I got to start together. We had the hope of being able to help one another at some point. The first long grade up was very fast, and I saw all the 50+ riders get dropped. Tim was holding about 5th wheel. I lost a little ground to the lead group by the top of hill (tank of a bike) but easily caught back the group on the way down. I felt comfortable on the flats - too bad there wasn’t much of that. Finishing the first lap, I couldn’t see anyone behind us. On the second time up the long climb, I lost the lead group and couldn’t chase them back this time. Tim was just OTB of the lead group of 4 (3 Cat 2s and a Cat 4). A Cat 4 rider and I started working together until about 2 ½ miles into the second lap when I flatted. I forgot to put my flat kit in my back pocket like I always do. It was lying in the back of Tim’s van. Thinking that my race was over, I started to walk back to the finish line. I walked for about a mile when “Blue Colnago” stopped and gave me his tube and mini pump. I quickly got the tube changed and started riding with John Adamson and two Cat 5 riders racing for first and second. They finished after four laps; I still had two to go. In the next two laps I caught and passed a few riders, and on the last time up the long grade to the finish line I was able to ride down and pass two more riders.
I finished fourth in the 50+, but to my surprise, I won the Bronze for the Iowa Gravel Road Championship. There must have been someone from out of state. Tim raced solo after the second lap, finishing 5th over all and 2nd Place Cat 4, but he won the Gold as the Cat 4 winner was from Minnesota. When I got home and was about to throw out the inner tube, I found a big chunk of metal sticking out of it. Darn that flat, as NISPIN could have had two Golds for the day.
While we missed the camaraderie of doing the Tour of the Rocks, it was a great day! Also a big thank you to Blue Colnago with Bike Tech who gave me his tube and pump. I was able to keep riding on such a beautiful day.
Now on to Chequamegon and hopefully a few PRs!