Not sure I can just start in with the race report. There has been a huge void of posts on here this year and I am sorry for that. It has been busy and when I do something to post about it takes me too many days to post. I have spent a lot of my spring driving to and from soccer practices and games. This also has me eating a lot of fast food and other bad things. I did try to take my bike along to get some miles in while waiting for practice, but it didn’t work out too well. I did manage to get out and check out a trail system that I had not been to since probably the late 90’s. I made two trips in the same week to Wapahani MTB park in Bloomington. On both occasions I took the Misfit and realized I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed riding a SS bike. I am far from being in shape enough to ride it everywhere yet, but I hope to improve that.
The lack of riding does not mean that I have been doing nothing. I was pressured in to trying out the new Crossfit gym that opened in town, Crossfit Discipline. I had a lot of doubts that I would be able to continue to work out at that kind of level with all of the pain that I normally feel all over my body and in my joints. All I can say is that the workouts are a lot harder than I imagined, but I have been feeling good about how well they have been working out for me. I have not really been hurting other than what would be expected from doing some hard efforts, the good pain. I have had a few moments of wrist pain, but not near what I would have expected and it didn’t really stick around.
Leading up to the race I was trying to figure out if I was going to race or not. Not being in actual race condition and with some of the trail reports of it being wet and grown up in places, had me not sure what to do. We were planning on going out of town that day to make the long journey to where we had a soccer game the next day. My youngest son also had a game that morning. We were going to watch the game and then make the drive. Late in the week I decided that I could just go race and then we could make the drive. The problem was that not being in shape I knew I was not going to be actually racing. A good work out was needed and seeing some people that I only see at races sounded like a good idea.
Somewhere in that good plan, some not so good ideas started to show up. It had been several years since I had rode there, but I knew it was not very hilly. I also had some new wheels on my rekindled love of one gear riding. I figured why not. Take the SS and have a good workout and have some fun. it sounded like a good plan until that morning when we got there and went to do some warm up. The first section we went on was a bigger hill than I had ever seen there before. This had me wondering if there were any more out there to mess up the thought of this place being flat. Then we hit the flatter section at the top and with in a short time I was also reminded about all the rocks that were hiding everywhere to keep it interesting. It was not a good warm up and I was thinking that I should have brought the other bike or it would have at least been better if this bike had a shock on the front. But it was too late now and I was stuck with the plan.
At the start I tried to not get too far up front since I am out of shape. It seemed that there were a few other people thinking the same as I ended up farther up front than I figured I would. I made my way up the first hill and prepared for the rocks. I must have loosened up my arms because the rocks were not as bad as the warm up ride. The bigger issues was trying to ride behind another rider and not be able to see where the rocks were. I passed a few and was passed by some others. The first lap went much better than I thought and was riding well. I just kept trying to keep the pedals turning and pick good lines.
I will say that my new ESI grips were awesome!! I could not believe how much they helped. With all those rocks and a rigid fork my hands and arms would have normally been hurting badly, but these grips were doing a great job of helping me keep it in control and not feel all beat up. I am sure that made a big difference on how well I could keep my momentum.
The second lap I was more tired and the starting hill was a lot harder than the first lap. On the next section where the rocks were I made a lot more mistakes and poor line choices, but somehow kept the bike upright and moving forward. I was still moving pretty good and not really getting passed. I did reel in a few riders and ended up passing them. There was a rock road section that was not good for this bike as I could only go so fast. I know if I had some gears I would have been able to go faster, but I just tried to spin as fast as I could and coast.
The third lap hurt a lot more. I was debating on walking the first climb, but when I looked up and saw the photographer on top of the hill, I knew I didn’t want any pictures of me walking. I dug in and made it up the hill. I remembered some climbing techniques I have not needed for a while since I had not rode my SS much last year at all. I tried to keep the bike moving at my zen pace and pick good lines. Late in the lap it seemed to run on for ever. I kept looking over my shoulder just sure that someone was going to catch me. I was also waiting for the front of the Cat 1 class to come lap me.
Neither of those things ended up happening and soon I was rolling across the finish line. I was so happy that I had to do my typical finish and ride a wheelie. It actually went well and looked pretty nice. I was very happy with my effort and how I rode. I dug deep and pushed threw it to keep moving. After a while I saw thee results and I ended up in 9th for the Intermediate or Cat 2 class. That was much better than I could have expected. There must have been a lot of riders that dropped out because I would have expected to be farther back then that.
Overall it was a great race. It gave me some hope that I will be able to find some race legs yet this year and maybe end up actually racing by the end of the year. With soccer over I will be able to get more miles in on the bikes. I also plan on keeping up the crossfit to keep getting stronger. I am sure that with out the help of the good people at Crossfit Discipline, I would have never been able race as strong as I did. The ESI grips made a huge difference in me keeping the bike in control and rolling upright. The Stans No Tubes wheels performed flawlessly and were much lighter than what I had on there before. Honey Stinger also kept me riding strong. Hopefully this is just the start of a good rest of the year.
I would like to thank Chris and all of the workers at 40 lb Sledgehammer for putting on such a great race. I love how much the series has grown since last year. It is great to have this kind of even in southern Indiana.