Wednesday, November 1

Unexpected Race Report: The Fastest Fist at the Fister Fest '23

I was supposed to go to Pisgah on Saturday.  I didn't.  A last minute cancelation of plans plus local event with registration still being open meant I still get to have fun (of an ass total opposite type) so whatevs.  I'd kinda planned on going to Fisher Fest in the back of my mind, forgot about it, made other plans, and voila.  

Doing the bull dance, feeling the flow, working it.

Only problem being that I'm 75% packed for a semi-epic in Pisgah on one bike, and now I need to pivot to XC mode and get another bike ready... and it's 7:00PM.  I don't really wanna ride my rigid single speed over all the roots and whatnot at Fisher Farm, but I don't wanna drag a 140mm fork around... and I've just recently come to the realization that all but one of my rides since getting back on the mountain bike since slicing my knee open have been on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7 as such, so...

After this past weekend, I've ridden only this mountain bike off road and none other for almost two hundred miles.  Glad I as in such a hurry to have all the bikes' squishy parts rebuilt after my injury.

Dunno if any of that makes sense, but some of the usual Winter Shart Tarck SSuspectSS had signed up for the challenge, so I decided to join them.  Time trial format, five mile laps, up to three shots at setting your fastest single lap time as long as you start between 9:00AM and 11:30AM.  That's the Fastest in Fisher XC Race.

I was planning on taking the first lap easy to get to know the course.  I don't really ride out here much anymore.  Not because I don't like it, but it's just a pretty long drive when I have so many trails much closer to the house.  Oh... and Interstate 77.  Anything I can do to avoid ever being in a car on that godforsaken route.  North or south.  Any time of day.  It's the worst of humanity.  Seriously.  It's worse than a bunch of seventh graders being supervised by a sixty-eight year old substitute teacher with no chin, except their misbehavior is slightly less deadly. 

Oh, back to the riding and less about the whining.

I went into the trail for lap one some number of seconds behind diesel single speeder, Bruce.  It seemed like I was closing the gap when I could see him through the trees, and as it turned out, I did.  I'd planned on using the first lap to familiarize myself with the trail and just warm up, but I realized that since we were the first two to start, the trail would never be as clear as it was right then.  I ended up going full gas and making lots of mistakes, but I still squoze out a sixteen second lead despite making multiple poor line choices.

But like I said.  Bruce.  Diesel.

Lap two and he goes twenty seconds faster than his previous time and I go ten seconds slower... and Shawn has now gotten in a fast lap, and he's matched my second lap time, and I'm about blown from doing two twenty-four minute intervals.

So, do I go out for a third when I know my legs are blown, but I know the course better and Bruce (who rides here with some regularity) doesn't think he wants a third and Shawn is deliberating his last attempt?

I just need four seconds.  Hard to give up when I just need to go one second per mile faster.

So I do.

Firstly, I can't comprehend how I can still see max heart rates that are the same as what I could do when I was in my young 20s.  Secondly, I don't see how it was possible to bury myself the most on the third lap.  Suffice to say, I shaved fifty-five seconds off my fastest previous lap.  That was enough to win, as Shawn and Bruce didn't go back out, and Kevin got there too late to get more than one attempt in before they closed it all down.

So, a "win" in that I was the fastest single speeder, but a bigger actual win is that I'm finally feeling "me" again.

I would also take one in the "L" column if I take into account what I did the rest of the day to not recover much at all.  While I did do squeezy leg bags that night, I ate like shit and also way too late and didn't really rehydrate or take that nap my body really wanted or get a good night's sleep.

And then I grabbed the rigid SS one more time on Sunday to head out to North Wilkesboro without much thought being put into the distance or elevation of our route or swapping my cog out for something a little more 100 feet per mile friendly.

So now the decision is do I race again in two weeks or prioritize a shop party the night before?
I do so love the unhealthy endeavor of playing last man standing (on the patio) at the annual Spoke Easy Anniversary Party.  It takes a special something to make the podium there.  You don't always have to end up walking a celebrity eight miles back to your house.

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