Monday, April 14, 2008

Race to The River 2008

Saturday started out with an early trip to Harrell’s Bicycle World. I busted up the rear wheel on the UDM this past Wednesday and was looking for some solution to the creaking bottom bracket I was experiencing.

Luckily I had brought a spare rear wheel as my tubeless rim was shot. Hopefully it will be re-built in time for the Cohutta as I was planning on rolling tubeless.

After that, we took a trip over to Green’s for some liquid anti-inflammatory in the form of Foothill’s Seeing Double IPA.

Off to the races, I was told there was no expert class until I explained that Harrell’s would be bringing a load of experts. What no experts from Cycle Center? Hmmmmm. . .

Joe and I rolled around for a quick warm-up and then headed to the line to see if we could kick this thing off a little early as the weather was quickly rearing its ugly head in the form of wind and small drops of water. This worried Joe as the tire he had on the back wheel looked like a 26” inner tube wrapped with a “for her pleasure” Trojan. Just as Rebecca was going to get us started Joe said “I’ll be right back.”

After a minute, I went down to check on his status and rile him up a little. It looked like he had his NASCAR pit crew out there as he swapped both his wheels so he had a little more “conforming” tire. I just had to laugh when we lined up as one fellow Steven had brought his Independent Fab Cross bike with him. It made me cringe thinking about rocking that bike out at Harbison.

Finally we were off in a semi-organized fashion with an “ok. . . go” as the start. I jumped in fifth position and already knew I was in over my head but just ran with it. After the first five turns, I had let a small gap bridge between me and the rider up ahead. I heard Damon call out that I needed to hustle up and close the gap. I turned the cranks over a little harder but when I came up to a swampy section there was a short cut I didn’t see and most of the crew including Damon, Toby and Joe went around me. It was better off as I was putting out too much effort at that point.

The only person left behind me was Steven on his cross bike. Through the harder section on Stewardship I could see him looming behind me and I knew I would be caught on the 3 mile flat section. Sure enough after a mile he was around me and I was hoping to catch back up on Spider Woman.

My legs felt good but not fresh as I still had a ton of off-road miles looming in them since the past Sunday. I knew that would ultimately benefit me for next weekend and I didn’t worry as I hoped my legs would feel better the warmer they got.

Into Spiderwoman, I saw the boys along with IF Steven as I was headed up the creek and they were headed down. I was still in range with 16 or so miles left in the race so I had some hope.

Once I made it to the rock garden, I tried my best to bang my way over the rocks but after the first two turns I plowed into a rock that almost caused me to meet the ground so I just got off and mall walked as fast as my heart would let me. I once again saw Steve up ahead of me. This would be the last time I would see anyone.

Out of Spiderwoman and onto Midlands Mountain trail; I always forget how rooty the downhill is in this direction as the 18 mph descent shook me too the core and I prayed that I didn’t pinch flat as I had tubes in.

Up the steep climb on Midlands and I realized the map that was put online was wrong. We were bypassing the Bluffs, one of my favorite short sections at Harbison. It was all good though as riding that section in the direction we were headed would have been a hike a bike for me.

Onto Firebreak and Crooked Pine I noticed how green everything was. Springtime had already fallen on Columbia and it made me smile knowing everything in the mountains will be green soon. I love springtime green’s as they are so vibrant.

Through one of the fast sections I went to spin as fast as I could and dropped the chain, SHIT, I had forgotten to double check the tension after leaving the shop. The chain formed two little loops as I told myself to breath and not get frustrated while I fondled the chain like two teenagers in the back of a car. I lost about 45 – 60 seconds in the ordeal but made sure to put it back on right as to avoid another petting session.

As I rounded by the start/finish, done with my first lap, I chucked my camel bak as my back was hurting and I didn’t care if I had to hike out with a flat. I still had my gel flask in my pocket and that was all I needed along with the bottles in my cages.

Coming into the spider woman the second time I really started to feel good. I was powering up the climbs instead of struggling to the top. The 34X19 that I had on was the hardest gear ratio I had ever ran at Harbison but it felt good.

When I hit the climb up Midlands the rain came down and it felt good. It motivated me to keep on the cranks until the finish. I never saw Steven or anyone else for that matter but that was ok. I finished last but not too far behind and I felt great. The second lap was awesome and oh how I miss the twisty turns and quick ups and downs out at Harbison. It is a great place to train and ride.

On another note, Spiderwoman is still awesome but sad at the same time. I imagine that at least 70 percent of the trail needs to be re-routed as most of the downs have awful stutter bumps and the erosion on the climbs is rampant.

I had a great time racing behind my boys. Thanks to everyone who volunteered and all the Harrell’s riders for actually making a class.

Time to rest.

1 comment:

My name is Stephen said...

Great job finishing, 5 more days to the big C!!!