Yea, I know that was not the name of the race, but it sure fits how my day went. I knew that I was not as strong as I was a few months ago, but I had been getting a little more riding in and had hoped that I would be able to hold my own. My sinuses have been going crazy all week and made me not feel too good most of that time, but still had hope. On the way there I started to think it was a bad idea to race. I woke up not feeling too good and had a head ache. I was also having a hard time staying awake for the drive there. Part of the way there, I even thought about just turning around and heading home, but I knew I really needed a ride.
The front tire has been loosing air for a little while now. I figured it was a good time to add some new Stan’s and help it out. The problem is that a little while later the tire was almost flat again. I aired it back up and it seemed to hold most of it all night. I threw some more air in it before loading it up for the trip. I needed to put some more in it before the race, but with what it held, I figured it would be good for the race. I have been running Stan’s for a year and a half, but for some reason I have been having some issues lately with tires holding air. I hope I can figure it out soon or I will be forced to put tubes back in.
There has been some new sections of trail added since last years race. I think the additions were a great improvement. It added a lot of flowing trail and made the climbs better, but it sure makes a difference if you know the trail. It is a rare thing to say, but the trail could have used a little rain over the last few days. Some of the corners had a lot of dust built up and at speed it was a little slick. But, too dry is always better then too wet.
With the new additions, we didn’t head up the road like last year. Instead we took a left and jumped in to the trail right away. This was not a good thing for me. First, spinning fast to keep up on the road is never a good start for me. Then once we hit the trail is was a steady grind up for a while with a few dips thrown in. When we entered the woods there was a little bit of a bottle neck. Everyone was trying to be nice and take their turn, but it made everything a little more tense. Some were having a little trouble going around a log pile, so I just went over it and moved up a few spots. I tried to hold the wheel of the guy in front of me, but with no flat spots to settle down, it was starting to take a toll on me.
We eventually took a left and started cruising down hill, but it was still work keeping the flow going. There was a few more quick ups and downs mixed in to a long grind up to the road crossing. Once we crossed the road it was what some called Montana hill and that is no easy task. The big problem was that no matter what the trail was doing it was not an easy task. I done had my hear rate pegged for way too long. Once I do that, I am usually in a bad place and as I walked up Montana, I was in that place. I know better to do that to myself, but sometimes it is too hard to keep from getting caught up in the excitement.
This left me limping along for the next lap back to the same hill. There were a few spots that I could see a lot of trail in front of me, but there were no racers to be seen. I knew I was way back there and at this point there was nothing I could do about it but keep on turning the pedals. After the second trip up Montana, I passed a rider that was having some tire issue. His tire kept going low and he would have to stop to air it up. It did not take too long for him to catch and pass me again. Eventually the tire went low again and I went on by. At this point I was starting to feel good again, but I still was low on power for climbing. I was really starting to move, but now the front tire started to loose a little air and almost wiped out in a few corners. I figured why push it and backed off to the end.
I thought that some how I managed to keep one of my goals. The one that I try to keep myself from being passed by the Cat 1 racers. Here I was almost to the end and even riding this slow, I had yet to be caught. The problem was that with the front tire loosing air and keeping me from going fast, I knew I would be running out of time. Sure enough, the leader came past me and a little later, so did second place. I was a straight or two from the end and failed yet another goal for the day. The only good thing was that I got in another tough ride and didn’t get a DNF.
I ended up in 4th place in the SS class, but that was because no one else was in that class. I did see at least 1 and maybe 2 riding in the Cat 1 race. I also ended up 29th overall for the Cat 2/SS group. This does not sound too bad, but I think there was only 31 racers. Not what I would call a stellar performance. Actually, next to the Mohican 100k, this was the worse race of the year. How does one go from their best race to the worst race with in 3 races? The best way there is to have 2 months in between those races and not get much riding in. I sure hope I can turn around my legs and get some good riding in as the weather turns for the better.