I would have thought this would have been posted before how, but I guess not. I raced on Sunday at Brown County State Park in the second Dino race of the season. I think this was my first XC race since 2004 when I raced at Warsaw. I did plan on racing a few times since then, it just didn’t work out. Going in to this race I was not very confident in my riding condition or at least for an XC race. I knew that there would be a lot of fast riders in CAT 2, but I felt like it was my fault that I am not in the ride condition so I can’t use that as an excuse to race CAT 3. I am not even sure that I could have done any better in that class. I am going ok on overall riding, but my speed is not up to what I expect and I do better after riding some.
I knew the start was going up to road hill. I thought about riding it in warm up, but after half way up it I thought it might be better to not know how steep it is. In stead I went up the hill on the other road and tried to get myself warmed up. I should have just climbed the trail, but I knew there were several riding down and didn’t want to mess with that. The start didn’t go as well as I hoped. I thought I would take my time and spin up the hill. I knew if I really pushed it I could blow up too early and not be able to recover. This plan was fine for my riding, but it seems the other riders climbed faster then I did. They all left me by the time I hit the single track. It would have been to my benefit to ride the hill. I didn’t think the trail was up that next little slope. I thought it would drop in at the North Shelter, but we kept going.
Dropping in to the woods in last place and I felt my lungs hanging over the bars, I thought I really messed up somewhere. So, I put a few hard pedals in and picked up the speed. I was cruising along fairly good right up to the first left hand corner. I started to slow down and I could feel the back end skating around. I knew this was not going to be good. I ended up sliding out in the corner and it was really not too bad. I scraped my leg a little, but it was a fairly soft landing. I hoped back up and took off the best that I could. It was not long before the next age group was catching me. I figured I was not going as fast as them, so I let them pass with ease. I was not worried about a little time here and there since I felt like I beat already anyway.
It felt like the whole class had passed me and I finally settled in to a pace that was working. Griff was behind me and was gaining fast. I started to push it more since I was feeling a little better. I still was not climbing up to par, but going down was doing well. Some how I kept him behind me for a little while. I would gain some time and then he could catch back up. This however did not last near as long as I wanted it to. On the HP connector intersection I hit a root that was parallel with the trail going straight. The big problem is I was turning right. This did not go well with my front wheel and before I knew it, I was eating dirt. I got up to dust myself off and noticed that the bars were turned bad, so I knew what needed to be done to fix that, so I was not going to keep in front of him. Well before I could get around the bend, her came Griff and all of a sudden, wham! he bit it on the same root. He got up and made sure both of us were ok and took off. Two more riders came threw as I was fixing my bars and when the third rider came by, wham! he bit it on the same root. I started to laugh a little and felt much better about eating it since it seemed to be the thing to do. I did hear that several people crashed in this same spot.
After my crash when I thought I had my bars fixed and stated to go again, I saw that I did not have my bars fixed. So I decided to stop again and fix them correctly. This took a lot of time, but I was currently not too worried about it. The thing that did surprise me was how many more riders there actually were behind me. I had thought that almost everyone had passed me before I crashed. Now they were in a different class, but it was good to still have riders behind me or I mean had.
When I got going again I actually felt much better. I was moving along much faster and having a good time. I even passed a few racers. Most of the way around my second lap, experts started to pass me. I did not like getting lapped like that, but there were only a hand full of racers that did that.
It turns out that I did not end up passing anyone that was in my class. I was however not in last place. At first I was really upset with my race, but after thinking about my non-training program that I have been following, it is pretty much right on what it should have been. I think the crash ended up costing me around 8 min. if I would have held my pace. I already knew going in to the race that I was not where I need to be and already knew what I need to work on. Now I just need to actually work on it. I think this race put a little more motivation in to doing something about it. We will have to wait and see if something actually works or not.
It was good to be back hanging out at the race venue and seeing a several people that I don’t see too often. I could get used to spending more time at race venues, but not sure XC racing is the correct answer. But, I am not sure I am ready for the NUE series. Maybe a little combination of both. Either way I have a lot of work to do if I want to do anything but fill space. I will see in two weeks at French Lick if I can make any headway. I did put in a good effort on the road bike last night. I ended up with 27 miles and I pushed the pace as much as I could, then attacked the hills too.