Monday, March 26, 2012

Almost The Same As Last Year

After leaving the house before the crack of dark yesterday morning, Lunchbox and I headed east towards Sanford, NC for another day of racing. Once the sun came up, it pretty much rained the rest of the way there. That made me think that the trail conditions would be the same as last year.

Was I ready? I dunno, but I had no choice.

I got there with plenty of time to warm up. When the time was near, we all lined up at the bottom of a hill. My group was one of the last to go, so I had time to think about my strategy. It was pretty much, “Don’t take off too fast up that stupid climb and wear yourself out for the rest of the race.” When the race started, it didn’t take me long to forget that.

Photo Credit: Lunchbox

As I was powering up the climb, I looked back and saw that I was in first place. I didn’t mean to go that fast, so I backed off a bit and let two guys go by at the top. It was too late though. I had put out too much effort and my lungs knew it.

When I hit the singletrack, I was all over the place. The trail was slicker than fresh dog shit, but I don’t think that was the problem (at least at first.) Since I couldn’t seem to get any momentum, I saw 4th place catching up to me. I saw that it was my pal Todd, so I decided to let him by. I kept him (and the other two guys in front of me) in sight for a while, and planned to make my move later. It was a twenty mile race, so I had plenty of time.

Just then, I passed the first place guy like he was standing still (okay, he actually was standing still for some reason.) That meant that I was in third place, and I could still see the two guys ahead of me. But, shit was about to change in a hurry.

Not even three miles in, and I had the first of what would be many crashes. It happened when I rode over a rock structure/garden thingy, and got all excited about my rad rock-clearing ability. Suddenly, a slippery log came out of nowhere and threw me violently to the ground. All 230 pounds of me hit the ground like a sack of potatoes, and I was stunned. I kept waiting to get passed while I slowly regained my composure, but for some reason I didn’t. I got going again, but things would never be the same.

I crashed a lot more after that, but none of them were as bad (but they still hurt.) After one lap though, I think my wreck total was around six or so. Nevertheless, I was glad to see Lunchbox waiting near the trail exit.

One lap down, and my legs felt good. The left side of my body was aching from the crash, but I had to suffer through one more lap. I took it a little easier this time, but that was probably because my technical skills were almost non-existent. I slipped on the littlest of roots and rocks, and clipped trees that were nowhere near me. I felt like a complete mountain biking newbie.

Even though I was taking it easy, it still didn’t stop me from crashing. I fell on the dumbest shit, and I wasn’t really gaining any ground on the two guys ahead of me. After a ton of crashes (and a really long second lap), I saw Lunchbox waiting for me again.

The photo is blurry because he had to jump out of the way. I was out of control and ready to be finished (and I almost ran over him.)

After over twenty miles, and about a dozen crashes later, I was finished. No one caught up to me, so I finished in third place. Just like last year, except that this time I made it in time for the podium ceremony.

It was a long day on a very tough trail. I enjoyed it for some reason, but I haven’t figured out what that is just yet. The trail wasn’t in the greatest shape, but it wasn’t too bad, either. I was pretty much dead at the end, and I still hurt as I write this. I really enjoy pushing the limits though.

Oh yeah, I got another rock.

The season is here for sure, and I’ve reached my goal of “one podium trip per season” already. Now I can take it easy.

Bullshit. It’s time to get to work.

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