The only slightly stressful moment before the start was maybe helping Nick find/borrow some inflation device to carry. One doesn't normally flat at Warrior Creek, but last year his partner had like seventeen flats. Better safe than sorry.
Tom Boylan and Mike Jarzomski are the known quantity in our field. I've raced against them before. They never seem to be weak. They never seem to be hungover. A lot of other names in the field that I don't recognize, but that's not always a good thing.
The race starts, and about ten minutes later, I see Nick come across the road after the prologue lap. He's right ahead of Mike in the conga line. Sweet. Or not.
I wait the hour or so to see how it shakes out.
Somehow, unbeknownst to Nick, Mike got by and put two minutes and small change into him. Now I have to see if I can catch Tom. Great.
I pretty much peg it like it's just going to be an hour race. All the marbles or none. I figure if I can't close the gap down, we're gonna be up against it the rest of the day. Although I never get passed and do plenty of passing of my own, I never catch sight of Tom. Probably has something to do with the fact that he was three minutes faster (ouch).
Nick goes back out, and I head to the pits. I open my cooler and see the things I thought I would remember to put in me before my lap but didn't. I check the times and start extrapolating hours and minutes and seconds. We should most definitely have time for six laps, but we need a miracle to catch up.
We almost get it. Mike comes in and can't find Tom at the transition.
"Go out for another lap," says some asshole who looks like me and talks like me and probably is me.
About thirty seconds goes by and they make their love connection. I wait to see if Nick has closed it down.
Although Nick only lost less than thirty seconds to Mike on that lap, we're still down close to six minutes now. I know I have to back off my first lap pace, as my lower back did not like the punchy bits. It never does. Old Man Back kicking in.
My pace is about two minutes slower than my first lap. Much less lower back pain, with 95% of the leg hurts. Nick goes back out, and now I wait to see if I get my third lap. I head over to the timing table, figure out that we need a miracle or mishap to catch first, and that third will never make in back in time for a sixth lap. Meh. No reason to go back out. No reason not to (other than being lazy).
As Tom and I wait for our partners, I tell him I'm going to lollygag a bit if I get a chance for a third lap. I'll have over an hour and twenty minutes to finish it in, so why bust my ass? He offers to wait and ride with me, as long as I agree to keep the places correct. I tell him that it sounds like fun, but if he had a flat... a flat that mighta happened in a fair fight? Yeah, I might leave him. He heads out as soon as Mike comes in.
I watch the time. Ten to go. Five to go. Maybe I won't get my shot...
Nick pops out of the woods in the "nick" of time (new nickname in the somewhere?), and I get to go out for my pointless bonus miles. I take it at a pace that puts pleasure over hastiness since it doesn't really matter. I stop to pick up some detritus in the trail. I have fun, feeling the flow, doing the bull dance... and apparently it takes close to an hour and eleven minutes for me to actually enjoy myself the whole way around.
We made the podium which was goal number one. Goal number two was to be able to put my Chubbies Grand Finales to good use. I did.
photo cred: I can't remember who took what. All stolen from FaceBookOnce again, the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club has put on a stellar event. I was told that I might be the only person who has competed in it every year. I have a good reason for that. Fun meter, always pegged (maybe not the diarrhea year tho). On top of all that, the payout was once again crazy high. Not to mention, Shanna of Endless Bikes hooked up all the single speed podiums with more swag than one might shake a stick at (which does not sound like a good activity, but maybe stick shaking will be the new single speeding someday).
Another glorious day of berms and sunshine.
Tomorrow, I promise to get around the the whole PA Interscholastic Cycling League fundraising/Industry Nine raffle thing. You'll want in on this. I swear.