It turned out to be a nice day for a bike race in Panama. Right from the start the race registration it was well organized and everything was on time and good. Thanks to Jim Craig and all the volunteers for putting on a great event. By the 1:30 start time there was a stiff SE wind but the sun and temps around 40 made it comfortable enough. I felt like I wore the right gear for the day and I did stay comforatble. Once again, I was probably the only one in shorts but my zombie legs are fine until below 30 degrees. In the pre-race meeting we learned that the course was marked with yellow caution tape on the stop signs where we made our turns. We also learned that if you get off course you will be out "enjoying the ride" because this is a self supported gravel road race. The course was a big square with left turns. It was a rolling start and for the first couple miles of gravel my stomach was feeling upset. I was riding with Dave N. for a couple miles. And I felt like I needed to take a slower pace. Then Dale appeared next to me. At this point Dale and I were off the pace of most of the pack. Dale just had too low a gear on his fixed single speed bike. So we rode together for the first two thirds of the distance. At about the eighth mile I started feeling much better. When I made the turn to have the wind at my back I started feeling like Dale and I might be catching back up with some of the riders ahead. I could see someone, maybe it was Brian H's red coat, getting closer over each hill. Being somewhat hilly I could see them about a half mile ahead. Then I would not see them as I was climbing. So I was in my zone going with the wind and put all my effort into catching back up. The concept of time and distance completely left me. After a while I was trying to figure out if I was slowing down again because I kept looking for that stop sign with the yellow tape and it was not showing up. My intuition was bad because I thought Dale was just maybe a football fields length back. But I was also enjoying the ride and the countryside views. I just kept cranking the pedals out of the saddle with the wind at my back on crest of every hill. Then I started getting a strange feeling. I started noticing the roads I was crossing had names I did not notice when we were going south into the wind. Then I stopped. I stood there in the middle of the gravel thinking Dale would be coming over the hill any second. Roca? That last road I crossed was ROCA! I thought to myself, "I must have gone a mile too far". So I turned around. Into the wind. AGAIN. But soon I realized I was not a mile north of the last turn. I was actually just south of Bennet, NE. five miles north of the turn into Panama that I was supposed to take. So my 15 mile race was now a 25+ mile ride in the country. My phone rang, It was Dave N. and you can imagine what the words were starting with "Where are you?". Once I called him back and found out what color the Panana water tower was I was rolling again. There were two towers not far from me. The blue one would have been the wrong choice so thanks for guiding me in Dave.
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So I was rolling back into Panama into the wind. It was nice to be back from the the north. Not that I'm really trying to fine tune my racing skills, but there is always something to learn. I did not eat good that morning and it messed up my stomach. And it turns out I was that guy who was talked about in the drivers meeting that would be out "enjoying the ride". And even though I really wanted to cross the finish line going north instead of coming from there, it was fun.
Congratulations to Nick and Alroy for their first and third place finishes. They have been doing some great training and this was the first time racing for both of them.
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Who is Stratomatic?
- Stratomatica - is my blog place where I document things happening around me or that interest me. The name Strata, geologically speaking, are layers of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. Too deep? Well, I like guitars. Mostly I like the sound and feel of Stratocasters.