Friday, August 21, 2009

Mud-fest ‘09

I’ve been to every race in the Charlotte Mountain Bike Series this season, except of course the ones that have been cancelled due to rain. (What, you go to cancelled races?) So yeah, a few have been called off, because it only seems to want to rain on Wednesdays around here. This past Humpday looked really promising. I had the day off from work, so I delivered the Lunchbox to “Skate Camp” at Soul Ride Skatepark in Concord at the usual 7:45 a.m. drop-off time. He basically hangs out at the park all day, socializing with other little skate grommets and learning new tricks from the staff members. (I’ll take a moment here to shout out to Wes and Christian. Thanks guys!)

Okay, back to the day. I arrived back home to meet with the TV repair guy so he could tell me I had to wait another week while they order a part. So, still no big screen TV in our house. Little Miss Sunshine is pissed, but I really don’t care. Yeah, it’s a nice TV and all, but I just don’t watch it that much. We do “movie night” usually once a week, and I do miss that. I could give a shit about regular TV unless it’s sports, but there’s not a whole lot going on right now. Baseball sucks, and the NFL hasn’t really started yet. Preseason is just glorified practice and ESPN fodder to help break up the stupid baseball highlights. Oh, you like baseball? Good for you, but I’d rather not watch a sport where you can see the athletes get fatter during the game. These chubby slobs stand around for about 95% of the time. NASCAR drivers are more athletic, even if they only turn left. Jeez, off on a tangent. Oh well. I hope I didn’t offend you. Well, unless you’re a baseball fan, then I meant to.

"I'm not fat! I'm big-boned!"

After TV guy left, I spent the early part of the morning tear-assing through the fridge eating everything I could find. I also drank water like a fish since I woke up pretty dehydrated. I went out to the garage and busted out Goose to give it a nice bath. After the spin cycle, I dried it off and greased up all of the parts that needed a good greasin’. My new grips from Lizard Skins arrived the day before, so I put them on. They have an option where you can customize the lock rings, so I went with “Bike Patrol.” I figured I would do everything I could to make the new Tarheel Trailblazers Bike Patrol a success. Advertising on my grips might seem like overkill, but it’s not like I set my hair on fire to sell a Pepsi or anything. Check it…

I played around on the Internets for a while, posting quasi-humorous pictures on the Tarheel Trailblazers website. I packed up my bike and other associated crap and headed out to pick up Lunchbox. We wanted to get out to Renaissance early enough to help Neal and Doug set up. We were there about a half hour or so, got the tent set up, and then a furious rain was unleashed from the heavens. The drops were huge and really cold. Oh shit, I thought, another one cancelled. But, just like that, it was gone. It tried to sprinkle a few more times after that, but it was okay. The show must go on. We were racing this one. We finished setting up everything, and slowly but surely race participants arrived. I went on a little pre-race warm up ride, and it was a little scary. The trail was slick in the corners, and the roots made it that much worse. I knew this was going to be an interesting race. People were going down. I knew for sure I would be one of them.

At 6:15 we headed down to the start line and the groups started leaving in two minute intervals. When my group started, I stood up and mashed up the hill, determined not to get stuck behind the slow group. I got on the trail in about 14th place or so, so I had some work to do. At the minimum, I had to catch Doug and Patrick to let them know I was there. We have a friendly rivalry, and we all usually finish pretty close to each other, taking turns bragging about who came in first out of the three of us. It didn’t take long to find Doug, because the group hadn’t really split up yet. Doug slid out in a corner, I passed him, and I never saw him again until the finish line. I thought for sure he would catch me after he got back on the bike, since I usually burn out around the second mile or so. I guess the road bike is helping, because that didn’t happen this time.

I kept talking to myself during the race. I would say things like, “Okay, doing good. Try to keep this pace. Back off a little, you’re gonna bonk. Now, PUSH IT!” That shit worked I guess. I found Patrick on a left turn that splits around a tree, and I took the straight shot and beat him around it. He stayed with me for a few minutes, but I was hammering away and not letting up. I planned on standing up and mashing until he dropped off or I passed out, whichever came first. All that action was pretty early in the race, so unfortunately my race excitement ended there. Sure, I passed a few other riders, but I don’t know them, so it didn’t really matter. Those two guys push me, and I think we’re all better racers because of our little "rivalry."

I crossed the finish line in 10th place, with plenty of energy left. Shit. That means I could have ridden a little faster. I guess I have a lot to learn. I should be happy, since that’s the highest I’ve finished in any of these summer races. I finished 1st at the Catawba Riverfront Classic back in June, but it's a longer course, and it's not a part of this series. With the points I accumulated, I’m sitting in 9th place for the season; 4 points out of 8th. My goal was to finish in the top ten when it’s all over, so I may end up on target. I forgot to tell Lunchbox where the camera was, so we didn’t get any pictures. I did take one yesterday before I washed my bike again. Yes, it was a mud-fest, and I never went down.

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