Its ironic that I skip many MTB races because I hate riding rocks, yet I race this course every year and it has a decent amount of miles with enough rock to make me bring my sons baby wipes to work today in case I need to use the rest room.
Some folks love the stuff, not me, I still hate them... I like to go fast on my bike. I don't have that much skills on them, so when your HR is maxed and your going 8 mph your basically just giving yourself a beat-down. Some dudes have skills though, I see them all smooth and fast though the tough sections... I should, I had a great view from the side because I fumbled on some sections and I had to let everyone by...
Anyway, the race... Started pretty well actually.. I am pretty fit right now from my usual standards come beginning of April. Plan was start at the front and hit the single-track just behind the fast duo team members who are going to bury themselves for the entire lap. Myself, I was going to settle in for the long haul, or so I thought. Plan went off perfect other than forgetting to turn my Garmin on.
The race was started on pavement then went into a grassy hill, through some part of the race track and up a gravel hill to separate everyone.
Fist lap in I unfortunately found the true key to having a good first lap and its simple. Just don't bobble, crash or anything. I did not do that... 5 miles in I made a stupid mistake on a easier section of trail and had to dismount and get to the side to let folks though. I had no idea I was going to be sitting there for a while when a train of 10-15 dudes came trucking by.. Then later I finally started getting into a groove and clipped a handlebar on a tree and down I go. Same story, to the side while another 10-15 dudes came screaming by. Let me tell you that is pretty frustrating.
About the end of the lap the field was pretty much well scattered out, I have no idea of my time, but it was a really long lap as I remembered. Fueled up and off to for the second lap.
Second lap started pretty well, I was not feeling overly fatigued and riding pretty well. Game plan going in was that the second lap was going to be steady at a good pace, but not too high so I can recover from the first lap and have a solid 3rd lap. I did get to cramping a little bit but some for fluids and calories fixed that. However, I got to noticing my time was running a little short and the trail seemed to be never ending. Once it finally hit me I bout went into panic mode, 'S***, if I don't get my A** in gear I am not going to get a third lap!!!!!' So off I went, I am in a literal race against the clock, if I don't get to the finish in under 3 hours, there not going to let me get out for a 3rd lap.
I burned about every match I had trying to get to that finish line and it literally seemed to never get any closer.. I kept looking at my Garmin and it was ticking away, keep in mind I forgot to start till after we started, so I don't know exactly when 3 hours is; 2:20 (when the initial panic set in), 2:36 (crap), 2:45 (you have got to be kidding me) 2:55 (Owe Crap x10) and getting closer to the finish.
FINALLY hit the gravel uphill towards the finish, absolutely buried myself up that climb and the last several miles to get in under 3 hours. To the finish line, 3:03..... Game over.... Bummer man... Finished up 17th out of 87 or 11th out of 34 in the 30-39.
Such a stupid mistake, I can think of countless number of times I could shave off 3 min... Owe, well..
I felt pretty well most of the race and its the first time since I can remember that I actually wanted to do an extra lap. Today however, my body feels like I got in a fight.. Man I sometimes which Chris did not put on such great events, I might be tempted to skip those brutal rocks man...
PICTURES (Bart Cox)