It was back again this week to the local bike race scene, with a short jaunt up to Pat's Peak MTB festival. In keeping with tradition I made sure to:
- Build and/or change my bike significantly the night before and not ride it
- Phone up the weather gods and make sure it rained significantly right before or during the race
- Fail to obtain adequate sleep the night before the start
One nice thing about perpetually racing in the rain is that you never overheat--admittedly a nice feature on a lot of courses--but you have to wonder if you've been stealing ice cream cones from toddlers in your sleep to build up bad karma when you show up to a course so muddy you have to run like a mid-october 'cross raceer while getting baked to a crisp in the 85 degree sun.
And don't get me started on ski resort courses...
So you might think that having a really intense 26 hour riding week (BCBR), then taking a week off would make a guy really fast, or at least that was my hope as I lined up in the first row of a 13 man cat1 start. I even joked at Colin, who has recently dabbling in the Pro/Open field, that if he took his reverse hole-shot particularly hard, I might be abel to get a wheel. (though really I'm just glad he's not in my field any more so I don't have to face getting beaten in every race he decides to finish--a great way to kep a guy from crossing the line ahead of you is to make him do an extra lap just in case!)
Having done this whole ski-resort thing before, I know the drill: Don't kill yourself so badly on the climbs that you can't stay upright in the woods on the way down, and keep the pot just below boiling because it always ends up being a long day and you'll need some steam for that third hour... Thus, despite my heckling, I took a page from the hecklee's book and rocked my own reverse hole-shot.
The nice thing about starting at the way-back is that even if you're having an awful day (we'll get to that...) you usually end up passing more people than pass you. I might have even passed all the way up to second place by the end of lap 1, you know because I'm just that good -- POP! pfffffttt.... [crumple]
The start of lap 2 was decidedly less enthusistic than lap 1. This was largely due to the realization is that I no longer race in a field where I can make time on descents, which was arrived upon empirically when my chase picked up ten seconds through the long twisty singletrack downhill. Has one too many faceplants made me cautious? Say it ain't so!
By the start of the second climb of lap 2 I had conceded third, and efforts much beyond fully aerobic were quickly starting to be out of the question.
As it turns out, my body post BCBR is a lot like an old laptop battery. It's taking forever to recharge, and even when fully juiced up I only get about 40 min before totally crapping the bed. Sara says it's going to be this way for another couple of weeks. She should have told this guy as much before he lapped me (on his 5th lap, I was only riding 4) after taking 10th in BCBR AND racing 6 hours solo the day before this event. Clearly his starbucks job is netting him a much better caffiene hookup than the rest of the field.
Anyway, round about lap 2 I started putting together a rather grandiose DNFantasy (TM) to distract me from how much suffering I was still in for. The secret to a good DNF--and by association a good DNFantasy--is the convolution of greatness and failure such that your pathetic inability to ride a lousy few extra miles without passing out on the side of the trail is overshadowed by the epicness of the ordeal from which you were unable to recover. At the same time you want to escape with no major damage to yourself or your bike, such that you can survive to race again without maxxing out your credit card on spare parts or spending hours in an emergency room. It also helps if you come off as the consummate straight shooter or good Samaritan. This can all be boiled down to a simple formula:
- You're in the middle of having the race of your life (Glory)
- In a desperate move to drop/pass/otherwise end you, some other guy pulls [bonehead stunt] (moral high-ground)
- The bonehead stunt backfires, causing [insert description of carnage] (karma)
- You, being the benevolent and forgiving guy that you are, pull [heroic move] to keep from steamrolling the other guy, despite his being a douche with no race etiquette. (honor)
- Though you just barely escape crashing yourself, you manage to [catch, bash, grind] your [inexpensive but essentail bike part] on a [rock, tree, ditch, stick], rendering it totally f--ked and ending your race. (pathos)
All in all, it's probably not a bad thing that my DNFantasy didn't come to fruition, as a lackluster 8th place actually bumped me UP to 5th in the overall Cat1 points. Yay persistence.
Maybe it's time to give up XC and ride the lift to the top. Of course then I'd need to learn to do this: