|Glad that Perry got to battle the masses on the start lap.|
Perry did have a good starting position until racers started filling in front of the front row. By the time the race started, he was sitting about 60 racers back. After I saw him cross the road after the parade lap, I began my warm up. The weather was absolutely perfect: 55 degrees, a cool breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.
After seeing a half dozen coed teams come through on the first lap, I was eager to start chasing rabbits. Perry came in hot and I was off. It took me a few minutes to find my single track, berm riding legs and for the nerves to settle, but by the first mile I found my rhythm. Even though I had not pre ridden the course, my body remembered every berm, root, rock garden, and climb.
I was in an unfamiliar spot though, as Perry had come across in the top 25 racers. I had an empty trail before me, but had a lot of fast men come upon me in the opening miles. They all played nice and were around me in a flash. Within the first few miles, I was upon one of the Industry 9 coed teams and she allowed me the pass in the most respectful manner. I knew Bevin, of the second I9 coed team, was somewhere up ahead and kept it redlined hoping to pass her by mid lap.
I caught up to her around mile 6 and made the pass. We were now sitting in 5th or 6th place. The trail was in perfect hero dirt shape! I kept it pegged the whole way, hoping to build up enough of a buffer for Perry. I came in with a lap time of 1:07:50.
While Perry was out on course, I cooled off, ate, drank, rested, and warmed back up. I ran the numbers through my head and we would have to keep our laps hot, if I was going to have the chance to race a third one. Time ticked by and I watched Jacob come through and hand off to Bevin. Perry was just a couple minutes behind.
I tried to go out hard, but the legs threw a fit. It felt like I was pedaling through quicksand. I told myself to give them a few minutes and they would come around. My heart was doing its job, pumping fresh oxygen to the engine at a rate of 170 bpm, but the carburetor must have been gummed up. Ten minutes later, I felt better and more fluid, but not near as happy as that first lap.
I managed to come upon Bevin and pass her, earlier than I had the first lap. I jokingly told her I was going to make Jacob earn that 3rd lap. I am all about trying to inspire women on the trail, and I was hoping that this would light a fire underneath her wheels. I think she kicked it into a higher gear as it took more time this lap to shake her off my tail.
Halfway through the lap, I was in a world of hurt. I fought through the pain cave, but knew that this was going to be a much slower lap. Unlike the first lap, where I was hammering the climbs like I was on my single speed, this lap I definitely made more use of my easier gears. At least, I told myself, I would not have to torture the legs with a third. I came in with a time of 1:11:05. Pitiful, by my standards.
|Credit: Daren Wilz|
Perry took off on his third and our final lap. I hoped that his legs were happier than mine, as Jacob rolled out after him just a few minutes later. While I waited to see what our final placing would be, I contemplated my bike choice. I came to the conclusion that, aside from the first lap, a single speed is just as fast, if not faster, than gears. Gears allowed me to make that decision to spin easier and suffer less. My single speed would probably have been the faster bike, as I would not have had any other choice but to grunt it out. Either that or walk!
Perry was unable to hold off Jacob, who crushed it on his last lap. Perry said Jacob came by him like he was standing still. We ended up 7th out of 24, which I gladly took. Our field was stacked! Hell, every field was stacked! This race, by far, is one of the most competitive I have ever been party to.
Although I was mostly happy with my performance, i.e. gave it everything I had, enjoyed the ride, played nice, I was sad I was not going to get another pottery mug to add to my collection. But then I saw that the podium prizes were growlers and I became less sad. Although I am sure there are those who liked those aluminum growlers, I wish that they had kept the pottery mugs going. Maybe they will change their minds next year?
|Standing next to a future legend, the Zoe!|