14 June 2010 - 20:09Pinnacle
Let’s just say I am definitely not getting faster, despite looking fast when we all took off at the EFTA Pinnacle race on Sunday.
A bunch of the B29 crew were present to “bring the noise” as it were, to Newport NH. It’s a fairly unassuming little town in a scenic valley. Nat, JayPro, E-Dog, Matthew Owens (aka Turbo) and myself were there for 3 laps. The weather was less than awesome. It was that nice gloomy New England mountain mist, the air was heavy and wet. I got there a little too late to do a full practice lap, which I wish I had gotten in. E-Dog and I headed out for a little bit just to warm the legs up.
Our brief look at the trails showed that the trails themselves were actually almost perfectly tacky, but we’d be into a slick root festival. At start time, it actually started drizzling. I’m sort of over racing my bike in the rain, but I hoped that I wouldn’t be out there for any more than 2.5hrs. I can suck it up.
The course itself was amazing and fun. In dry conditions it would have been really fast. Lots of singletrack, minimal doubletrack, and you were either climbing or bombing downhill. The climbing sections were root strewn tight singletrack, that caused quite a bit of packing up on the trail. As one spun out, anyone in proximity would be forced off their bike. With little opportunity to pass, it was pretty frustrating, but you just gotta back off and give folks room so you can have a better chance at riding the course than running it.
The bike performed flawlessly, it was the pilot that was the issue in the long run. Nat and I got a good position out of the start. My legs felt good, bike was set up right, and we were slowly crawling past people having trouble on the climby rooty sections. On lap 1 I paid my first visit to the ground when a bridge decided to change direction one me like one of those Harry Potter staircases. I teetered on the edge of a big flat rock, then fell of my bike, but managed to land on my feet.
Once I finally got back on my bike, I’d been passed by a few folks, including Nat, who was in fine form. I was only 3 behind him until I got wadded up behind someone who kept forgetting the roots were wet, and kept sliding out right in front of me. Then there was some douche that actually hit me while trying to pass me on a technical singletrack downhill. Fortunately, I was the victor here, he bounced off my rear tire and flew into the woods in a cloud of expletives. Seriously? I can’t understand the mentality of some people, the guy in front of me was clipping saplings and generally flailing all over the place, passing him would have been preferable, but there was no place to safely do it. People need to chill out in the singletrack, hang back, and wait for your time.
I was beginning to get a little flummoxed at this point, as I saw that there was not much opportunity to do well at this point. It was then, that my mental ipod betrayed me, and had one song on constant repeat.
I tried rebooting with Maiden, but it simply wouldn’t take. ARRGHHH!
I finished my lap, and got stuck into my second, some much appreciated war whooping from Turbo’s dad and a well instructed hazard notice got my spirits back up and in the game. I was beginning to pass some people on the climbs again, there was room, and I was feeling good.
I passed the Harry Potter bridge, and shortly thereafter I probably took one of my biggest crashes since SSAZ/USA. My front wheel skidded off a wet rock and into a place where it stopped rolling, and over the bars I went. It was big and fast, but in the moment it seemed to take forever. I spotted every rock on my landing on my way off the bike – the way that The Terminator can spot and sort all sorts of information about targets before acting etc, and had the presence of mind to begin my roll. Since I was landing in water and rocks, I tried to brace my impact with a solid atomic push-up. I had a good landing with my hands, but slipped off and crumpled in a heap under my bike. I was sitting in about 6″ of water, under my bike and my right leg had cramped into an L shape and it wasn’t really interested in moving.
What probably didn’t help my pride were the people that witnessed such a terrible event. I heard “DUDE! ARE YOU OK!??” and “OH MY GOD!!!!!” and other such comments that made me think I was really in trouble. I slowly untangled myself and got to my feet, preliminary damage reports told me I was OK: freaked out, muddy, wet, but otherwise unscathed. In a brief flash, I thought “I wish I had my camera, so I could take a Thom Parsons picture”… that one would have been good had I a waterproof camera with me.
I got back on the bike, but I lost maybe 5 or 6 places. I wasn’t functioning as well as I was earlier in the day. My back was beginning to cramp up, and that stupid song came back in my head and I was coming to the realization that I wasn’t going to finish the race. I decided that I was done during the climb up to the tippy top of the course, at which point I just sort of hung back and coasted back. I could feel my back tighten up some more, so I went a little faster so I could be done.
I took my DNF, sat on the sidelines and tried to stretch my back out. I went back to the car to get changed after I saw E-Dog go past.
After the race, I found out that Nat had augured into the ground with his face, the point at which Matthew’s dad had warned me about. He was very banged up, but had finished the race. JayPro got 3rd in his heat, and Matthew Owens came second in his. E-Dog finished as well, although he told me that if he had seen me cheering for him on the sidelines, he would have been done too.
I had a good time despite not finishing. I could have done another lap, but it would have been costly to me. Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that I am past the need to push myself in that way. I have to work. I have a family. If I ruin myself for 1 race, it will affect the rest of my season, and I’d much rather ride than “win” sport class. I fully support the notion of racing though, unless you are one of those D-Bags that run into people while trying to pass on singletrack. It’s good, and crashing aside, I can think of nothing else that I would have rather been doing.
I also got to see some great folks I don’t see that often, Racin’ Rick and blog superstar Thom Parsons. I like to think that I’ll be back next year.
Jet report to follow this week. It was a fun ride while it lasted.