French Lick was my second Dino race this year. I felt good going in to the weekend since I knew the trail a lot better then BCSP and I thought I felt stronger then I have for several weeks. Their was a storm that came threw around 5am that made the trails a little messier then they would have been.
The start was a little different then I thought it would be and did not go up the hill to spread things out. This left an open field to get things going. It was not too bad and I actually had the wheel of some riders as I was heading up the singletrack. This did not last near long enough and I was in last for my age group. I did pass two riders before the turn on to the new part, but I had no idea what age group they were in.
The good thing was that it took a lot longer before I got passed from the group behind me. I figure there would be some to catch me right away, but I made it a lot farther then I figured. I thought I was holding my own in the new section, but I was not as strong as I needed to be. There were also some parts that were peanut butter and hard to keep my momentum. Once I exited the new section I started to feel better and that improved once I hit the down hill. I figured I would not loose too much time in that part at least to most of the riders, but I was not sure if it was good enough to make up any time from my slow section. At this point it didn’t seem like too many people behind me had passed and I still felt like there were several riders in my area of the trail and that made me feel better about my race so far.
As I hit the bottom of the down hill and rounded around the deck, I put the hammer on for the next section. It did not take me long at all to figure out I was going way too hard on the climb and needed to back off. I tried to hold my pace the best I could, but I still felt slower then I would have on that section last year. Once I was in the new part things started to get tough. My legs were starting to get weaker and not stronger like they normally do on the second lap. I know that the trail was part of the issue, but I still kept turning the pedals over. I thought I was still holding my own at this point, but as the soft sections showed up I started to have some more gearing issues. I had already lost my second gear in back on the first lap and now when I was in the granny, the chain was starting to stick and I had some bad chain suck a few times. I could back pedal out of it most of the time, but that is not real easy on the harder parts.
I know I lost some time and a few places at this point. Once I made it back on to the old section I knew I was almost done. I could hear people behind me, but had no idea what class or age group. I did have 3 Cat 1 racers pass me by this point, so it could have been another one of those, but I felt the race was on to hold my position. I finished that section as strong as I could and when I made the turn, I let it all hang out on the down hill. I had a few section where I could see behind me and I didn’t see anyone any more. I was either imagining things or I had put a little gap on them. The good thing about this section was that I could hear some one not too far in front of me.
As I exited the loop on to the finishing section, I had a rider not far in front of me. I gained as much as I could and was right on his wheel as we exited the woods. I put the hammer down and tried to pace myself to not blow up before the line. As we rounded a bend I think I surprised him as I went around and was giving it all I had. The bonus to all my effort was the two other guys that were right in front of him. I reeled them all in and passed the third guy right before the finish line. I was spent, but I gave it my all. Passing those guys made me feel even better about my race, but once the results were posted, I think it was just a waste of effort. At least two of those guys were in a different age group and had 2 minutes on me. Oh well, how was I supposed to know and I feel much better about not giving up and at least going for it.
For the weekend I ended up in 10th in age group and 47th overall in class. Those results are much better then Brown County, but there were a lot less racers there. I had to admit it, but anyone who looks will know that 10th in my age group was just as good as last in my age group. The only good thing about that I can think of is the fact that I was less then 2 minutes from the next guy in the age group. So, maybe I am getting a little faster, but I still have a long way to go. I know what I need to work on, it is just finding the time and energy to work on it before the next race. I am not sure if I will make North Vernon or not, but if I am not out of town with family I will do what I can to get there. I just hope I can figure out my gears before then. I don’t know why I can’t have better luck with gears. I hate them when they don’t work and would much rather just ride my SS. So, why won’t they work for me when I do try them?