Wednesday, October 25

Barnburner 50k 2023: Groundhog Day Edition

Apology ahead of time for typos and such.  I'm punching the keys with 90% of my normally operating digits.  What is it about owning a fixed gear and trying to crush and destroy some phalanges at least once every five or so years?

Here we ago.  Another year.  Another Barnburner.  

No real "goal" to mention of.  I'm just pleased as punch to be back on a mountain bike and feeling my regular normal.  Good to be back in the hunt, regardless of whether I'm the hunter or the hunted.  The top of the field is so stacked that it's highly unlikely that I'll get the same 4th place that I managed the two other times I've raced here before.

Line up in the second or so row because once we turn outta the driveway, we're gonna get slapped in the face with a headwind and then a steep half mile climb.  I'm not nearly warmed up enough to hang at the back of the big boys and girls, but I'm just dangling off the back of the "haves" and at the bleeding edge of the "have nots."  The climb ends at a left turn onto a gravel road that undulates enough to really string people out.  As I said last week, I'd just pre-ridden the trail a week ago, and I "know" we're on this gravel until the three mile mark, and then we bang a hard right.

Despite having all that knowledge, I see 3.0 pop up on my data acquisition device, and then a trail to the right... and a quick glance... and I see pink tape... but everyone ahead of me within sight is going straight.

So I continue to follow the herd.  Until I see someone headed back towards me.  Grab some brake, almost get run over from behind, get off the side of the trail... and head right back into some dense traffic in a real hurry to go the wrong direction.  I see Gabor (also in the single speed class) and yell "WRONG WAY," although my direction was very unpopular with the sea of riders coming at me.  I get to my missed turn and a rider has picked up the arrow sign that musta blown down in the extreme winds. 

Now what?

Honestly, I have no idea how many of the riders ahead of me missed the turn (all, some, none except the ones I saw?) or if any of them were single speeders.  Wherever I thought I was in the field is now just scrambled eggs, other than Gabor being behind me, and assuming he trusted me, he's gotta be close enough to catch me before the finish.  I shoulda told him I was going back to pick up a dropped bottle.


I start catching riders who I assume didn't miss the turn that should be behind me, but they were smarter or at least more observant.  I got in the mix with a single speeder for a bit and went back and forth with him until Gabor caught and passed us, and then he decided to make chase. 

And then they were gone.  That's Charlie about to come around me me for the final time with about ten miles to go.  

Honestly, everything was just a mind jumble.  I mean, if the whole front of the pack missed the turn, how far would they get before figuring out their mistake?  If the three of us are "winning" due to a bunch of riders missing the turn, are we really racing?  I feel like any minute now, riders are going to come screaming by me.

But they don't.

I ride into the finish, apparently not aware that I needed to try and outsprint some rando on a geared bike.

Look around.  There's Gabor.  There's the other guy I was riding with, Charlie.  There's Jarz...

Looks like at best mebbe fourth place depending on how many single speeders ahead of me missed the turn and never caught back up.

And that was that because that's totally what had happened.  I came in fourth.  Again.  Like in 2019 but way more like I did in 2022, missing third by less than a minute (again), or about .6 something seconds per mile (again).  Dammit but also whatever.

I still had a blast, so I'm not all that worried about the results.  I'm hoping the race doesn't take a bad knock just because the high winds blew down a sign (the course still had the upcoming turn pieces of pink tape and confirmation tape in place).  I'm sure it just as frustrating on both ends.

Beer was had in the sun and me knee never touched the floor and my heart still beats so buenos.

Might squeak out one more race in '23.  One more chance to use this:

That Out Front Bracket from So Pro Cycling was so worth the $20 investment.  Sure, your data acquisition device mount has to have the GoPro mount under it, but whatever.  Figure it out or just keep using zip ties and scissors to turn your number plates into an art project cum engineering disaster.

1 comment:

Eric Wever said...

RIP PisgahPro tents from the winds.