Despite the presence of Chris Lane and Kat Hansen, rainclouds parted and the sun shone for Iron Cross 2013. This 100km ultra-endurance cross race has been contested annually for the past eleven years, and has been using the Iron Maiden font for nearly as long.
First, it was 7,200 feet of climbing, generally on gravel fire roads. Second, it was 68 miles. For a race advertised as 100km (that’s 62.5 miles in old money) that was fairly sporty. Particularly given that those additional six miles were up hill. Personally, I (Tom) was ready for the race to end at anywhere between 62 and 63 miles. It did not end between 62 and 63 miles.
Tom raced in the over 40 category, and finished 32nd in 5 hours and 22 minutes. This was about 25 minutes faster than last year, and the race was some six miles longer in addition. So Tom is pleased with his current state of fitness. Mtb’er Chris Lane rode his mtb bike to 30th place in the under 40 category in 4:59. Chris topped out at 55 mph twice – once on the road, and once on a gravel descent. Tom, being old and having to work the next day, kept to a much more sensible under-40mph limit on gravel. All-sport fanatic Terri Spanogle rode her cross bike and easily finished with the best attitude of anyone, and was loving the race as she cruised in.
One Kat Hansen, whom you may know, won the 50k womens race for the second time in three years. Unbeknownst to her, she had the merest of mere minute and a half margins. As Kat commented later, ‘if I knew it was that close, I would have tried harder!’. The field anxiously awaits to see if she’ll register again next year.
As you all know Sunday was a perfect day for riding. The new additions to the course preserved much of the fun parts of previous years’ courses, but traded in about 10 miles of road riding for 10 miles of ATV trails. As Chris Lane commented – you’d have to be nuts to try and ride that on a cross bike. I concur. Some of the descents veered from sketchy to scary.
On the plus side, Tom used his Mike Kirby impersonation to destroy several packs of riders on the road. People tended to cluster into groups of 10-20 on the road sections, and Tom rode every single one of them off his wheel. He may have gotten dusted on the single track (he actually got dusted on the single track), but no one challenged on the roads. Chris Lane was able to absolutely crush the trails and the gravel, which is a shock to exactly no one.
And that’s the story from the Micheaux!