Thursday, February 11

Winter Shart Tarck Series '21: Race Three

As much as I thought I had my shit together, I show up to pick Dr Mike up at 11:00AM...

Except that it's actually 10:00AM.

I really am losing touch with reality.

We pull into Anne Springs Close Greenway, and I see cones where there were no cones before.  Then I see racers coming up a gravel road from the left... not where racers have gone before either.


It looks like the rain has done another number to the course, and it's been entirely rerouted.  Mostly gravel with a short section of trail (ran backwards).  I'd feel better about this had I not seen people already coated in mud heading back to the parking lot.  Apparently, that one section has all the mud we need.

Dr Mike and I have no idea where to warm up... membering how important warming up is after showing up to the start line totally cold last week.  We find a tiny hill and sprint up and down it.  Back at the car to drop a layer, and I see Bruce S coming in from his 45+ race and grabbing his single speed.  Guess he's getting a two'fer in again.

Jerry once said to me that if there was a category for people who started in the first race of the day and kept going all day long, Bruce would win that race.... or at least have the most consistent lap times... or something.

I'm a terrible listener.

Anyways, line up and go into the course pretty much blind.  Shawn is right there on my wheel.  Unbeknownst to me, he was ready for this new course and geared up to 34X16.  I see the first turn ahead, set up for mebbe a 90° turn... and it's a 180°.  Cripes.  Close call number one.

We get into the slop section of trail.  It's dicey to say the least.  Zero traction brown Crisco.  Out of the woods, bomb down a gravel hill, slight left turn and Shawn comes by my right... sorta.  We both get all tossed about in the ruts and bang bars.  

What follows is as Canadian as it gets.

"I'm sorry."

"No, I'm sorry."


Whilst we're doing that, a guy on a derailleur converted hard tail gets by both of us.  Pretty sure it's the guy who jumped from ninth on week one all the way up to second last week.  I jump on his wheel...

Gravel gravel, 180° turn, slop, gravel... and I can hear his derailleur starting to protest the current conditions.  Excellent.  I put my head down and give it... something?  My heart rate is through the roof. I'm barely seeing anything under 175BPM, and I saw an all time high (since buying a Wahoo) 189PBM.   

Laps three and four were a blur... aside from the fact that I could see the diesel engine of Bruce S closing a gap down to me when I could eyeball him in the hairpin.  Poop.  At the rate he's closing in, I'm not gonna stay out front for three more laps.  By the time we get through the fifth lap, I'm sucking his wheel.  He gets away on the sixth lap, and everywhere his diesel is working for him (in the thick mud and up the gravel road into the headwind), he's putting in gaps that I'm killing myself to close.  Mentally, I've checked out and settled for second place.

On the seventh and final lap, and I can see Bruce getting away from me... but I decide that if my heart was able to make over 185BPM for a sustainable period of time earlier, my body should be able to do it again?

I go into Chris Froome mode and just stare at the computer.  I pass Bruce and determine that I will keep this up until either I simply can't any longer or Bruce blows up trying to stay with me or... I...

I'm catching myself trying to actually win.

Earlier that day, I told Dr Mike that I really missed the old days.  Whilst I might not have been able to keep pace with Chase or Jason.. or even get a top three, I at least enjoyed mixing it up with Chris, Nick, Colin, Jamie, Charles... 

It felt like "racing."  Riding a million miles behind Robert Marion at the first race and then riding entirely off the front at the second one felt more like... a stupid hard ride.

And so I ironically found myself where I thought I wanted to be... which felt rather good.

Well, it felt good when it was over.  I won... and it actually felt like I won a thing.... because I tried and stuff.

Two more to go.


Michael Scott Long said...


Ron Farthouse said...

The last couple of paragraphs were inspiring. Something rolled down my cheek, maybe a tear, maybe spilled beer. The mentions of “trying” and stuff make me want to do the same. Congrats.