Monday, June 05, 2006

4 for 4

Once again, I race, it rains!

It was a beautiful, though hot day at Pontiac lake State Rec area for the Time Trial this past saturday. I got there early to setup the team tent even though I didn't race till well after noon.

Despite the sticky day, there was lots of good racing on a fast, mostly dry course.. There were a couple puddles from a previous rain, but the times were pretty fast.

But, as fate would have it, my race was yet to come, and so was the rain. The forecast was for chance of rain at about 1pm.. my race was to start at 1:19.. It figures the weatherman would be spot on today.. >=[

After a short delay, the race got underway. The first section of trail is pretty high and dry, so it soaks up the rain pretty good, and was still pretty fast. The rain helped traction on the typically sandy and loose "two mile" climb. But man, the second half of the trail had me going through Addison flashbacks something fierce. Most of the second half, though not nearly as deep, was just as sticky and slick as Addison, with the same "velcro" sounds as the tires churned through the mud.

I decided once again to set my priorety to keeping the bike upright, and hope that would put me in contention in the end. I was still able to push pretty hard. The practice I put in lately on the flats and corners came in very handy, allowing me to eek out every bit of speed I could.

At one point there's a looooong sweeping right hander with sand at the entrance and sand at the exit. In between it was very geasy. I hugged the inside as best I could, but when I hit the middle the front started to push out, I turned a little too sharply into the turn to correct, and thought forsure I was going to be eating mud pie. At the last second my Specialized Fasttrack hooked back up and I shot through the exit. Talk about inspiring confidence. I was pretty surprised that such a low knob tire would hook up like that. I'm liking those things more and more every day. Thanks Dustin!! =]

The rest of the race was fairly uneventful. With the exception of the steep climb after the whooping switchback downhill. I don't even know what happened. I stalled halfway up the hill, and with the slick mudslide to the left side of the trail, I figured it best to dab and get going than to risk a tumble down the hill. Then, seemingly from nowhere I hear tires zooming up behind, and just notice a familier orange streek out of the corner of my eye. Jay Jones, a fellow Cycletherapy teammate had run me down! Unfortunately, my troubles on the hill delyed him a bit as well, but I let him by, and off he went.

I pushed the rest of the race as hard as I dared. The final straights leading to the final two downhills were like running a guantlet. Branches weighted down with water slapping me in the face and shoulders, and HUGH puddles of water soaking my feet and bike, it almost got to be funny.. Almost.. =[

After pushing the last hill hard, knowing I was very nearly done, I started down the final downhill, one that I'm always a little leary of as the sweeping turns are very loose to the outside. This was not a pleasent time to discover I had no rear break. I mean the lever pulled to my handlebar with no effect. Gulp..... Well, better no rear break than no front. With the damp conditions, I figured there was no better time that to just let it run. And run it did. Man, what a great way to finish that trail. I was just on the edge of control, but I got down and on to the two track in one piece, and spun my little legs as fast as they'd go to the finish.

In the end, Cycletherapy racing took the top 3 spots in the Sport Singlespeed class. My time was just good for 2nd place, just 12 seconds off the lead! My goal was to win this race, and then spend the rest of the season racing Expert SS when there's a choice. So, I guess I'll just have to give it another try.

Not sure what my next race is going to be. Possibly the 8 hours of Pando. I'm really enjoying the endurance race format. I'm not sure I was built for the shorter races. We'll see.

Happy riding!




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