I drove up to Perry Lake yesterday to partake in the last Dam Race of the year. Cat 4. 35 miles.
The entire weekend up to that point had been perfect, weather, birthday, ku win, more weather... so i wanted to keep it that way. A good reslut was not in the cards considering i got a late start to riding seriously this year plus this was only my first race of the year, but i wanted to stay with the pack. That would make me happy.
I paid my $25, went thru the pre race routine and rolled up to the startline. i spotted a few other dudes with hary legs and felt a little better about my chances for a pack finish.
They blow the whistle and off we go.
The start felt fast. I was hurting almost immediately. the wind was coming hard from the South so positioning was key. Especially for me as i soon realized i would be suffering the whole race just trying to hang on. It took me two laps to settle in but after that i made sure i was in the right place all the time. If not i'm quite sure the wind would have slapped me around like a little bit*h and left me limping home.
The only place i felt good was the climb. With the exception of maybe 5 guys i think i was just as fast as anybody else up that hill. I'll take that but i'm not overly excited about it. It's simply the benefit of being 140 lbs. Me bragging about being a good climber would be like someone bragging about being tall. Besides, i'm fully aware i have no power. i have trouble keeping up when were going down hill since im so light. i need to work on that.
So the laps tick by, a few moves go but im really not interested in any of that. Of course im thinking about being a good teameate but besides that im just here to survive. The team was riding great and when Kenny got away at the top of the climb we sat up and let someone else pull thru. I think he got caught but then took off again and finished solo for 3rd. Pretty impressive for a 16 year old. Plus... he's probably lighter than i am! dude's got game.
So we get to the last lap and halfway thru i almost crack, i actually gave up for 2 seconds when were single file and i couldnt hold the wheel in front of me, then i noticed they slowed and i caught back on easily. but the writing was on the wall. cramps were starting to set in and i was tired. we hit the bottom of the hill and i got out of the saddle for a few seconds, then decided i was done and sat up. So it wasent a pack finish, but pretty close, im fine with it. Considering i've done very little riding so far this year and very little of it has been pedaling hard im happy with the result.
This could / should / will be / who knows/ might be the break out season i wanted last year on the road.
I really want to get to Cat 3 this year. If for no other reason than to prepare myself a little better for racing open cross races this year.
Instead of boring you with what's been keeping me from blogging i'll get right to the fun bike stuff.
Sreet Cred Crit (2-18-12)
The Crit was the only one of the four stages of street cred i was able to do this year. That made me sad but racing the crit made me happy. In a nutshell... i was winning the race (only because i was the last one to pit for the mandatory catbury egg ingestion) but i knew i was doomed when when Pot Pie caught back up to me after he pitted and before i even pitted. Watch out for Pot Pie, he could be trouble this year. But street cred is not about winning. It's about feeling good all the time and it was a blast. Well done Lev for keeping Street Cred alive. You know i still have the original blue leads jersey in my closet, we need to get that to CB. That's a piece of KC history right there.
i accidentally deleted my photos from the crit. sorry.
So every year for the past 4 or 5 years Lev and i have ventured down to the Natural State to ride mountain bikes. This year Dave also came and shattered any notions we had of being fast. We were the power trio but Dave was definitely Sting and did the heavy listing. I'd like to think of myself as Stuart Copeland and Lev makes a perfect Andy Summers. Sting just keeps going, no wonder he went on to be big things once the Police broke up. Nice work Dave. Plus he's handy so when you break your real deraillure he can help turn it into a singlespeed so that you can pedal home.
Arkansas is awesome and i highly recommend you go there and stay in Eureka Springs and ride the trails at Lake Leatherwood. Pick me up a pewter wizard while you're there.
Now on to...
Now were pretty much back up to real time. Today is Sunday but last night i was lucky enough to make it out for the final race of the Pirate winter race series. Like with Street Cred i told myself i have to do at least one of these. I love riding my bike but i also love hanging out with folks who love to have a good time, and it's even better if they love riding too... well, the pirate crew appears to have the monopoly on that. What a blast.
The night in a nutshell...
Head out to the priates lair (great to finally be there after reading so much about it), notice immediately that while this is certainly not a sanctioned race it's most certainly a well run event (i got a spoke card and a race number and the sign in had a folding table and a pop up canopy! Seriously... everything about this event was great), mingle with lots of costumed mtb crazies, head to the backyard for a short skills competition on the pirates homemade skills course (i have no skills and was happy to spectate and snap pics), ride about 10 min to the start of the actual race (another sign this is a well run event... an actual banner at the start finish!). Then... race time.
(We haven't done a race re-cap in a while, so why not.)
I'm riding my cross bike since my mountain bike is broken (typing that makes me feel spoiled). I look around and see Chrisgo is the only other dude rocking the skinny tires. Something like 30 of us line up for what is to be a 4 lap race thru cross / mtb single track like conditions. This was my first time riding trails at night so i was excited and nervous.
There are plenty of fast people here and despite the fact that this is for fun and i'm worried about hurting myself i was hoping to go fast and be aggressive.
The race starts and i immediately wish i was riding my mountain bike. there are lots of big ruts and the ground is bumpy so it was a rough ride, i have a huge blister on my palm to prove it. Despite this i was able to ride just about everything. i'm probably sitting 5th after 1/3 of a lap but then about 5 folks cut the course (understandable, it was night time and a little hard to see where to turn) and put me in 10th. Not a big deal, this will just make it more fun.
Being that this was a top notch event there were bonus seconds available every lap in the form of beer, liqueur, donughts, etc. which were available at the start finish. For every goodie you ingested they marked your race number with a sharpie.
I neglected to pit on the first two laps as the thrill or racing was running thru my veins but halfway thru lap 3 i came to my senses and realized not stopping to partake in the refreshments would be totally lame. Besides, i'll do plenty or races where you don't get rewarded for stopping so how can i pass this up. So on lap three i stopped for 3 dixie cups of beer. it tasted great but was hard to drink quickly and then hard to pedal hard after that. I dug deep in this race. It was 44 min long and basically cross like intensity.
Considering the bike i was rocking i think i had pretty good flow thru the course. there were a few sections i just ran and while doing so imagined what the mtb folks thought of me. "whose this dorky kid in capris and why is he running over these small logs?" I love it! I battled with a few folks and when it was all said and done i finished 3rd in the geared division! That was good enough for post race mention and a prize from the ample swag table. Neon pink sox in the house!
I believe Don Won crossed the line first, not surprising, but what was surprising were the amount of lettres he had on his race number. I had 3 'B's' since i drank three cups of beer. Check out his race number in the pic below, theres scribbles all over that thing!
Well done, sir.
The highlight of the race was the immediate post race party. It was a sight to behold and something i'll never forget. A bunch of crazies sitting in a field with 300 lumen lights on their heads cheering on every finisher while downing dixie cups of beer, donuts, and... well, lets just say Mountain Bikers are not like Road Riders. I love everybody but Mountain Bikers sure know how to have a good time.
Well done Pirate, you put on a great show and deserve major props.
Spring is almost here and I'm psyched to ride my bicycle.