Tuesday, April 10

6 Hours of Warrior Creek: Part One

I'm standing there, second row back at the starting line wearing my puffy coat.  Scanning around, looking for Nick to come grab my warm layer before we head out... and then there he is.

"Man, I was just riding around, and when I went to unclip, my cleat fell off my shoe."

This is truly a great way to start.

By the way, I'd been thinking about this start for days now.  I agreed to do the first lap when we signed up, even tho I pretty much hate it.  I'm too old for these fast starts, but getting into the woods up front is crucial.  You can lose minutes in those first seconds.  To make things worse, the roads are wet.  There's a few sharp corners that have to be negotiated with a big bunch of sketchball mountain bikers (myself included).

The promoter tells everyone to be careful multiple times.  I know it probably wouldn't make a difference.  People are people.  I kinda mention to the people that cozied into the front line that they could control the pace, if they chose to do so.

They don't.  In a matter of seconds, I'm at full gas and slipping back... as planned and/or expected. 

I know I won't keep the leaders in view, but I can limit my losses.  We get through the first tight corner without incident, but as we get to a roundabout, a rider goes down just up ahead.  Instead of moving out of the way, he gets up and stands right in the middle of the inside line. 

Well then.

I barely make it past his front wheel and a second later, I hear bikes and people hitting the ground.  Look back.  Carnage.  Jeebus.  Back to looking ahead, I guess.

I've already seen a few single speeders get by me, and now I'm riding with Bob Moss.  He's racing solo, and deep down, I hope he's in the lead.  I would also hope I could match his solo pace with mine own duo speed.  The conditions are what I expected, and my 32X18 is too tall for the goopy climbs.  My back begins to protest, and I lose sight of Bob.  Meh.

Josh from Ohio comes single speeding by, followed by two other solo SS men.  The last one confirms that they are all solo.  Now I'm only matching the pace of the fourth place SS solo male.  Double meh.

Last year, Nick was able to pull a 1:16 first lap.  The best I can muster is something like 1:22... and it hurt really bad, even with a good start.  Tag off, look at my computer, do some quick math... figure I've got until around 1:30PM to take care of myself before my next lap.

Eat part of my sammich, drink some Coke (real Coke, not that diet shit I accidentally bought the day before), drink some Rocket Red cheat juice, walk around aimlessly.

I'd finally gotten a look at the results, and we were sitting in fourth.  I was less than a minute behind third on the first lap.  Dammit.  We were kinda hoping to not be even close to contention.  Last year, our non-podium appearance meant we got home plenty early... which can be almost as rewarding as a podium.  We'ere going to have to continue to keep trying.  Team 410.  I'm looking for them.

With about twenty minutes to go, Jeff sees me scraping the mud off my bike with a stick.

"You know there's a bike wash down the hill?"

Obviously not.

I take my bike off the rack, notice some clunking... realize that my front wheel axle-ma-bob is loose.  That might explain some of the weird handling and clunking noises...

Fix that right quick, walk down to the bike wash, give everything a good rinse, head back up to the pits... getting close now.

I feel the need to pee.  I stay close enough to the pits that I can look over my shoulder and see riders go by... at least I thought as much.  In my head, I'm doing lap time math to figure out if there's any chance that we won't get the fourth lap finished before 4:15PM.  It would take a reverse miracle.  It dawns on me (now) that had I not screamed loudly for this option, we woulda never been able to do a fifth lap before six hours elapsed, so there's a strong chance that I'm the sole reason that I'll have to do three laps instead of two.  Triple meh. 

I'm headed back towards my bike when I see rider 410 go by... shit.  Nick should be close.

"Hey, Dicky!  Nick's already came through!!"

Shit.  Toss my puffy coat off, short cut to the transition area, Nick is standing there waiting.  He's moved us up into third, and fourth is just seconds behind him.  Thirty eight seconds minus the time he spent standing around waiting on me.  I'm a moron.

We're going to have to really "race" now.

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