Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grinder post-race

After the race, Drew and I cleaned up and walked down to the Lodge where the after party was in full swing.  There was an awesome bluegrass band, Reilly Coyote, picking for our entertainment. 
The food was good and we each got one free microbrew, but lucky me I got two because Drew was abstaining.  The awards went on for quite a while so we camped out with Carl and Doug's family in the shade.
I had to stick around to see if I'd won the women 40-49 age category*.  I knew I was ahead of that chic I passed early in lap 1, but didn't know for sure if she was my competition. Turns out she was and she didn't make the time cut so she DNFed (Did Not Finish).  I beat her fair and square and for my efforts I won a giant huge magnum of wine from a local winery, a cool bike necklace, and a couple of sweet beer glasses.  Since I am lucky, I also won the most stylish bike jersey I've ever seen from Club Ride in the raffle.

* I tried to register in the Open (Pro-Expert) category, but they wouldn't let me race there because I don't have a UCI license. I would have taken last place by 8 1/2 minutes in that category.

 After the awards we ate a late dinner and hung out with the folks from Broken Spoke Cycling Club by their bonfire, complete with roasted marshmallows.  Then we turned in for an early and complete night's sleep under the stars.

The next day we wanted more punishment so Drew, Carl, and I did the 17 mile Fisher Creek loop which was up and over Galena Pass on hwy 75 down in the breathtaking Sawtooth Valley.  It was a good post-race ride that had a long slow grind up a FS road and a thrilling, long downhill complete with be-on-your-game exposure, wildflowers gone wild, weathered granite outcrops, small stream crossings, and ripping singletrack.

 Carl, being the never-off-duty bike mechanic that he is fixed my bike mid-ride and a couple of strangers' bikes too. What a guy.
It was a perfect ride to knock down our already tired legs in preparation for Pierre's Hole in two weeks.
Here is my Garmin track.
 Fisher Ck / Wilson Ck loop by jubebug at Garmin Connect - Details

After the ride, we went back to this mini-store
 to buy a $3.95 bag of Doritos and this $6 six pack.

 You all know I am a beer connoisseur, but my choices were Bud Light or Keystone Light.  Keystone Light seemed more appropriate for our next stop at Alturus Lake.  What a gorgeous natural lake!  It looked to me to be formed by lateral and end moraines at the juncture of two valleys.  It was so clear and very cold.  We didn't spend a lot of time in the water, but enjoyed watching Carl's dog Millie frolic.
As the sun was getting low, we headed back toward the camp, but stopped for dinner first at Smiley Creek.  Another idyllic setting with tasty but expensive ($11 for a chicken sandwich and $6 milkshakes) fare.   

We had to wait for the kids to quit playing on this carved log before Carl could snap our picture.
 The Sawtooth Valley is truly gorgeous. Pictures don't do it justice.
 What vacation would not be complete without large concrete animals?

But all fun days must come to an end so we drove back over the pass but stopped for one last look.

Monday we woke to find we were the only campers left, so we packed it up and headed down to Sun Valley for a short easy ride on Corral Creek trail, Corral Creek by jubebug at Garmin Connect - Details, before packing it back home.

That was one of the best race vacations ever!  I would highly recommend this race for anyone looking for a longer distance but not gruesomely brutal mountain bike race.  Great grass-roots feel in a fabulous setting!

1 comment:

  1. A Smiley Creek Lodge milkshake is totally worth six bucks. We love that whole valley.