Monday, July 02, 2007

local, fast race

With most of the usual crew down at the Tour de Burg, I woke up on Saturday without a real bike plan for the weekend. I checked the MASS calendar on the fridge and saw that Kuhn's Marysville festival weekend was going on, and that the longer xc race was Saturday. And, it had a late afternoon start, which could work out perfectly for the homestead that day. I checked the pre-reg list and saw a bunch of Chambersburg friends Joel, Martin, Chuck and Cathy, plus Fat Marc, Huber and others, so it was an easy dunk decision, and only an hour away.

I lined up with the 10 single-speeders, and among friendly banter, Keith noticed that I seemed to be missing a lot of teeth from my rear cog. Yeah, I geared up for this course to a 32x17. Most of the 10 thought I was nuts. I got the hole shot and held onto 1st for a little while until Keith blew on by. A couple more quickly followed, and then I had comfy 4th for a long time with no immediate pressure on my wheel. But, really, this being the kind of fast, tight, twisty course, without a lot of hills, it was the kind of course where if you slowed down to blow your nose, a couple guys would come around you. I worked pretty hard to hold onto 4th, but it wasn't enough and I dropped back to 6th on the second of our three laps.

I thought I had a little more gas in me than I was using so I picked it up a bit, and some of the guys in front of me started coming back, like Keith, who looked in distress when I passed him. I passed a few more single-speeders and started thinking that I was now sitting in 1st or 2nd. There were several Enduro class racers riding single-speeds still on the course too, so I couldn't really tell for sure who I was passing. I kept going comfortably hard, harder than I usually go, thinking for a whole lap that I had one of the top spots on the wooden steps. I haven't seen a SSer behind me in a long time, and I knew I had several lapped riders buffering behind me as I casually finished out the race with a smug smile and a blog story already in my head. As I'm walking up the one steep section near the end of the race, I hear someone grunting behind me. I turn to see Keith mashing his way up that climb. I yell encouragement to him to clean it, and then I think, WTF, where did you come from? I thought you were done. Dammit Keith, you're efffing up the end of my story. I jump on his wheel and try to sit in and think of where I can use my bigger gear to jump around him or out-sprint him. We only have a little course left and I tried to make a move around the flat pond section, but I couldn't even get close. If anything, he gained another bike length or two in last hundred yards. Nice job Keith! He took 3rd, and I ended up with 4th. Obviously, the real first and second guys were nowhere to be seen by us.

What a race though. It was like Fountainhead or Quantico, and I worked it hard. Too hard perhaps, as I had trouble putting away 2 beers after the race.

Congrats to Martin for winning the young experts and to Cathy for putting in 5 laps in the Enduro. I certainly did not wish for any more than my 3 laps...

It was cool seeing Kevin Dillard, who made the trek up north to race and shoot. Here are a couple of his shots from the weekend. Another gratuitous narcissistic shot from his RAW gallery, and a cool one of Fat Marc and Chunky. Marc had another battle with zombies on Saturday.

Shooter vs. Shooter, here's a pic of Don Pagano who shoots a lot of the Michaux races.

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