A mountain bikers race this was. My body still hurts.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like out in the world that day. A pandemic of exploding kittens… …the horror. When I got home, I was glad to see that ours was okay.
I don’t know if it was the wet, slick rocks and roots or my lack of skill, but this course ate me up and spit me out. If traction were Waldo I’d still be looking. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but I brought the big dual squish out and still got my butt handed to me. This track has some of the most beautiful, flowing, very technical single-track I’ve ridden. A place I will no doubt return to, especially being only two towns away.
After a very short uphill start, where I took the corner too tight and punched a course stake over, we got onto fire-road and had two short, steep climbs. We wasted no time getting right onto the single-track. No big ups or downs, just nice, wet, rocky, and rooty single-track. By the time we got to the river crossing (it may have been crossings) I was getting cocky thinking, “hey this ain’t so bad, I can do this”, and then we started going up. It leveled off at about a mile and a quarter, as we came through a clearing at one of the two crossings in this figure sixteen of a course. Back onto the single-track. Beautiful, flowing and all uphill, unrelenting but never too steep up to the second crossing at the water stop at mile three. A pretty fast descent brought us down to a rather long and gnahly rock garden. Apparently somewhere around here we rode along the other side of the pond. Then at about mile four a wall appeared. It was like some sort of a bad dream. One second we were all riding and laughing, and the next second I’m in way too big a gear pushing way too hard. So I walked it. I like having a geared bike, but it takes a while to remember how to use it. I had already had one or two guys say something about me mashing a big gear, calling me out on being a single-speeder. Anyway, the wall brought us back up to the water stop at about mile five, which took us back down the other side. A few rock gardens, stream crossings and at about mile seven we got to the power-line rock garden. Back into the woods and from here back to the start/finish was my favorite part of the course. Technical, with lines which rewarded you for finding them with great flow, but punished you if you lost them. A really fun three or so miles of trail.
Coming through the start/finish at the beginning of the second lap my body crashed. I had ridden ten miles at race pace and had not eaten or drank the whole time. I didn’t want to lose the time stopping to get some food out or take a sip. What really happened was I lost a lot more time (likely twenty+ minutes) than I would have had I had some food and drink. As a newer racer I need to find that balance, where I take the technical challenge at a reasonable pace and rip the flowing stuff.
I had fun, finished mid-field and can’t wait for the Weeping Willow.