by Ken Huizenga
The last few weeks our IC3 Ream has been doing the early version of The Shootout here in Tucson. It takes place early Saturday morning and goes on rain or shine all year round. The early version used to be called the Old Man Shootout and it was a group with an older average age and a slower pace. I believe it has more recently been infused with a large group of younger Cat 3/4 riders and has increased in speed and intensity exponentially. The group that shows for for this event is often 50 to 75 riders. It provides real race pace and tight peloton style drafting.
As a Cat 5 rider, this group is tough to hang with. The surges can be brutal and you have to be not only strong but very aerobically fit. When I would ride The Shootout solo, I would be dropped by the bridge about 12 miles into the ride and have to endure long stretches alone and struggle to even finish the 60 mile ride. It did teach me to be mentally strong and to be very humble because when you are dropped, you want to quit and never ride this event again. I learned it is best to dust yourself off and continue to press on in the hope that one day you will be in the pack and be the one leading the sprints.
When I joined IC3, my teammates asked what my goals were as a struggling Cat 5 racer. I shared with the team that I wanted more than anything to be able to stay with the main pack and finish strong. I feel like if I can do that, I will be ready to contend for some strong cat 5 finishes the upcoming 2015 race season.
I have had three opportunities with my IC3 teammates protecting me, in order to acheive this goal. My teammates have helped me cut over 10 minutes off my time and we can see the main group now for most of the ride. I have to hang on during one of the sprints just a bit longer aerobically and I will soon attain my goal.
There is no doubt that this goal would be months off for me, instead of days, if it was not for my IC3 teammates. I would of expected the group to give up on me by now as it is harder for them to pull me along than hang with the main pack and enjoy the ride. My teammates however, continue to sacrifice themselves to help someone like me attain a goal. I do not feel deserving of all this effort but quite honestly, this is what our team is all about. We not only support each other, but try to help all other cyclists as well. Our hope as a team is that we show love to all the cyclists we ride with each week. This must truly be why God has placed us in this environment.
Thanks to not only my teammates, but Evan, Jason as well. They have been honorary IC3 teammates during The Shootout all trying to help me accomplish this goal.
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.