Monday, December 8, 2008

There's NO place like home: Portland USGP #5 & #6, December 6-7, 2008

Dave Luoma! The super fan!

THANK YOU PORTLAND! There is no place I would have rather been from this past weekend. Racing 2 national races on home turf, especially in Portland, was like a dream come true. Granted, I did it last year, but was plagued with mechanicals and it wasn't like this year. This year I felt the love all the way around the course! In fact, in the lead pack, it seemed like no one else was racing, because all you heard was 'go Sue' or 'C'mon Butler'. It was simply amazing. In fact, this may top winning Star Crossed. Even my sprint for 4th on Saturday, looking down the finishing stretch with hundreds of people leaned in over the fence, cheering as I held on... words can not describe. And then on Sunday, I couldn't help but to raise my arms in victory, because FINALLY a podium finish at a USGP and at home to boot. My ears are still tingling from the marvelous fans in Portland, so thank you friends and strangers alike who were the BEST fans ever! It was simply amazing!!! This is how I think it went down, although a lot of it is a total blur, lost in post race elation.

USGP#5: Saturday
An unseasonably warm day, but even on a warm puddle, the Cross Crusade crew can find mud. They made the best of it, sending us through the deepest and coldest puddle they could find. Off the gun, I got boxed in, but I found my way to the front before the dirt. It was not long before the initial selection was down to 5, and I had made the cut. Georgia, Katerina, Rachel, Wendy Simms and I were away and the games began, or should I say the pain? There were your traditional attacks and sitting 5th wheel is not the best place to be when they are gassing it off the front. I was like a yo-yo off the back, but I held on and then once Simms and I were popped, I did the same thing off her wheel. We cat and moused for a while, and then I found myself exactly where I did not want to be. Leading her out on the pavement. Apparently (as I have been told), I was in a monster gear coming off the grass (too big perhaps), but once I got it turning, I held Wendy off for 4th. It was a great show!
It was close, but I got it. And not in great form.

USGP #6: Sunday
The rain gods decided to help us mud lovin' crossers out. We were not let down. It was pouring during my warm up, which I did out on the road with standing water. I must say, I love my GORE! My pants, jacket, gloves and booties made it almost seem like a dry day! Except that I was drowning and getting a dirty facial. But you did warm up, despite the cold rain. It wasn't too cold, but I consulted my layering expert (Wendy Williams). I wore my waterproof gore socks for the race with toe warmers and a long sleeve base. As the rain tapered off as we were on the line, I thought I may have made a mistake, but that extra warmth powered me through the mud! I was fast off the line, getting the hole shot and then letting Wendy Simms take the lead. A mistake in retrospect, because the spray off the rear wheel was killing me. It wasn't long before the Luna girls were on the front, but a much different race today. Katerina just went and was never seen again. Georgia powered away soon after that, and I found myself in familiar territory, riding with Wendy Simms, but with one missing component. No Rachel. Simms went down at some point early on, and I took the opportunity to ride away, thinking it was temporary, but I rode the race by myself in 3rd. And I stayed in third, powered on by the crazy cheering fans! It was really an experience of a lifetime.
A strong start!

It was a muddy day!

Apparently this is how you clean up for the podium!

But I made it where I wanted to be!

The weekend was not only packed with fun racing, but also a house full of friends and Tim's Christmas party on Saturday night and then the Cross Crusade party on Sunday, where Tim claimed his prize for being the series winner for the Masters A, 35+. Not only did he win the series, but he also found himself on the podium this weekend. Unfortunatly on Saturday, he had a bit of a shoe debacle, with his cleat coming off, but Sunday he was where he needed to be, on the podium in 3rd. It was a 3rd kind of weekend for the Butlers!!!

Maia helping me get my number on Friday night @ the number presentation!

We clean up pretty o.k. Tim's Christmas party Saturday night.

Much more comfortable in Gore-tex.
Tim's amazing sprint for 3rd, getting his podium finish!

Tim's podium performance!

The amazing Chris Moor & his latest 'toy'.

Wendy believes! It was a pretty funny surprise on Sunday at the party!

Tim in his borrowed digs for his podium appearance!
Winner of the Cross Crusade Series A Men 35+. Way to go!!!


Jeff said...

Great job mashing that gear on Saturday! Good luck to the both of you this coming week at Nationals. Glad to call you guys my friends.


Anonymous said...

Looks like Tim's getting a little "bonus" there!

Anonymous said...

Great showing this weekend--you did PDX proud!

Got a stupid question for you--what kind of handlebar tape do you have? The bright green stuff on your cross bike, that is.


Sue said...

The bright green is fizik on one bike and lizard skins new stuff on the other. You can get the fizik green stuff at River City.

Zach said...

Nice picture of Tim finishing his race!!!

Anonymous said...

The Rathe family is proud of you! Jake came home excited, especially after Sunday's race telling me you were on the podium! Way to go. You do make Portland proud:)