It was an unforgettable night in an unforgettable season. The riders were warmly greeted by almost ideal weather for the story book ending of a season no one will likely forget for a long time.
We were blessed with another record this night, as Matt Tingley bested his previous Hand Cycle time by 30 seconds at 36:28. Again - phenomenal when only using your arms! That straight out supine position is just so super aero! We had 3 other riders attempt to set records, namely Jason Carpenter (Vintage), Steve Chapman (Hand Cycle), and of course our perennial favorite, Ralph Buckingham (Men). All three were off the record by 20 to 60 seconds, so no cigar for them this last night. Ralph's story was a true vision of ultimate effort that nearly paid off several times over the Summer, only to be thwarted by various conditions. But he lost nothing except the grand prize itself, as he gained invaluable experience and engaged in tremendous competition to help him soar to new heights. He was the overall points winner this year at Grattan, and I truly believe his efforts on Mondays helped him excel there.
It was another good night for several season PRs, 11 out of 34 riders. Tarra DaPrato set her best time in 7 years at 36:20! The new pavement remains benevolent. Many riders took up my call for hauling out little used bikes and some working in teams. The variety of bicycles was sure fun to watch!
We awarded our points contest winners after the competition concluded. In Burton 1st - Patti Bills, 2nd- Judy "Shy" Crankshaw, 3rd - Tie with Kim Westdorp and Nikki Macedo. Merckx 1st - Jason Carpenter, 2nd - Chuck Damon, 3rd - Robert Brouwer. Women - 1st - Tarra DaPrato, 2nd - Jill Martinek, 3rd - Heather Wiersma. Men 1st - Ralph "Don't feel sorry for him" Buckingham, 2nd - Dave Hietikko, 3rd - Roger "I'm six years younger now" Bonga. Congrats to all for making it a great competition. The real winners are EVERYONE - as the whole group elevated their efforts to compete, and all were much fitter than when they started.
We made it through the year with a skeleton crew. No incidents, no injuries, and no one got the Mexican Beer virus! I really owe it to the riders who were so appreciative of this opportunity that they all behaved in an exemplary fashion to make our job so smooth. I certainly could not have done it without the cooperation of many fine fellow riders sharing this passion for cycling and competition. We all went into this wondering if we were crazy. Maybe we were. But this event was also the lifeline to sanity for many in a certainly tumultuous time.
And I certainly had a lot of help along the way. I want to thank Shane Wiersma for offering to calculate the points contest each week, which he did quickly and accurately, saving me a ton of time. Roger Bonga posted some items on Facebook, and then my other helpers consisted of Michael Walenta (quite often!), Andy Crowley, Cal Hekman, Judy Crankshaw, Bob Ayars, and Mary "da wife" Durkee.
But I must end this diatribe with one last thought to the future. Amid my duties at registration, starting, doing photography, then handling the awards I still had a mindful eye toward the far periphery of the main events. Lurking beneath the waves like the proverbial Leviathan was one powerful rider, mysteriously shrouded in black, with a long awaited destiny near his grasp. Quiet in demeanor, he speaks volumes with his heart, mind, and legs. I'm of course talking about Tom Burke, once again our best ever time of the season on the course this year at 30:29. As far back as my records go, Tom has recorded the best ever time on the course every year now for the last 7 years! The time he posted at 30:29 is the best he's ever done over that time period too. But there's something more special about that time. As Ralph Buckingham knows all too well, Jason Swiatlowski's Men's Amateur record set in 1996 is 30:27. Do the math folks - Tom could have broken that record if he had found 3 seconds out there somewhere and made an official run at it. What will happen next year? Will it be Ralph renewed from the Winter when he achieves his goal in finding an extra 20 watts of power? Or will destiny finally call Tom to his anointed place? Like all good serial stories, you'll have to curtail that breathless anticipation and tune in next season for the answer.
Ralph Buckingham came within a hair's width of breaking the Men's 24 year record, only to be waylaid by an errant chain at the turn-around. Dropping the chain on the inside meant taking about a 20 second delay to reach down and put it back on. When it was all said and done he was about - guess again - 20 seconds off the record. Later Dave Hietikko would tell Ralph "What do you have, some type of voodoo curse?" That's twice this year Ralph has had a time consuming event while on a record breaking pace. Live and learn....
But as fast as that was, the honor of fastest ride of the night goes to the former State TT Champion, Tom Burke at 30:37. That's pretty close to Tom's best time on the course for several years now. It's awful close to that amateur men's course record time of 30:27. Tom tells me he attributes the good time to his latest bike and the smoother road, not necessarily his level of conditioning. When I asked him if he also would like an official crack this year at the Men's record, he declined to make a commitment, stating that he knew his level of conditioning was not yet optimum for his best attempt. "Maybe next year" he tells me. Rounding out the top 4 men all breaking the 33 minute barrier was first timer Francis Manfred and then Dave Hietikko. All excellent rides.
We did have a record set tonight in the inaugural Burton class by Patti Bills at 45:02. She was a double winner as she nipped Judy Crankshaw for first place in the Points contest. Congrats to Patti!
We also had another record attempt in the Hand Cycle class. But it was not to be for Steve Chapman, as his one wheel in the air acrobatic act in the General Lee at...where else....the turn around....put him in the ditch. Remarkably, he had exactly the same time he had the week before at 37:49 - which is still pretty good for just using your arms. Daisy Duke would have been impressed. Luckily Boss Hog was nowhere to be seen.
It was a rather warm and humid night, but nearly absent was the gusty breeze of previous weeks. Enough calm for 19 out of 36 riders to set PRs for the season. Roger Bonga had a plan to watch his close opponent in the Points contest by following Shane Wiersma who was 30 seconds ahead of him. For Shane to tie Roger in the points contest and share 3rd place money, Shane needed to beat Roger, and have a rider finish between them. Well, Kevin Smith obliged and set a time between them, but it was the wrong order for Shane. Roger almost caught Shane at the line in a huge bike weaving sprint that even Peter Sagan would have envied. Kudos to Shane for winning the criterium, even though he lost the time trial. Oh well, can't win everything. Spectacular to watch though!
What a great season for the Points contest. It was so competitive, that very few riders rode any other categories. We will award the winners next week right after the time trials in the parking lot. They are: Women - 1st Tarra DaPrato $300, 2nd Jill Matinek $200, 3rd Heather Wiersma $100. Men - 1st Ralph Buckingham $300, Dave Hietikko $200, 3rd Roger Bonga $100. Burton - 1st Patti Bills $150, 2nd Judy Crankshaw Beer, 3rd Kim Westdorp $50. Merckx - 1st Jason Carpenter $150, 2nd Chuck Damon $100, 3rd Robert Brouwer $50. Be prepared to have your pictures taken on the podium!
Since the Points contest is over, I think a "fun" night for our last night of the season is in order!! For those not attempting course or personal records, think about riding something different. Bring the old mountain bike, fixie, vintage, cross, tandem, etc. Ride in teams of 2 or more riders. Mix it up! It would be a memorable finish to the season to just enjoy the last hoorah in style.
History was made on several fronts this week, most notably the Hand Cycle record was not merely clipped, but resoundly smashed by not 1, but 2 riders! Hand Cyclist group leader Steve Chapman was one of the riders, and he told me to say "smashed" to give his pal Matthew Chaffee a ribbing for eclipsing last year's record of 40:31. Steve himself rode a 37:49! But the honors go to Matt Tingley with an arm busting 36:58! Many regular leg powered riders remarked how amazed they were to see Matt whizzing by them like a cruise missile. That record may last a while.
However the rest of the night was like a mad math equation: 2V - 3MH = 1MN - (2 victories - 3 mishaps = 1 memorable night). I already alluded to the 2 victories above, but the mishaps? Let me tell you! #1. Cal Hekman and I were starting riders out, when I noticed rider #27, Matt Heath, had only gone 200 meters down the road and stopped and got off his bike to look at his chain. As often happens, I imagined he dropped the chain to the outside of the large chainring. But then he walked back to the the park. After we got all the riders off, I went to check on him, and the sight of his drivetrain was like a carnival ride. The chain was off the front chainring like I thought, but at the rear cassette the chain was wrapped about 3x around about 4 cogs at the same time. In the middle of the mess was his rear derailleur, imprisoned like a war criminal by the chain, completely snapped off about 1 cm from the attachment bolt. Luckily the derailleur hanger and frame was ok, but the derailleur was trash. His explanation? "I guess I have too much power... I felt something, but I just kept on hammering" #2. One of several new riders to the TT, #29 Jeffrey Goodrich, came up to me as I was ready to launch rider #33, and said "Did I miss my start time?" Duh - yea -!! I guess everyone can make a rookie mistake, you get 1 or 2 of those, but it couldn't happen at a worse time. Rider #34 was Ralph Buckingham on a record attempt, and there was nothing I wanted to do but launch him on time. Which leads me to Mishap #3 - and a new math equation: 1DD + 1CH << 1 JD (1 Dave Durkee plus 1 Cal Hekman is far less than 1 Jochen Ditterich). You see, Cal and I together had been asking everyone their number and getting them off on time, all the way through rider # 28. Then rolls up #30 Dave Hietikko, who I KNOW remembers his number, so I don't ask him to verify it for me. Off he goes, unknown to me at the time he just left 30 seconds early. So did rider #31 and #32. Then Jeffrey arrives, and I had a total of 10 seconds to A. Figure out what the heck went wrong, B. Curse at myself, C. Become depressed, D. Contemplate suicide, then E. Calmed myself into a solution: "Cal - we need to hold rider #33 30 seconds to get him on time (checked my stop watch, we were at 16 min, 15 seconds then, ready to launch rider #33 at 16:30). I then tell Jeffrey he is now rider #35. Rider #33, Chuck Damon goes off on time, so does our ultra speedster #34 Ralph, then Jeffery. Whew! Some more math adjustments with riders #30, #31, #32, and the times are all good. Jochen would be glad to know that he is missed, and not easily replaced.
But we need to talk about more math, as the Points Contest only has 1 more night to accumulate points! We'll give out the cash prizes on our last night on August 31st. The Women's contest is locked up, I can put the names on the envelopes now. All 3 riders came very consistently this year and deserve the reward. For the Men, #1 and #2 are almost a lock if both show up. The real contest, like before, is between Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma. Shane tightened the race this week by beating Roger on time by a mere 7 seconds, but Shane is still 2 points down. Can Shane still take it to Roger? Can Shane beat another rider faster than Roger to take 2 points? Will Roger go on vacation? Such intrigue! There's also drama in the Burton class with a tie for first with Patti Bills and Judy Crankshaw. Who will show up? Who will win? 3rd place is held by Nikki Macedo barely 1 point ahead of Kim Westdorp, but Nikki hasn't ridden since end of June. Viewers - don't switch that channel as real excitement is ahead for the Burton class. And Merckx - a yawner. Jason Carpenter has a 15 point lead over Chuck Damon, and will likely be gone to Istanbul next week to buy a carpet. I'm going to predict that Chuck Damon will take 2nd place, as who he is tied with now, Robert Brouwer, has been like a Sailor on shore leave and not seen for weeks.
And our record attempting machine - Ralph Buckingham? Came so close to beating the 24 year Men's record again - by a mere 10 seconds. Everyone is pulling for him, asking if this was the week he did it. How close can you get to the ring on the carousel before you finally grab it? Someday -soon - will be the charm.
Cooler weather greeted the cycling enthusiasts this Monday night. With heavier air, times were slightly slower for the top tier riders by about 20 seconds. Marcus Haw in his first night out this year came in first, exclaiming "the wind....", which was not severe at 8-12 mph, but slightly gusty. It did not deter several riders with room to improve yet this year in marking their best times of the year. Kim Westdorp, Jeff Petersen, Edwin Choi, Eric "I hate hot weather" Hansen, Dave "Tennis Shoe" Tomasik, Jill Martinek, and Heather Wiersma all had season best times. Good to see their conditioning still improving. I was particularly impressed with Edwin Choi. For someone that just 2 years ago could not break 43 minutes no matter what he did, he showed with some work, a plan, and some improvement in positioning and technique he WAS capable of breaking the 40 minute barrier. I'm sure he'll remember this night for a long time. He certainly deserved it.
The real story in August is the Points Contest race to the finish. The last night to score points will be August 24th. The last night of the Time Trials will be August 31st, and right after the riders are done that night, we'll award the top 3 cash prizes for Burton, Merckx, Men, and Women classes. (If you're wondering what that means about a little shindig at the Gravel Bottom Brewery - you guessed it - you'll have to wait till 2021 at least for that. So sorry!) In the Women's points contest Tarra DaPrato pretty well has 1st place locked up. But what a contest between Jill Martinek and Heather Wiersma! A very similar situation for 3rd place in the Men's contest between Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma, and same situation for 3rd in the Merckx class between Chuck Damon and Joe Vago. It's about this time most cyclists would be making effigies of their competitors out of old Clement tubulars, tying them to an Italian wine bottle, and burning them while citing lines from Breaking Away or Quicksilver - all in hopes of placating the cycling gods to their favor. OR - just keep showing up and riding hard!
(PS - Any lines quoted from American Flyer have the reverse juju - so don't try it!)
Time Trials Coordinator
Not exactly the perfect night with a slightly gusty West wind, but still perfect enough for not 1, not 2, but 7 ALL TIME Personal Records! Let's break it down:
Women's class saw Tarra DaPrato accept my challenge from last week and bested her previous all time best of 36:41 in 2018 with an improvement of 18 seconds for a 36:23. I'd be watching out for her the rest of the year. A new bike on Monday that "didn't feel right" to her still carried her to new heights. Just wait till she gets comfortable. You know she's thinking of new goals when she asks me what Marie Dersham's Women's record was set in 2016. I tell her "34:53". She knows that's maybe too far off, but I remind her about breaking the magical 36:00 minute mark, as you need to do about 25 mph to do it. It's good goal for anyone. Tarra also has a commanding lead in the points contest. I can't see her losing it. It would be a nice feather in her cap after taking 2nd place for the last 2 years.
The Merckx class had no less than 3 brand new riders tonight. Welcome! Still, Jason Carpenter is not very cooperative in giving up his top spot with a nice 38:21. Not his season best though! Close behind was newcomer James Hildreth at 38:58. Our regular rider, Chuck Damon, did have his all time best ride at 40:40. After kind-of hitting the wall and going backwards, it was a really nice comeback. Maybe my advice about resting once in awhile instead of riding EVERY day is helping. Then there's Jack Wright with his best ever 44:03 time. Last year Jack won a top 3 prize in the points contest. So with his strong performance he has to be in the hunt - right? No sir! Only good enough for last place this week and 5th overall in the points contest. He deserves better!! He's just a victim of very stiff competition this year. Still, kudos on the best ever ride.
The Men's class saw 4 riders with their best ever rides: Dave Hietikko (2nd place - 32:31), Ed Gilde (3rd place - 36:11), Shane Wiersma (6th place 37:05), and Mike Gordon (9th place - 40:10). Dave Hietikko had been musing all year about breaking the 33 minute barrier. Last Monday he smashed it. Shane Wiersma told me he thinks he found the secret: Don't ride so hard on the weekend. There's that "proper rest" theme coming up again! I've been harping on that since the end of June. Two other riders had season best times with Roger Bonga (5th place - 37:02) and "Do it again" Dave Ryskamp repeating his best time from last week (7th place - 37:59). What are the chances of that happening? The Men's points contest still has two clear leaders with Ralph Buckingham in 1st and Dave Hietikko in 2nd. The real contest is still for 3rd between Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma, separated by only 2 points. And this week Roger clipped Shane by a mere 3 seconds! If Shane had been 4 seconds faster, they would have been tied in the points contest now. That's a rivalry to watch! No money for 4th place!!
We had more Hand Cyclists out on one day than I ever remember. Steve Chapman is recruiting a team of riders, and is asking about bringing quite few in two weeks as part of some large gathering in Grand Rapids. That would be awesome to see. Hand Cyclists have it good on Grand River now with a clean wide shoulder, and they are taking advantage of it.
The Burton class points contest has gotten quite interesting. Our early season leader, Nikki Macedo, has been absent lately, and it didn't take but a couple of rides for Patti Bills to tie her. Patti also had her season best ride at 45:46. Not far behind was "looks as fast as lightening" Judy Crankshaw with her season best 47:34.
I just have to mention both John Crankshaw (Cyclocross) and Dave Tomasik (Vintage) for keeping a Time Trial tradition alive: "Race what you bring. We'll time anything"
And lastly, how is Ralph Buckingham doing on his assault on the Men's Amateur record? He's trying every week. It's definitely a 100% effort each week. He's analyzing where he can pick up some more speed. He's learning the nuances of the course, wind, temperature. Clothing - bike - wattage. Everything. Came so close 2 weeks ago, within 5 seconds. Like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier - he's trying to beat that demon in the sky. But yet it eludes him. Try riding 1st instead of last. No luck yet. Killing the competition at Grattan each week. Still no luck. What to do -- ??
I was talking to Tarra DaPrato about what works for her and she suggested some tips which I agree Ralph should try in the remaining 5 weeks of time trials:
1. Take some time off, or a lighter schedule before the all out attempt (there's that rest properly theme again)
2. Go later in the order so:
a. A west wind will die off better for the return
b. More rabbits to chase down the road
On the night Ralph almost broke the record, it was a fluke he was caught in too much traffic in the last 1/4 mile. He should try going near last again several times. One of them will be golden.
Dave Durkee, Time Trials Coordinator, Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club
The Time Trial gods were kind to many riders this last Monday. I had several riders claim in almost ideal conditions that they had set their own Personal Records (PR). I realized the times for many seemed a little quicker, but I did not know by how much. So I did a little research and added a column in the results for some riders' best times from the last 7 years. Of note were Ed Gilde, Brad Leedy, Jeff Petersen, and Edwin Choi. All four of them bested their best times EVER by 30 to 90 seconds. Congrats to Edwin Choi for the largest improvement over last year's PR of 41:31 with a 40:08. He's close to breaking the magic 40 minute barrier! Pop the Champaign when that happens!! That comes from some good structured training Edwin has used over the Winter, and the new road surface certainly does help. Four riders in one night tells you something. Roger Bonga had the best time he's had in 4 years. John Crankshaw turned back the age-clock 6 years - he even looked younger. Something's in the water. Or on the road - like smooth new tarmac. Or the hairspray.
Tarra DaPrato told me she had her PR on Monday and was quite happy to break 37 minutes. But she was just 5 seconds off her best ever performance in 2018 of 36:41. She may break that yet this year.
The points contest for the Men and Merckx has two clear front runners in each category. Third place is competitive in both, but the gap between 2nd and 3rd place may be too much to overcome in those categories. Roger Bonga and Shane Wiersma are in a "who's going to blink first" contest. First rider not to show up one week may lose 3rd place for good. My money's on them both showing up like a dog to the Frisbee at the lake. Almost rabid!
Dave Durkee - Time Trials Coordinator - Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club
Perfect weather almost resulted in a perfect ride from Ralph Buckingham in his attempt to break the Men's Amateur record on Monday. The record was well in hand too as he rounded the final corner. I saw him arrive right on time to make it close enough to eclipse the 24 year record of 30:27 - but it was not to be this night. Surrounded by cars and riders in the final turn, he had no choice but to apply the brakes, losing about 5 seconds of time in the process. How close did he come to breaking the record? You guessed it - 5 seconds. That's all that separated Ralph from history and his destiny. But there's still time yet this Summer. You can just feel it.
We had more riders this night than any other night so far this Summer with 23 riders.
Till next week!
Time Trials Coordinator
What a glorious christening we had of the new tarmac on Monday. We almost witnessed history in the making as Ralph Buckingham reached for the stars in his attempt to break the 24 year old Men's record set by Jason Swiatlowski at 30:27. Ralph's time of 30:42 is a mere 15 seconds off, and a full 39 seconds faster than his previous best time on June 15th of 31:21. So close!! I think it's merely a matter of time, weather, and mental concentration and we'll crown a new Men's champion.
And the new tarmac certainly did help, as I predicted. I estimated that riders would be 30 to 60 seconds faster on the new surface, and according to my calculations the group as a whole was 1 minute 7 seconds faster than on June 15th. I know the riders are getting better anyway, but a major part of the improvement is the new road.
All the women improved this week. Our steady threesome of Tarra DaPrato, Jill Martinek, and Heather Wiersma all posted improved times from June 15th, with Heather being the most improved with a 1:08 time savings.
The Merckx class is getting very competitive in the points contest now that there is season ending money on the line. Jason Carpenter nipped Robert Brouwer by 31 seconds to take first place and gain another point on Robert.. Newcomer Mike Gordon did a fine job in holding down 3rd place.
I wanted to thank my 3 helpers this week: Andy Crowley, Michael Walenta, and Riley Combs. Andy was our turn around person for the record attempt, and even had time to bring back some pizza from Lowell for the crew! Michael performed Jochen's usual job with counting down the riders, while I did some holding of riders at the line. All went great for such a hot night.
See the attached pdfs of the results and thanks again to Shane Wiersma for the Points Contest calculations.
Time Trials Coordinator
Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club
The adventures with the choppy pavement on Grand River continued again this week, and to just perfect weather for riding a bike. If you enjoy 40 minutes of pain anyway. Like I do - ;-)
We had 19 riders, up from 13 last week. The word is slowly leaking out that the Time Trials are back on, although with a skeleton crew. I like it that way for starters so we can control the mongering masses later with more experience with the social distancing routines.
We had two riders in the new Beryl Burton class tonight, braving the course sans aero bars. Judy Crankshaw rode harder than she had all year to take top honors over newcomer Nikki Macedo. Congrats to both. Speaking of Judy, she's a proud founding member of "The Old Geezer's Club", which includes John Crankshaw and Cal Hekman. They claim they look really good out riding together when 70+ year old Dave Ryskamp is NOT around. (Dave makes all 70+ year old riders look bad with his usually sub-40 minute rides on our course). But I think the three of them have been hanging around together way too long. Not only are they starting to look like each other, but their times are almost the same at about 49:30! They really need to get out of the house and meet other people.
We had the culmination of a several month smack-down occur this week. Jason Carpenter on his steel Vintage bike had been challenging Jill Martinek to a duel on the road, winner takes all. Jill wasn't going to take any of that baloney and told him "bring it on!". Now, Jill is pretty fast on her TT bike, but Jason claimed he was in the best shape of his life after staying home for months on end. Knowing the challenge was on, I fueled the fire by putting Jason 30 seconds behind Jill at the start. Well, somewhere before the turn around, Jason catches Jill. I would believe there would have been some fireworks or other shenanigans when he passed her, but all our attempts at finding webcam footage of the incident have mysteriously come up missing. Police are now interviewing witnesses. Although no physical harm came to either one, this is not likely over anytime soon.
On a more serious note, Ralph Buckingham continued his quest to set the Men's amateur course record, previously set in 1996 at 30:27 by Jason Swiatlowski. Thanks to Michael Walenta's help, I was able to send a turn around person to the halfway point for verification of the turn. But even with better weather conditions, Ralph's outstanding time of 31:37 is still about a minute off. Now, a minute doesn't sound like much, does it? But at 28 mph+, a minute is very difficult to eliminate. The largest enemy to going faster for elite riders is overcoming the wind resistance. Because wind resistance increases not in a linear fashion, but exponentially, the amount of wattage to overcome that resistance (all other things being equal) has to also increase almost exponentially. A good online calculator I found is at: https://www.gribble.org/cycling/power_v_speed.html . The graphs represent the amount of power needed to go various speeds. You can see that to go from 20 mph to 25 mph requires about an extra 146 watts of power. To go from 25 mph to 30 mph requires a whopping extra 214 watts! Now in Ralph's case, he's already moving at 28.5 mph, producing about 466 watts average. To tie the record, he needs just 1 more mph speed. The calculator says he'll need to produce 514 watts, or an extra 48 watts. That's a tall order for sure!
But there are other ways to increase speed without plain upping the wattage. A lightweight bike helps with disc wheels, etc., but the biggest bang for the buck is rider position and clothing. Aerodynamic drag of the rider is the largest enemy at those speeds. Fine tuning the clothing, helmet, shoe covers, hand position, body position, and comfort all contribute to high performance.
And then there's the road surface. I told Ralph that I had been around this course long enough to remember several times when new smooth pavement went down, and the times dramatically improved. In about 1986 the course had brand new smooth tarmac end to end, and a call went out to the current state time trial champion, Randy Dickerson from the Breakaway (Muskegon) Bike Club, to come and set a record on the course, since "there was never going to be a better time to try". Sure enough, a sub 35 minute time was recorded with his regular steel road bike (no TT bikes in those days). The record stood for several years. I told Ralph this story, almost to apologize for the poor current condition of the tarmac. I really think it's one of the things keeping him from breaking the record.
Little did I know, but just tonight I found out that the course will be cold milled and have 2 new layers of asphalt from Segwun to Snow Avenue over the next several weeks. Hope - springs eternal.
Drama - Drama - DRAMA! What an eventful night, and those of you that stayed put on the couch missed out. Technical problems arose galore for two of our record attempt riders which required restarts for both of them. But once on the course, they were on their own. No going back after they left for good.
The adventure first started with our mixed tandem duo of Reid Morris and Emily VanHeukelom, the current Male/Female Road Tandem record holders. It was about 6:12 on the clock when Reid arrives with tandem in hand, but no stoker. "She's getting out of work late, and caught in traffic," Reid says. With a late start time already assigned for their record attempt, everyone crossed their fingers. As riders are leaving the start line, Reid zooms past, sans stoker, back to the parking lot. They both arrive in a frenzied state, but past the assigned start time by 30 seconds. With all the rest of the riders already gone, and I being in a accommodating state of mind, allowed them the 1 minute delay to reset their start time and send them off. As they left they were still attempting to get into sync, and I think Emily had zippo time to warm up. I told Randy Higgins and Gary Newell that I doubted they would beat their own record time of 33:48 set last year with all the shenanigans. I was wrong! A new record was set last night in that class of 33:31, besting their previous mark by a mere 17 seconds. Lesson: Adrenalin can overcome unplanned events when the fight is on. Kudos to both for pulling it off.
Matthew Chaffee also arrived to best his own Hand Cycle record, but he was not as lucky. He got down the course about two miles, then had technical problems with a leg strap. We were walking back when he returned asking for a restart. I was still glowing in an accommodating state of mind, and granted his request. Randy worked the leg strap as best as he could, and with a 10 minute delay in the start time, Matthew left. I didn't want him delaying much longer, as it was getting slightly darker, and with no light or flag on that hand cycle, he was difficult to see. (Riders, at least consider always having a blinking red rear light nowadays --- ). Alas, he still had problems down the road and did not beat his own record time. However, I told him that we still had next week, August 26th, for record attempts, and he could try again. (The points contest is now over, but we'll still take record attempts).
Our third record attempt, Chris Ostberg in the Merckx class, came just before registration closed from metro Detroit, but the stars were aligned and he was on schedule. Chris successfully beat Scott Gustafson's time by a mere 3 seconds! For all you wanna-be good time trialists, Chris's comments after the ride are telling (I paraphrase slightly - ) "I knew the record was 35:48, and after checking about equipment and clothing requirements for the class, I was confident I could likely beat that record. I now know the course well enough that the outbound part is relatively easier than the inbound part, especially right at the finish. I wanted to save something for that slight headwind / uphill finish. So I kept some power in reserve on the way out, then carefully ramped up my effort on the way in. In the last mile I knew it was going to be close. But as the clock was ticking down, I had left just enough in the tank to not fade at the end. Just enough to nip the record. Whew!"
And yes, the points contest is over. Below you'll see the results and the end of season payouts. We'll be awarding those at our end of season celebration or mailing the proceeds if you don't show. The Women's class ended just as I predicted with Jill Martinek in 1st, Tarra Daprato in 2nd, and Heather Wiersma in 3rd. The Men's class ended as it has been for several weeks now with Ed Gilde in 1st, Shane Wiersma in 2nd, and Brad Leedy in 3rd. Jeff Petersen had an outside chance at 3rd place, but he needed Brad not to show, or have some unplanned event during the ride. You should have heard the trash talking before the ride. I asked Jeff that if he saw Brad had a mechanical problem ahead of him on the road, would he stop and help him? Jeff's reply: "Tough luck - see you later dude....." With friends like that, you don't need enemies. And the Merckx class's winner exemplifies the "slow and steady wins the race" philosophy as Jack Wright takes 1st, Brent Gaines is 2nd, and your's truly did take 3rd after all. When Aaron Brunscheen came to ride, I knew there was an outside chance he'd take 3rd place from me, but there were not enough riders slower than himself to do it. I want to thank John Crankshaw, Cal Hekman, and Bob Ayars for not showing up last night to ride the Merckx class. I'll buy all of you a beer next week.
Speaking of next week, it looks like the Gravel Bottom Brewery will be able to host us next week at their brand new location in downtown Ada! They'll open their doors just for us and let the taps flow. The patio is waiting. I'll get some pizza from Vitale's, which will include some veggie and gluten free choices. I'll have non-alcoholic beverages too. All of this is FREE to any volunteers, RW officers, and time trial riders at any time of the season. Festivities should start about 7:15 and conclude about 9:30. Awards and fun - hopefully without the DRAMA!
Time Trials Coordinator
Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club