Sunday, May 17, 2009

Indie Series Race # 3. Island Cruising.

Indie Series continued today with the third race for the season - the Whidbey Island Mudder.  Yeah, on an island - but no mud today. Weather was perfect, in the seventies and sunny.  The Mudder is also a fun course - 6 mile lap of twisty singletrack, some doubletrack, no real climbs - fast and pretty smooth.  It's also held on private land, no other access besides the race.  I wish this was my private yard, I'd never leave home.

We made this a full family affair with mom and Amy attending as well - ferry ride included.   Whidbey Island, a 20 minute boat ride from Mukiteo, is a different universe from the Seattle area.  Less crowded, more rural, can't helping thinking - hey, maybe move here.

Pretty good size racing crowd showed up for this event, including Ian, to do combat in the Beginner Boys 10 and Under class.  I lined up behind Ian's class to ride behind him as usual, even though he mentioned today he'd be okay to ride alone.  I thought I'd buzz about 5 minutes behind to let Ian race alone, but catch up in case of trouble.  I cruised with a young girl in her 2nd ever race and her dad, behind Ian's class - and Ian's group was soon gone.  After consoling an upset kid I found on the trail, I took off after Ian - then ran into a dead end on the course - tape blocking the trail.  Wah?

Some confusion and backtracking followed - along with some others warming up on the course, then joined by dad and young girl, as well as some Beginner Men racers hitting their second lap.  No sign of Ian and the other boys.  The lost Beginner Men jetted off under the tape - while dad, young girl and I rode back to the start.  I explained the situation to some folks running the show - then took back off to catch Ian later on the course.  The young girl wanted to finish the race, so they restarted as well.  Apparently after the Beginner classes left the start line, a tape section was moved to the wrong side of the trail - throwing a few racers off.

Luckily, Ian's gang of racers figured this out and they all cut under the tape and continued as they should have.  I rode the whole course from the start (again) at almost a race speed myself - and never caught him. 

Ian wound up completing the race on his own with no problems - first time alone.  A great job.  Ian claims he came in 4th place, but the results board showed him in 5th place.  In any case, he did his best and was catching his breath at the finish when I arrived.  No crashes, gave it his all, collected points for the series, and most important - had fun.  At 9 years old, can't ask for more - nice race.

Amy gives Ian some advice before the start.

Ian lines up for action with the other boys 10 and under.

Amy entered the Kiddie race, sponsored by Shimano.  A few hundred yards of singletrack with a roller coaster hill thrown in.  She had fun, while dad provided most of the power.  She pedaled where she could - training wheels and trails don't mix.  Still, a good time.  Here, she shows off her race face at the start.  She also received cheers from the crowd complimenting her basket.  She didn't win, but she was styling.

A little assistance from coach, sponsor, mechanic and ice cream provider.

Amy rockets up the hill, dragging me along for the ride.

Amy proudly displays her medal for finishing.  Great stuff.

After the race, we stopped in Langley to look around.  Ian and Amy played in the water a bit, then we hit the ferry for home.

Overall, a great family day at the races.  I again did not race - too many hours between Ian's race, and what would have been my race.  A lame, but valid excuse.  I'm trying to keep the family experience as pain free as possible.

This was a great course and I'm disappointed a bit I didn't suffer to my usual back of the pack Sport class finish.  "Hey kids, don't you want to hang around for another few hours and watch dad suffer?"

Next stop on the Indie Series Train-O-Fun is Leavenworth - the Northwest Bavarian Disneyland.  Well, sorta.  Head on over for a Bratwurst and a bike race. 

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