Rewind back to Friday early morning... About 4 a.m. when my brain was starting to spark to life my wife pointed out that she thought the power had just gone out. Once it registered, I looked at the clock and saw that it was on so I thought she was crazy or it was just a blip. About 30 minutes later I was more conscious and noticed when the power really did go out. Probably 5 minutes after that the overflow alarm on my sump pump started to go off and thus started the mad scramble to save anything we could. Despite being in line at Home Depot when they opened the doors at 6 to buy a generator (fortunately the next town didn't lose power until a couple hours later), we still ended up with about 4" of water in some parts of the basement. Saturday morning as I was tearing out more sections of the floor that was destroyed, I contemplated whether I should just bail and attend to that, but was then given the green light by my wife since it was the last race of the season and it would be a good stress relief (have I mentioned she rocks?)
Now just because I had the go-ahead, didn't mean I was prepared. I think I was half packed, it was already 11:15, the race was at 2, and I hadn't eaten lunch. I had to take the gamble and go with 2 junior bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy's while driving as pre-race food. Fortunately there was no second coming of the burgers so that part worked out ok I guess. Got to Wretham about 12:40 which left me barely enough time to get myself organized. With the small race and parking right there it was no problem to get to reg and see a couple of the noon racers going by at the end of their festivities. Just then Coley says "Ooh, they're done, I can get a lap in" so I'm thinking "Oh yah, I should probably check out the course, but I have about 10 minutes to do that". Run back to the car and throw on the bare essentials... shoes and helmet and even the shoes were debated. So my course preview was in jeans and a work jacket... oh well, I was warm. Someone had warned me the course "would make you learn how to turn your bike" and they were certainly right. Note to self, set your expectations low when the course is designed by 2 nearly pro mountain bikers and they have very little space to work with. All the twists and turns were pretty fun and I was actually more worried about the drop of death on the backside of the course. If it had been smooth it would have been a no-brakes thrill ride, but it was riddled with potholes so it was instead an attempt to not injure myself.
With the course checked out I got suited up quickly and then hit the oh-so-pro warmup area in the barn. Let me tell you, pro treatment when you're lining up for your first big kids race is... well... pro. The lineup was uneventful except that Colin was still standing casually in front of the field shooting the shit with the officials when Chris yelled "15 seconds"... dude puts on a race and he thinks he can do what he wants ;) Whistle blows and I am VERY quickly reminded that I need some big adjustments to my starting mentality when racing fast people. Everyone was off like a shot and by about 2 minutes into the race I realized that me, GD, and lil Stevie are bringing up the rear of the field convincingly. Well I'd like to tell you that I got my act together and went blazing through the field from there, but you'd know I was lying. Some high/lowlights from the rest of the race:
- Passing a guy going into the super narrow 180 and then crashing hard while doing a 3-point turn on my giant bike and making him and GD stand there while I insulted myself
- Thinking I was taking a Bud Light handup only to discover it was a malt liquor handup. I think it's good that I then hit a pothole and spilled half of it.
- Getting a free Colt 45 fueled Nega-Coach session in the middle of the race. After screaming a bunch of stuff about being fast and power and all kinds of other nonsense he eloquently summed it up by screaming "DON'T SUCK!" Amen brother.
- Realizing that I was gaining on Coley and CCC only to have them mock me to try and catch them and later find out that they had "shut it down" and realized they should pick it up when I started getting close
- Being mocked by a tri guy for my bike handling skills
- Not getting lapped despite deserving it with the way I rode
Overall it was a killer race and I was definitely sore and tired Saturday night. I didn't feel great during the race, but it's unclear if that's because I sucked or if the race was just that fast and the speed was killing me. All the twisties were definitely not made for me, but I held my own on the 2 long straights and barrier sections. There's definitely improvements to be made, but whether it's the 3-4 minutes worth of improvements I'd need to actually compete in that field remains to be seen. Sounds like a goal for another season...