On Saturday, March 21st, Sioux City Velo revived and hosted the Twin Bing Road Race sponsored by Palmer Candy. The course started in the quaint town of Climbing Hill, Iowa and proceeded west to Old Hwy 141, north to D38, east past Bronson to the Moville Blacktop (K64) and back south to Climbing Hill. The race consisted of two or three 22.7 mile laps which ended on a 200 meter climb to the top of 'Climbing Hill' that overlooks the town. You want hills…they got hills—thirteen rollers to be exact! The A-racers made three laps for 68 miles and the B-racers made two laps for 45 miles—challenging for every rider.
I went along for the adventure, not to ride…but to observe my first USA Cycling sanctioned road race. Tez and Rocket were officiating—Tez ,in the commissioner’s car, watching for rules infractions along the route and Rocket marking times and taking numbers at the finish line.
With nearly one hundred registered participants, it was apparent that most of the racers were suffering from the thirteen-rollers and spring-legs-syndrome. Everyone on the course, including those that rolled into the finish line with only a single lap, declaring their “DNF” status, did better than I could have on that beautiful first full day of Spring.
One racer resplendently stands out in my mind, not because of her impressive elapsed time or even her extraordinary riding skills; rather, her relentless fortitude and determination in completing the race. As she approached the finish line, far behind the main group of cyclists, you could tell that she was on the verge of both physical and mental collapse. I had to cheer her on, as did the few remaining spectators and officials. A riding partner, perhaps her spouse or significant other, had returned from beyond the finish line, where he had moments earlier finished himself, and again rode the last 200 meter climb alongside her. As she passed my position on the sidelines, I observed her pallor complexion, shaking legs, erratic respiration and inability to gracefully “unclip” from her pedals. She was totally expended, yet you could sense her reserved personal celebration. She had “achieved the ultimate physical accomplishment.” I could sense her cathartic revelry; I could feel her victorious spirit.