Friday, April 18, 2014

Bone Bender

Last Saturday i found myself on the front row at the start line of the Bone Bender mountain bike race.

Racing was a somewhat last minute decision and that same casual attitude carried me thru pre-race bike maintenance (adjust tire pressure, stair at bike) and course recon (warm up on the road). I'm not a bike maintenance guy so if it's running i usually leave it alone, and i didn't want to remind myself how rusty my singletrack skills are until i had no choice and was forced to face the music during the actual race.
Ignorance turned out to be bliss because i ended up having a pretty good day.

Besides my ignorance I did have two things other working in my favor, well three if you count the fact that i've done this race several times and know he trails pretty well. One: my fitness is pretty good, and two: almost all the fast folks were doing the marathon distance and im doing the XC.

All in all it was the perfect mix of attitude and conditions to allow self delusion resulting in me believing im much faster than i actually am. Success!

As soon as the horn blew i knew the legs were good. We turned onto the grass after the long pavement start and i was 4th or 5th, which was perfect. The trails at Clinton Lake are full of big rocks, which im not particularly fond of, and the opening section was pretty brutal. I killed myself to try and keep pace with the leaders and along the way was comforted to see that a few people were having more trouble with the terrain than i was.

I had to dismount a couple times in this opening section, once of my own doing and another time due to someone in front of me, but luckily by that point everyone behind me was fairly spread out so nobody was breathing down my neck.

Up next was a substantial amount of smooth dirt roads, smooth fields, and even a little paved road (full disclosure, i loved the pavement!) and i used all of this to recover from the initial effort, which was very taxing. Karen (of House Brocket) and another dude caught me on the road and i gladly sat on them while commenting about my approval of said road, Karen shook her head.

The memory is a bit hazy after this but i do know there were lots of big rocks. I remember Clay coming around me and seeming to float over the same rocks that were giving me fits. Afterwards he said something about me being on a hard tail, ahhh, i thought, he has a full suspension. probably makes a huge difference. Then again i saw someone riding fully rigid and he looked fast... and young.

I remember looking out at the lake several times and thinking, what a beautiful day.

I remember repeating in my head, "race, race, race, race" as i got more comfortable and motivated.

I remember being extremely thankful that i had a Aldi's fruit strip in my pocket and that i had opened it before the race for easier consumption.

I remember crossing the finish line and heading strait for the donuts while "let the good times roll" by the cars blared from the speakers.

I remember looking at the results on line and seeing how slow my times were compared to guys in the marathon, and they were doing two more laps! Damn.

Still, it was a great day. Big thanks to everyone who made it happen!

I've looked at the race calendar and see a few more mountain bike races i can hopefully attend, Bone Bender got my blood pumping.

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