Finally getting a chance to give my recap of this past weekend. A lot of the details have been or will be covered here,
here, here, and of course here so I won't rehash all that. I will say that I'm pleased that my reverse psychology trick on mother nature worked and she pulled a "I'll show you" by providing picture perfect weather for the duration of the race. Everything leading up to the race however was what made the event most interesting.
Sort of going with the punch-line first approach, I'm really damn pleased with how I rode. I got in 7 laps. I rode nearly all of the deep mud sections on 6 of the 7 laps. My 4 laps in the light were I think all sub 50 or right at it and my 3 at night were all in the 54-55 range. 5 minutes seems like a predictable level of slow down when you can't see a whole lot, you're tired, and they gave you a warning about black bears during the rider meeting. Speaking of tired, I am almost certain I did not sleep at all from about 6 a.m. Saturday when the sun came up until 8 p.m. Sunday when I packed it in. I had a longish break Saturday from about 10ish to 2ish, but that was largely taken up with eating, cleaning, lubing, and trying to figure out what Art was going to do after breaking both of his bikes. That was a funny exchange at about 1 in the morning:
Art (outside my tent): Rich, we have a problem. I broke my other bike.
Me (trying to sleep and failing): What?! What happened?
Art: I snapped the seat post collar (he may have said seatpost bolt).
Me: Go get one from the Red Jersey tent
Art: Tried, they don't have one.
Me: Well you've only done 3 laps and we need to get your ass around the course somehow. Go get Brad's backup bike off the car.
(It must be noted here that Brad's backup bike is a 10-12 year old Kona that was too small for Brad and Brad is smaller than Art. It was also brought only with the intention of stealing parts off it if needed.)
Art: What? What kind of pedals does he have on it.
Me: It doesn't matter, I have a pedal wrench out there.
So to sum up, Art came back in a pinch looking for someone to ride for him and I basically told him to get his ass on the crappy bike and like it. Fortunately he only had to do one lap on it and later used Scott's bike and all was well.
Other incidents/observations/moments worth mentioning:
- My bike kicked ass. Hardtail 29er was perfect for that course and the thing was solid. Every time I was churning through the foot of peanut buttery mud I was praying that nothing snapped, but she held up. A nice coat of Pedro's Syn-Lube before each lap and I was rocking. 1 dropped chain and zero mechanicals for me... I'll take it.
- G's Dad was a cool guy. Seemed to be a man of few words. Apparently he and G balance each other out :)
- I'm running on leg one and I come up next to Colin. He first asks me why I'm behind him if I'm the runner. He then informs me that he thinks he's bonking already.
- Mechanical failure of the race goes to the guy who's front wheel completely failed on the steep part of the plunge at 3 a.m. I had moved aside to let him fly through and the thing just went with a huge bang. I look over to see his wheel folded in half with him supermaning into the woods. I checked if he was ok and then headed down the rest of the hill. At the bottom some guy who had walked down says to me "Man, you just had to pass him, you didn't have to shoot him". I almost wet myself laughing.
- The bag-piper at sunrise was cool shit. I was getting onto the last section of single-track when I first heard it. I was already in a better mood because I could see the trail again mostly and then I got to listen to him the rest of the way down.
- The team was awesome. We were in a tight race for the 6-9 spots in 4-man sport for the whole event. We finally settled in 8th with 26 laps of not the fastest course in the world. Can't complain.
Ok, so I could go on forever with tidbits from the weekend, but let's just say it again that it was crazy damn fun. Now on to cross season...