Thursday, February 25

Winter Shart Tarck Series '21: Post-Dumple

I don't know how many years I've actually done the whole Winter Shart Tarck Series since it started... seventeen years ago?  This is my first actual series win.  I had a shot all those years ago when I broke a rib after the first race and ended up third overall.  In 2014, I finished second in SS, last year fifth in SS, and the year before, third in 50+.  My records (if you can call them that) are pretty sketchy going all the way back.  I know I've interloped many other years, and I can even remember my very first WST race.  Sometimes I did little more than stand around in the woods drinking beer and yelling at people.  This was slightly more rewarding than that.

I'm bummed I didn't get to race Chase and all his (normal) residual cyclo rossing fitness.  There was no Rich T and all his "Rice Watts" to measure myself against.  Jason W was not there with his brute but very polite Canadianican strength to stomp my dick in the dirt (which I'm sure he was always sorry aboot).  I don't even have lap times to stare and compare because this was the first time on the new course... I mean the three new courses we were treated to, weather dependent.

In the pre-race conversation I had with Kevin in the parking lot Sunday, I was telling him how strange the series is as a concept.  In a stage race, you have to keep going back-to-back days.  There's not as much time to dwell on things between start lines.  With Shart Tarck, you have to be willing to keep showing up for five weekends in a row, deal with the possible shit weather (I don't remember a year this rough in a long time), come home to a trashed bike and mud covered clothes... and stay healthy.  I was so worried this past week every time I went out on a ride.  What if I cross wheels, or hit a downed limb, or stick my wheel in gutter, or make some other kinda numb nut move that puts me on the floor?  Four weeks between the first race and the last, plenty of time to throw away all that effort.

Mostly, I'm stoked that at 52 (almost) years old, I still take great joy in going totally aerobic (EDIT: dammit, I meant anaerobic.  Thanks, Rick) as a recreational activity.  I feel truly blessed that this body still does neat things.

Staying on the blessed side of things, thanks to Ride-A-Bike in Gastonia for generously sponsoring the single speed class. 

Guess I'll be making the drive out there on one of my weeks off to cash in (out?) and say hello mebbe.  Haven't been up that way since Pee Wee's was a thing.


Speaking of all that's blessed, I think the Winter Short Track (pardon me while I be respectful for a second) is one of the most incredible things our local MTB community can have.  It seems so strange to me that when I google "winter short track," I get one result.  I would think everyone everywhere would want the opportunity to do such silliness during the in-between season that is fuck-all February.   So many of my little friends come out of whatever hole they've been hiding in to poke their noses into the woods, play bike games, and yell at old friends... and let's not forget about the HUGE field of junior racers that show up every year.  It was kinda sad this past Fall when I realized COVID was going to take yet another thing off the calendar, so when it was announced it was back on, it was hard to not feel some sense of relief.  Granted, it was a much different experience this year, but what's been normal for the last year?

It's the dumbest thing ever and the best thing ever all in one.

But now it's over.

I'm staring at the calendar, scratching my head and my butt, tryna figure out what to do next.  I missed the two day race in Uwharrie last weekend... that I totally thought I would do... before I realized it fell on the last day of Shart Tarck.  Guess I wasn't scratching my head (or butt) hard enough when I was looking at the calendar back in January.  I don't need to race, but I certainly want to race.  These past five weekends have been the closest thing to a normal experience I've had since last March.

Well, aside from masks and all that.



rick said...

glad you are still able to go "totally aerobic" at 52 (almost). otherwise, you'd probably be dead

Anonymous said...

So good to read these SS race reports where you are purposely "racing" and not merely "Dicking around" in the woods with a number plate on your bike! LOL! That's what drew me to this blog probably a good 10 years ago!