Monday, October 22

A weekend that sorta went as sorta planned

Friday night I did make it over to the Spoke Easy for beers after work.  Kevin and Jon Danger working the tap.  I promised myself to keep it in the 2-3 beer range.  I rarely ever keep promises of that sort.  At least I made it out before this started to happen.

The next day, I was up at 5:30AM and out the door at 5:47AM.  A certain lack of planning and attention to detail had me at the Shiner's Run Point to Point race venue before anyone else, even the promoter.  As a matter of fact, the only people in the parking lot below the dam before the sun came up were in their car with the engine running and the front seats down.
I think they were doing it.

Eventually the park ranger showed up, the couple sat  up and put their clothes on, and the promoter (David Harlowe) arrived.  At least I managed to be the first registered rider which meant that I was now on a first name basis with the promoter and easily pressed into service to help with registration for a short period of time.  Once relieved of my duties, I drove to the point where the race would end, prepped my gear, and somehow ended up on the last shuttle back to the start.

The experts went out first and very aggressively sprinted across the field, hammered down the road, and went  into the woods.  A minute later, the single speeders were lined up ready to go.  It seemed like there were twenty of us, but we only numbered twelve.  I didn't recognize anybody right off, but there were some strong looking riders in the bunch that looked much better suited to this course which caters more towards powerful riders more than light, stringy people filled with tenacity.

From the word go, I went into a not-quite-a-short-track but faster-than-a-hundred-miler start.  There was no one next to me.  Once I hit the gravel road, I eased up a little.  Jason Millington came up next to me, but he didn't seem to want to press the issue even though we were headed straight into almost 8 miles of continuous single track.  I went off the front again.

Into the first climb, I could tell my 32X18 was going to wear on me later in the day on the more challenging Warrior Creek loop.  I blasted the Dark Mountain loop out like someone who has been around it sixty or so times at 24 hour races in my long ago past.  I came out of the woods, around the field, up the driveway to the top of the dam, and made it halfway across before I saw the next three riders pop out of the treeline.

On the Over Mountain Victory trail portion of the course, I kept the hammer down.  I made it past six or seven expert riders, made it out to the road connector to Warrior Creek, got passed back by four of them, and entered the last loop.

The promoter didn't just send us around the loop.  No, first we went into the woods, then outta the woods, then onto some park roads, then up a paved climb so steep I wanted to walk, then down a 45MPH+ downhill that ended in a sharp right hand turn...

and then we were back into the safety of the woods on a rarely ever used and quite painful portion of the OVT that connected back into the Warrior Creek loop proper.

I don't know how long it was... ten or twelve miles of fighting cramps, paying for my earlier pace, and looking over my shoulder.

Then it was up one more bastard of a paved climb to the finish.

I won.

photo cred: Racing in the Woods

Weird.  Never led an endurance'esque race from start to finish.  Not a place I really like to be either. Constantly worried about backing off the pace, making a dumb move, picking a bad line, blowing the opportunity.  The whole race was a blur.  Almost a 13MPH average over 37+ miles.  Ouch.

I couldn't wait to go ride Pisgah on Sunday.


Joker said...

It was fun out there. I took my first real stab at a long distance race on the single speed and I was unprepared. I went into the woods last but came out second to last (considering one guy DNF'd.) That bushwhack through the unused section was interesting! Nice job on the race Dicky, you must have been flying!

AdamB said...

Way to go, Winner...

Anonymous said...

nice job. you should try that more often.