Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Today was a 36 mile road race in Hope, AK. We got up early, and after breakfast we loaded everything up for a one hour trip to the staging area where today's race began. There are 4 racers in our car and Mona is driving an doing a superb job at helping with anyone and anything.
The weather today was cold, raining and windy, a perfect combination (not!). Right from the start I encountered some minor equipment malfunction. My Camelbak tube that is pinned to my
jersey and/or jacket popped off the moment the race began. It was dragging on the ground for the first eight miles or so. I kept trying to reach it but couldn't reach that far behind me. It was very distracting and as a result my early chances of staying with a pack of racers diminished. After two quick stops I finally just shoved it inside my rain jacket and zipped it up tight. The course was fast going out the first 17 miles and then climbing on the return portion. To make things even more interesting there was about a 25-30mph headwind and crosswind; strong enough to bump you around as you are riding. When I finally finished I was drenched and very cold. The weather report doesn't show a whole lot of change over the next few days either.

I am currently second in the "old man division" - those who are 55yrs old and above. I am 10 minutes behind a racer from Austria, named Christian Peter. We'll see if I can make up some of that time over the next five stages of the race. Tomorrow is another time trial of 11 miles and then we take a three hour ferry ride over to Cordova. Then on Thursday they'll have the "Tour de Cordova" which is another 36 miles race which is relatively flat, so it should be fast. There are a lot of logistics getting to and from places, hotels, race starts and finishes. Because this is the 25th Anniversary of the Sadler's Ultra Challenge they are doing things a lot different. It is a more "Tour de France" type format as you will be racing in different locations. When we hit Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it will separate the men from the boys! Each of these days will be long, hard races with lots and lots of climbing up some of the most well-known mountain passes in South Central Alaska. Everyone is a bit apprehensive about these days because they will determine the outcome of the whole event.

God is good and we are pushing on! I will try to make sure to send a daily posting of the progress of things. Also we should have some pictures. Thanks for your interest but "ESPECIALLY YOUR PRAYERS!"

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