Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Elkhorn Classic - Baker City, OR

Wow!  what a great venue for a race.  Baker City, OR is in eastern Oregon, up in a plateau between two mountain ranges.  There are plenty of hotels, coffee shops, and gift shops.   It is in the "high desert" so there is not much rain and you could see the Elkhorn mountain range all around the small town.  Stages 1 & 4 went straight into the heart of the mountains.

The roads were awesome!!   Most of the time they felt like fresh asphalt.  No expansion cracks or potholes.  Just very smooth and fast. There was very little traffic on these roads too.

The weather was the big question mark.  In the ten years of the race they have everything from snow to 100 degree temperatures.  For Stage 1 we enjoyed a perfect day.  The sun warmed the area to 75 degrees and there was a slight breeze.  What humidity?  Stage 2 started early Saturday morning with temps in the upper 50s and a chance of light rain.  I started the TT dry but was a little wet at at then finish line.  Stage 3 started later on Saturday.  The stage started dry for the Cat 4/5s but just after the start it began to rain.  The race was called due to a crash in the Cat 4/5 race on the second lap. My race was also canceled.   More on that later.   Stage 4 was a bit chilly with temps in the lower 50s and a stronger breeze.  It was very hard to decide what to wear.  The chill gave way to bright sunny skies and temps back into the 70s. 

The riders were mostly from the area... Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and California.  I raced the Masters 1/2/3 40+.  There were 4 major teams represented with about 4 - 5 riders in each team.  We had a total of 42 riders.  The other races Pro 1/2, Cat 3, Cat 4/5, Masters Cat 4/5 had about the same or more number of riders.   The woman a few less.

I thought there race was very well run and organized.  The wheel lottery was interesting.  If you name was highlighted on the sign up sheet for the stage, you had to put wheels in the wheel truck to be used if needed by any rider.  I can see a few advantages in doing a lottery.  For the organizers, there are less wheels to carry so you don't need a big truck for each race.  For the riders, there is no searching for your wheel set.  You just get the next wheels set.  No searching for your own.  In my experience even if you find the wheels quickly you have to untangle your set from the bunch of others crammed in the truck. Wasting precious seconds.   I was selected for Stage 4 and my wheels went into a Honda Element with about 10 other sets.

That is all I have for now... I will detail each stage over the coming day(before I forget).

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