Happy Fathers Day, all you dads out there!
Just slightly lower on the scale of important events today was the Mt. Tabor Circuit Race in Portland. This is the only bike race I know of around the cone of an (extinct) volcano. I'm not exactly sure where that landmark is on the course, but they hype it up a lot. Other features of this almost-crit are 136 feet of climbing per 1.3-mile lap, a lot of fast descending with an almost-hairpin, decreasing radius turn toward the bottom, and a (short) flat spot in the middle of the climb where the start/finish is. There's a midweek series here ("Velo on the Volcano"), so all the local riders know what line to take, etc. It's a good course, safe (no cars--it's in the middle of a park), and good spectating. Oh, yeah, it's fun too--in the usual painful sort of way. If you want to see the course, some helmet-cam footage from the cat 3 men's race will eventually be posted on Kenji's blog.
We were looking for coffee and maybe some breakfast on our way to the race and came upon the Sweetness Bakery and Cafe. It's so new it doesn't seem to have its own website, but the coconut banana muffins are worth going out of your way to find. The cinnamon rolls looked decadent, but I managed to resist. I did get a second muffin, though, to snack on during the day.
Turns out coconut and bananas and coffee are a good combo for prerace food. My first race of the day was masters women. If you know me, you know that a few elements of the course description above sort of play to my weaknesses, so I didn't have any grand hopes. Second time up the hill the race split, with just three of us in the break. Also in the break were a woman I didn't know and Jenny from Medford who puts men to shame at the Mt. Hood hillclimb. I managed somehow to win not only the sprint for the prime, but also the sprint at the finish.
After sitting around for the better part of 2 hours, I got to race again with the senior women. My hopes here were even less grand. While the field was too small to be a "who's who" of Oregon racing, it was pretty stacked. And as a way to make up for the zero prize list (the race is a fundraiser for junior racing), we had a prime every lap. Still, it turned into a bizarre race: it was 1.25 miles of pedaling around the course followed by 200m of racing for the line. Not to my surprise, I got gapped off the second time up the climb...but I caught back on at the base of the climb a lap later. In total, I caught back on three times during the race, including on the last lap. However, when Melissa launched her final effort at 225m, I could only watch as first Tina and then Hilary tried to go too. Funny thing was that the gaps that were established by 200m didn't change all the way to the finish and nobody came around anybody else.
It was a fun day...no crashes, no rain, and 2 hats made. No tandem race on this course this year, but since tandems would probably hit 45-50 on that descent, my nerves were probably better off without that thrill. I also got to check out a couple of knitted hats two riders bought yesterday at the Eugene Saturday Market. They looked, well, very Eugene.