Tuesday, March 29, 2011
But unlike these guys I don’t have one foot in the grave. However, after one lap at San Lee Park on Sunday and one more to go, I sure felt like it. I hit the singletrack on my final lap, and I decided to take it up a notch. Just before the end of that first lap though, I had dropped back into third place. First and second place were still within sight, so I still had a chance to catch and overtake them. I settled into a good pace, and made up my mind to take a few more chances on this go ‘round.
I was still slipping and sliding everywhere. The trail had gotten a little drier since the rain stopped, but there were some spots on the trail that will probably take weeks to recover from the wet weather. I thought about taking it easy to guarantee a safe finish, but seeing the two guys in front of me made me forget about all that horseshit. I pushed and pushed, tackling the very technical trail with ease, especially the climbs. My legs were feeling good, so I knew I could get up there and take the lead. All of a sudden though, the trail started getting the better of me.
I slid off the trail a bunch of times on the downhill stuff, and got intimately acquainted with several trees in the process. The climbs weren’t too bad, even though there were a shitload of rocks. The Dirty Party Cycle (who got in a lap before the race started), said that the trail looked like a river bed, minus the water. The lines through the rocks were few and far between, but I managed to find them. With all the switchbacks, I could see that the two guys ahead of me were having trouble navigating the rock stuff. It would only be a matter of time until I caught up, or so I thought.
With about four miles to go, I decided to speed it up. I had been riding with a guy from another class the whole time, and we were helping each other keep a good pace. I was leading him at this point, when all of a sudden I slipped on a sloppy berm and headed straight for a tree. I put my hand out in front to catch myself, and basically punched the poor defenseless tree with my left hand. I thought I had broken it, and it immediately started to swell and hurt like crazy. I hopped back on my bike and caught up to my riding partner, and he said he was glad to have me back.
I could barely hold onto the handlebars with my left hand, especially on the climbs. Shit. The technical climbing was the only way I could catch those two guys, and I was suffering. First place was no longer close by, but I could see number two just ahead of me. On the last climb out, I ignored the pain as best I could and tried to catch him. When we reached the final descent, I let it all hang out. Lunchbox was there to catch the action.
One more climb up that paved hill and I crossed the finish line. I wasn’t too far off second place, but at least I got on the podium this time. It was a tough course, and I earned that shit for sure. I was freezing by the time I finished, so I went back down the hill to my truck and changed into some warm, dry clothes. Then, I went back to pick up my loot.
If you look closely, you can see my little trophy. In case you couldn’t keep your eyes off of my fancy new Bike29 t-shirt though, here is a close up of my prize:
Yeah, I know it looks like a rock. In fact, it is a rock. Pretty clever, I thought. Actually, I found it quite ironic that my prize for suffering through a shitload of rocks for twenty miles was a rock. I was very happy to have it nonetheless, especially since it means that I reached my goal of getting on the podium at least once this season.
I got quite a few other goodies in my prize bag too, so don’t think I’m complaining. I really enjoyed that trail, even though it was super tough (and cold, and wet, and kicked my ass.) The folks out there in Sanford put on a good race, and I would definitely go back and do it again. I was happy that I pushed myself through such a tough race. The fact that I got to ride a new, highly technical trail in wet conditions made the whole day worth it. My hand still hurts a little, but it’s not broken (at least I’m pretty sure it isn’t.) I should be just fine to ride another day. I love suffering, can’t you tell?
I’ll be back tomorrow, because I have some new shit to talk about (and because I have nothing better to do.)