What a wild a tiring weekend this was (like most are). I came close to overdoing it this time, but we made it through. Saturday morning I met one of the guys at 7 for an hour of pre-race cross practice, then it was home for a quick shower and off to soccer, then it was off to pick up one of my golf partners for the day, then it was 5 hours worth of mediocre golf, then dinner, then drop the guy off, then a dinner party, then finally bed at 11:30. Sunday it was off to Amesbury at about 6:30, beginners race at 9, hang out till 11:30, get my son ready for the kids race at 12:30, get myself ready for the 3/4 race at 1, finish the race, pack up the kids, lunch for the kids, home to unpack the car, dinner and typical house stuff, finally crashed at 10. Phew...
So the race(s) can probably be categorized as acceptable. After last week's debacle, anything would have been better and I felt great Saturday putting in some intervals and doing some cross skills. Beginner race lined up with about 6 of us from the club in there. We got started almost 15 minutes late because they had this really hairy sort of off-camber downhill into a stair run up that the officials made them take out at the last second. Finally the whistle blows and we're off, but the charge is interrupted quickly. There was basically a funnel maybe 100 yards into the course where you had to squeeze between 2 trees adorned with hay bails. Well someone clipped or rode into the right hand one and it fell over right into the course and right in front of yours truly. OK, nice... another shitty start position. Got around that nonsense and it was the usual mayhem of weaving through crowds and guys trying to establish a position. The course was ok, but to be honest the half (or more) that was wooded could have easily been a mountain bike course. The roots were just ridiculous and I don't know how I survived the whole day without a flat. I was handling the bike well and I felt 100 times better than last week so that was all positive. With 2 to go, I was reeling in the group that was the back end of the top 20 and had 2 of my teammates in it and I know I would have closed it until... On the right hand hairpin before the barriers I leaned over too far and caught a root and out went the rear wheel. Hopped up and got on the bike to find the chain was off (always check first kids). It took what felt like forever to get it back on and the whole time guys were going by me. Finally I got motoring again, but mentally, I just went into the mode of knowing I had another race to do. I got several guys back and ended up I think 26th, but I should have been well within the top 20 so that was a disappointment.
I had zero expectations for the 3/4 race. I'm at the line chatting with one guy and I noticed G had decided to make the drive worthwhile and line up for the second race too. He tells me to come over next to him because it's a better line through the 2 trees and that way he can also just suck my wheel the whole race. Oh, and Lynn B was there again to give all the boys a whooping. So we head off and into the funnel it stacks up again. This time I ride right up G's ass, thought I could stand on it long enough to keep going, but I had to put a foot down and that was all she wrote. I was DFL going into the barriers so I instantly went into the mode of "this will be a nice practice session". That said, I kept "racing" the whole time and continued to pick off guys who were also not having races you want to brag about. My "victory" of the race came when I actually got to hear the bell for one to go and I hadn't seen the leaders yet... Aw yah... no lappage this week.
Overall, a very fun day of racing. Course wasn't anything great, but most of blog-land was out so I got to see G and CTodd and talked to lots of people who had seen the bike here. There was some good mojo from the crowds too and even when you're DFL you like to look good for the cowbell ringers so it keeps you going. My son did great in the kids race, especially with it being his first one. He was disappointed because he went down in the turny section and fell behind a little. I tried to point out all the positives of his first race, but he's so hyper-competitive that I don't think he was buying it. He did say he wants to know when the next one is so at least he's not giving up.