30 April 2012 - 14:15Paloozad
It seems like the third time really is the charm. The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect, and course conditions were nothing short of awesome. We rallied at the shop on Saturday before caravanning down to Darkhorse Cycles. Dough had called to inform me that he was 45 miles into his ride, with 55 more to go. Dough is a silly person, and you can read about his adventure here. We had yet to leave the shop, and I bet him that he would beat us there (he did).
We made our various pit stops for bathrooms, lunch and beer, and we pulled in to Darkhorse around 4 or so. Mandy got suited up and headed out to pre-ride the course, leaving me to watch the boy, help drink the beer and hang out at the shop. Dough had beaten us there by about 15 minutes. It’s always great to see the DH crew. Once Mandy returned, it was my turn to see what the course was like. I can sum it up in one word. AWESOME.
It featured elements of last years, Palooza, and some of the 40, but run backwards. It was awesome. There were 3 big climbs, and a couple of sneaky left turns that made me glad I rode the whole course. The Conti X-Kings were exactly the right tire for the job. I was feeling good about my bike set up. After my lap, we went across the street to get grub as we always do, and checked in to our hotel.
The next morning came early. We rallied the troops and had breakfast at the Panera Bread in Newburg, then got some to go breakfast and coffee for Dough and Mike Stanley who had gotten in from a demo in Ohio late the previous night. Then it was all about getting ready to race! I had agreed to wear a chest mounted GoPro for the DH crew, there was some media going on, documenting how awesome this event is for the local biking community. I was interviewed pre race, and got a plug in for SSUSA. My my camera mounted, I was ready to go.
I was racing in the Open/Pro category, against all the really fast guys who have been riding hard for months longer than I have. I was quickly put in the way back third of the pack, which was fine by me. The camera was a bit restrictive, and I found that, in addition to my extremely race cut jersey, I wasn’t all that comfortable taking really deep breaths. The 4esque mile prolog kicked up an impressive dust cloud, and then fed us into the woods, where the first bottleneck had a bunch of these goons walking over an old stone wall. Walking!
photo cred GT Luke
The course was fun though, and once the field opened up a bit, I found myself riding mostly alone. My waterbottles were rattling around quite a bit, and I almost lost the one loaded into my side loader. I was able to grab it and stuff it into my jersey pocket before I lost it completely. I’d only brought 2 bottles for the race, so I’d be bummed if I lost one of them. I was beginning to have the first twinges of cramps about halfway through my first lap, so I was making a concerted effort to drink whenever possible. Another minor annoyance, was the blooming of the lilacs. Sure they are pretty and smell good, but they also cause my nose to run furiously, further adding to my discomfort. And then I thought I might have to poop too.
I got to the beer station in good time though, and was promptly handed 2 beers. It’s like they knew me. I thought I’d rest up a bit and wait to see if Nat was behind me. After a while, I thought he might have been in front of me, so I finished my beer and kept rolling. After a while, I found Ginger, who was all decked out in her B29 kit who was just riding around out on the trails. We said our hi’s and bye’s, and I kept on, and crossed the lap line, and found that Mandy had pulled out of the race with a hurt back. I kept on trucking, getting cheered on by K-Dog who was parked out near where I was to duck back into the woods.
My second lap was less spectacular than my first. My knee was acting up a bit, and the whole not being able to breathe thing was getting to me. I decided that I would just throttle back and ride the rest of the race, I mean, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions or terrain, and I was already out there. My efforts were good enough for 59th out of 70 that started. Could I have done better if I was unfettered with technology and allergies? Maybe. Or had not stopped for beers, um no. Stopping for beers is mandatory at singlespeed races.
We’ll see how the video turns out, I’m supposed to get a copy of the footage I shot, plus my interview, so you may be in for some SSAP moving pictures on a future post. But the best part of the day was what happened after the race. Tune in tomorrow to find out what it was.