After two years of planning, some practice racing and training, and the good will of Paketa and wheel sponsors (Dave, Terry, Ella, Jeanne), and help from Bill S., Paul, and Len, the brother and sister team (Steve Worley and Beth Graff) arrived in Bend OR for the National Championship mixed tandem competition. Beth started the day with an ITT then after a short rest was back at the starting line for round two. Seven teams entered, mostly couples, making us odd since we are from Washington and Colorado. No one knew what to think!
The race route began with a 7 mile climb, mostly big chain ring (56), but also some middle ring(44) efforts were needed. Wow, I thought the torture would never end. We were making progress relative to the teams in front of us, but when we turned for the return downhill run it was full gas - and really fun. The bike was a rocket, paketa = rocket in Russian, and we passed two teams on the decent. We were absolutely flying in the 56x11 - eyes watering and the wheels singing at 45-50 mph. The race was 2/3 done when we finally slowed for a turn into a golf community. This part was rolling and twisting terrain - not the best for a "big bike". All the roundabouts, punchy hills, and downhill turns were negotiated with caution - did not really care for a pine forest or sage brush adventure to liven thing up. We pushed absolutely as hard as we could to stop the clock at the end. As we cooled down we speculated we should be in the top 3. And we about fell over when our friends (Lee and Corlet) informed us we won by 9 seconds and 3rd place it turns out was 19 seconds behind that. What a deal - a brother and sister win the Nationals together!!
The biggest compliment came from second place team, who was chasing us the whole ride, and were the defending Champions (two ex-cateogory one riders) - when they said they "just could not close any distance anywhere" - that is sweet!