Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jeff Cup-Kenda Race Report

by Tracy Rankin

"Jeff Cup 2009
Bad Day for Earthworms
Good Day for Kendas

It will take way too much brain-power at this point to write in verse, so we’ll have to settle for good ole prose.

First bike race of the season and, as usual, we are all watching the weather hourly. The conditions at Jeff Cup have ranged from 75 and gorgeous to 30 and snowing over the years. And, this year was no different. Oh, for a pocket Jim Cantore!

I took the chance and made reservations at the Doubletree in C’ville. Government rate—sweet! Hooked up with Liz at Chez Epting and headed down 29 past a long stream of strip malls full of Appleby’s and Sheetz gas stations while eeking out a life history from Liz. She cheerfully answered all my queries whilst seriously knitting gloves. She managed two fingers by the time we arrived and I suspect the gloves will be a complete pair just in time for the Fourth of July.

Met up with Chris at the hotel (they had a hot tub—who knew!) and headed out for dinner. Eyetalian is always a good choice and we ended up at Anna’s on Maury Ave. With the NCVC Junior Team and lots of locals exiting with pink and white balloons (clearly—we had missed the real party). And I still have absolutely no idea what Chris ended up with for dinner. There were many negotiations with the waitress and it became too difficult to follow after a bit. While deftly avoiding full-on JW, we learned of the aforementioned association of erstwhile teammate Sue H. and Dave Matthews. Hmmm. My college housemates had absolutely no musical talent, but we did live next door to a colorful local family with live roosters and interesting lawn ornaments.

The morning dawned foggy and gray, the operative words being foggy and gray. Warmish, though, for Jeff Cup—a big 51 degrees! We soon learned from DC Veloer Randy Thrasher that the road just before the finish was strewn the night before with fine broken glass. With very wet roads from the rain the day before, this resulted in several flats in all the fields even before the start! Joyous. The road was also strewn with poor, lumbering earthworms—stranded by the storms. They didn’t stand a chance.

Once off, everybody was a bit anxious, as usual. The first time up the winery hill proved to be the split—again, as usual. Not sure who was pushing the pace, but I’m sure it involved a microscopic little person with 5% body fat. At the bottom of the follow hill, the grouplet hit the tempo gas and ended up with a gap quickly that just widened over the course of the race. I didn’t even look back to see who was with until Lap 3, although I soon realized that Liz didn’t make the break and I was alone with 2 Juice Pluses, 3 CycleLifes and some others. Deidre W. (her thighs are indeed bigger than my waist) and Sondra E. tried a couple of breaks, as did the Microscopic Little Person (not sure of her name—she was in red and black, appropriately) every time we hit the winery hill. I swear once up the hill, the jersey in front of me was sponsored by “Come to Jesus!” (Upon more careful inspection, it was actually Channel 13 News). Not being quite race fit at this point in the season, I got gapped on the last time up the hill, but was determined not to let Stefan in front of me! I crested about 10 meters off and went screaming down the other side to catch the group. Unfortunately, I really had nothing left at that point and simply could only hang on for the final sprint, finishing 8th.

Troll survived unscathed. Smiling to the end.

Post-mortem revealed a 2nd place finish for JH in the 35+. Yay! Chris suffered a flat and Liz sprinted in with the second group."