Noah has Catamount MTB camp this week, so the Wednesday night race is included and he insisted I go and race as well. Ugh. Oh well. His race was at 6 which was not too bad. He was doing the full 1 lap race last year, but this year insisted on doing the half lap. Upon further questioning, he finally admitted he did not want to keep being among the last finishers…whoops. That of course is my fault. I have the mentality of riding up, and if you have a chance to do well in the easy race, you almost certainly should not do the easy race. I think its some kind of failure avoidance thing. If you have not shot of doing well, there is not pressure to do well. If you may have a shot, well, you better do well.
Yah, I try to instill all my personal hang ups on my children at a young age. Its my way of preparing them for a life of mediocrity. Its for their own good in the long run. No sense being delusional.
ANYWAY…He did 1/2 lap and got 3rd. He had a slow start and two bigger kids got away. I had him work his way thru the large field of like 20 kids and start chasing. We got to a gradual climb and that is where I coached him up to ride hard and pull them back. Right at the top he made contact, then they turned into the tricky twisty bits and the other two, who had ridden steady on the hill, pulled away. He was blown and was not motivated to chase, but he still tried hard. The race finishes on a dirt road climb (not a big hill, but big if you are 9) and he was really blown, but he could see them not far ahead of him, 100 yds maybe, so he kept the power on and gave it his all. He got a well deserved third. No one in sight behind them. I think they should all do the full lap next time…
I road around some more after that. Getting 2 laps on the course. I had glass legs. Pretty sore from yesterday’s double. My fitness felt fine, but I could only do a light spin. Thank god I had the gears on, so I was able to just do a light spin! Ahhhh, that’s nice. Single speed is foolishness. Its pretty flat, but WICKED twisty, and it rained most of the day so it was wet and swampy out there. The whole loop is tight twisty rooty single track so it was dicey. Also, starting at 7PM it gets wicked dark in there, so the last two laps, with tinted Rx sunglasses on (my only option) it was riding by feel!
The trails were a long series of “rail slides”. The roots all seem to run parallel to the course, and man you just hit them at speed and do two wheel grinds along them until something grabs. I just committed to it and hoped for the best. I kept it up and by the last couple laps, I couldn’t see line changes anyway and just let the bike slide where it wanted.
I did a nasty torque spin up a hill at one point and took a core sample of my knee with the stem, which still hurts like hell. I had to stop and get off and stand there for a bit to get the feeling back. That sucked.
Basically, the race went like this – Reverse hole shot of a huge pack of maybe 30? people! I wanted to make sure I had no chance of going to hard. The start is right into the twisties so it was stop and wait time in a few spots. Fine with me.
I spent lap 1 riding EASY, I would guess at like 150HR or so. Threshold at worst, low end, cause I was not ever short of breath or anything. When does that ever happen on the MTB? I was passing people casually, if I really had to. I maybe passed 10 people? By lap 2 I was with one guy, no one behind us, no one in front of us. I just followed the guy cause I did not want to go hard, and its so much easier to follow someone then to push with someone on your wheel. Did not want to push…
At the climb at the start of lap 3, I was bored with that and he was slowing, so I passed him on the climb (I think I used him up). Lap 3 I rode alone, with him fading off. Lap 4 was full on lonely. If anyone was behind me, it was not for lack of trying on my part. But I kept it out of the red, and at a pace that was actually FUN.
It was so damned HOT and SWAMPY though, it was nuts. By the end I could not shift my grip shifter, it was too slimy. I had to plan it way in advance and it took a couple tries. Yuck.
In the end I was 1:14, 22nd overall of 31 starters. That is good considering I never hit race pace (or even really ever stood up!).
Couple pics of me resting on the finish dirt road stretch, trying to dry the palms of my hands:
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