Nick "Dip 'n Spray" Barlow and I are playing it safe this year. No random stop at Common Market the night before that goes too late into the night to be reasonable, considering a 5:00AM wake up call. This time, a fairly sad and very cheap hotel in North Wilkesboro. A few conservative beers and watch the Hornets beat the Denver Nugs in a rather stimulating finish. I'm not a sportsball fan, but I can appreciate some down to the wire gamesmanship. Asleep before 11:30PM.
Wake up at 6:50AM and rejoice in all the extra sleep we bought. A ten minute drive, and we're at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek start at Bandit's Roost. People start filing in slowly, and as we get closer to the 10:00AM start, it gets crowded.
Bike Source means some loose background checks before we let people just "hang."
Small interjection. I'm seeing this more and more often. So many people arriving later and later, to the point where a race start needs to be delayed. It's kinda dumb. Social contract, mother fuckers. I'm not saying that you need to be there as soon as the gates open, but everyone can't arrive ten minutes before the racer meeting and things just work out. Those of us who consider being on time actually being late, you're making our heads hurt. Thank.
So, yeah. The racer meeting is postponed to make time for all the people still in the registration line to be processed like the cattle that they are. The meeting runs long and when they announce the time that you have to start your last lap by, I freak out a little. The delayed meeting has eaten up five minutes so far. I know I've been on both ends of the cut-off before, so I speak a word into a couple ears... some head scratching... the promoter decides to give us that five minutes back. The last lap has to be started before 3:45PM, not 3:40PM. Yeth.
Nick has the starting lap. He's young and I figure he can handle the pace better than a man approaching his golden years. I see him pop out of the prologue lap in pretty good position in the field, what looks like third place duo single speed as best I can guess.
And now wait. I run around for a bit like the headless chicken thing, grabbing this or that. One of the final things I do, taping my hand with the athletic tape I bought the day before. Oh yeah, my hand.
I overdid it on the trail work thing the previous Sunday, as I'm ought to do. Too much enthusiastic lopper action and the unnecessary use of an axe on a downed tree because I didn't want to wait for the chainsaw. I've hyper-extended my thumb (yet again), and both of my hands feel a bit arthritic. Damn it. Most of my knowledge of athletic tape use is foot and ankle stuff, from my high school and college XC running days. I take my best guess at how to restrict the movement of my thumb without cutting off the blood supply in my hand and get my ass over to the transition area to wait for Nick.