Sunday’s second race for me seemed like a good idea at the time. However, I wasn’t ready. I was out in the woods watching Lunchbox go at it (more on that later), and I barely got back in time to register and get my shit together to go out on the single speed. Maybe that was a sign that I shouldn’t have raced.
I felt like shit from putting out so much effort from my first race, and I really didn’t want to go back out there. I had one beer between races to take the edge off, so I figured that was good enough. I lined up at the start and took off at a decent pace. When we rounded the corner in the parking lot and headed towards the woods I felt like I wouldn’t last even one lap, let alone a whole race.
I backed off and let the remainder of the field go in front of me, and I entered the woods dead last.
Photo credit: Lunchbox
In the singletrack, I was able to take it easy and still go fast. When I hit the big tabletop jump, a large crowd had gathered (as usual.) They yelled my name and gave me the motivation I needed to keep going. At that moment I vowed to give it everything I had and keep going. You know, for my fans.
With the dirt roadie factor still in full effect, I managed to pretty much stay with the group. When we hit the fire road I mashed my way up the hill. I passed a couple of people and it felt okay. I don’t know where that energy came from, but I said to myself, “Fuck it, I’ll use it while I got it.” As I got back to the parking lot, Good Guy Greg was there and he said I was looking good. Sure, I felt like shit, but at least I was “racing.” I gunned it back into the woods, just trying to make it to the next spot where I could hear some cheering.
I wasn’t disappointed, because the crowd of hecklers had grown larger…and louder.
TomTom even captured a cool sequence of me at the tabletop jump.
I was hauling ass in the woods, and the trail conditions had improved tremendously. It was kinda like two totally different courses compared to the first race. The next two climbs up the fire road were pretty good, but I knew I was wearing down. At that moment I decided that the plan was to push as hard as I could just so I could make it back to the spots where I could be heckled.
It seemed to work.
With twenty minutes to go, my legs felt like they were about to fall off. I had slowed to a crawl on the fire road, keeping just enough speed to keep from falling over. I think I even saw a turtle run by me on one lap.
With two laps to go, I left it all out there. I put in one final push to gain some places, and managed to pass one more guy and put a big gap on him on the second to last lap. There was another guy up ahead, and with one to go, I tried to catch him in the woods. He was way up there though, so I knew I would have to catch him on the fire road.
I mashed, mashed, and mashed some more up the final climb. On the descent out of the grassy field I was right on his wheel, and when we came to the last turn into the parking lot we were side by side. I gunned it, spinning my ass of in the process. He must have been running a bigger gear, because he stood up and beat me my a few tenths of a second.
At least I gave it my all.
When it was over, I wasn’t even in last place. I gave all I had in two races, and I felt like I was about to pass out. I decided that the best thing to do was to drink a few beers, which made the pain go away.
Photo cred: Ben Hund
I earned those beers.
And that folks, is why I do this.