With out of this world warm weather planned again for this weekend I am planning a reconnaissance run of the top 100 miles of the Balltown Classic race course on Saturday. There are a few of us from Muscatine that will be entering the May 18th event and this gives us a nice hill workout. We also get to see some really scenic areas of Northeast Iowa at a moderate pace instead of race pace the next time we are on the course.
This year will be my fifth time entering this event that is one of the toughest 200 mile road rides in the mid west. The race attracts ultra-cyclist from all over the mid west. Years past have seen RAAM racers toe the line as final preparations for the big event in early June. I am sure this year will be no exception.
Jim Amelung's course record of 20 mph average has stood since 2003 with many coming close to besting it. A group of riders with a helpful weather day might have a chance if they can stay together and keep the pace steady. No support is allowed but there is three bag drops along the way for restocking. Quick transitions are required if the record is going to fall.
Nice spring weather might help make this the year for the record to fall. There are a few strong riders in the area that will be doing RAAM, as a team or solo, that have participated in the past. Looking at results from the few races that have taken place, already this year, Kurt Searvogel of Arkansas looks in prime shape to give it a run. If anybody from Team Bacchetta decides to enter again this year that will add some horse power especially on the "flat" and rolling sections. Paul Carpenter, a solo RAAM racer, hopefully will be making a start. Paul is like the energizer bunny he just keeps going and going and going.
It should be fun, as always, and I look forward to the speed of the rolling hills leading up to the suffering on the big climbs. Many of these riders I only see at events like this a couple times a year so it is good to hang out and see how the fitness is coming along. This event happening just three weeks after my Trans Iowa start should either put me in great shape of still wiped out. We shall see.