Sunday, February 7, 2021

Snake Creek Gap TT Race Report

 I had been hem-hawing the past two weeks over whether to race or not. Two weeks out, the weather forecast was horrible (cold and wet), so I was out.  One week out, it was looking really good (dry, sunny, and warm), so I was back in.  Then over the last few days before the race, the bottom was falling out, but not enough to take me out; just enough to make me think I could get a sub 4 hour time, but that I was going to be miserably cold doing it.  My Reynaud's has been acting up quite a bit this winter, and I was currently dealing with two toes that were painful and festering from a lack of blood flow that lasted a little bit too long during a cold hike in January.

David Jolin and Melissa Cooper arrived at my house Friday night and we hashed out our plans, mainly clothing choices, that changed 4 or 5 times through the course of the conversation.  My internal alarm clock had me up at 4:10 am, 5 minutes before my phone alarm went off.  Score!  As I absolutely hate the alarm clock jolting me awake.  We ate our breakfast on the drive down to the Snake Pit.  Melissa and David rode the shuttle, but as I was delivering a SS cog to Joe Urbanowicz, his father offered me a front row seat in his toasty truck.  Score #2!  I was able to stay warm right up until the race started at 8 am.  

As I hit the wood line for one last time to make race weight and butter up the chamois, I was just not feeling the racing mojo with today's 22 degree start.  Even with chemical warmers in my shoes and gloves, my extremities were so cold. I told myself to HTFU.

I noticed Melissa riding around and warming up, or so I thought. As I made my way back to the truck to grab my bike and head to the start line, she came up with a face of utter frustration.  Her dropper post was misbehaving and was not staying in the up position.  She had not touched the actuator lever, but when she would sit on the saddle, it just sank, all the way down.  That was weird. I know that droppers don't like 22 degree weather, but for the brands I have owned, you just don't mess with the lever and essentially you just have a really heavy rigid post.

Melissa had driven the day before all the way from Durham, NC, an 8 hour drive. You see, this was her first year racing The Snake, and she was eager to earn the buckle.  I could see it in her eyes; she was crushed!  And I could just not let that happen.  I made a quick and easy decision.  She was going to ride Blaze, my bike.  We quickly swapped pedals, put her number plate on the bike, made a saddle adjustment, and she was off to earn her buckle.

We were both all smiles.

It wasn't that hard of a decision for me.  I was just not feeling it today, and I could not let my good friend have a miserable weekend, but I could let her suffer through the cold and difficulty of the course. Score #3!  My only regret was slathering my chamois with Chamois Butt'r, because now I would have a cold, clammy chamois for the next 3-4 hours as I hung with Joe's Dad while he supported him.  Eh, a small price to pay.

Riding it like she stole it!

I saw Melissa come through the Snake Creek Gap parking lot, smiling all the way.  That was enough for me to know I had made the right decision.  I even got to see my favorite racer of the series, 10 year old Jameson Keith.  He slayed his January time (21 minutes faster) and finished under 3 hours.  He was on fire and looked great coming through the finish line.  I am sure he loved tucking in behind his Dad on the pavement descent, doing 20+ mph!

Melissa got her buckle, Joe had THE fastest 34 mile time overall, and David won his division in the 50 mile.  All in all, the day was an absolute success, with many Rescue Racing team mates on the podium.  At the finish, I did have a slight twinge of envy watching the racers crush their January times as the course was fast today. But, that quickly faded.  My January time was good enough to win my division and I will be back next year to give that sub-4 another go.  

AND, having not raced today allows me to be a Zwimp tomorrow 😄