We’ve got family in town for a few weeks and the old ladies (wife’s mom and grandmom) wanted to get out of the house — even though we’d been to Mt. St. Helens and the beach over the previous two days. So I brought them to the races! Got to Horning’s, set them up in some chairs, and then tried to get on the course. It turns out that a B or SS rider had crashed bad and the course was closed. I think they shut down the B/SS race a lap early because of the crash.
I spent some time riding open parts of the course (the crash section was closed) and worked out a tricky right hander through a greasy drop. I practiced it probably 15 times. They injured rider was airlifted out and they decided to reroute the course to cut out the descent where he crashed. The reroute cut out the long run-up and the corner I had spent so much time practicing. Since the emergency had taken a long time to sort out, they cut the women’s race from 45 to 40 minutes and the A/Master A race to 50 minutes.
After the women finished their race, the men lined up in a mob cluster fark which took some time to sort out between the two fields. Then a bit over an hour late, we took off. So, the course … Some might call it a mountain bike course except that it was wide enough to pass just about whenever you wanted to. But the hills, the hills, those terrible hills. It was all up and down with nary a flat spot around. And let’s just say that I’m a tad gravitationally challenged.
I started near the back of the field and got passed by what seemed to be a bunch of guys. Going around the first corner, I looked back to see if I was DFL already. I wasn’t — quite. I spent a couple laps passing some folks then fell in with a loose bunch for the middle laps. I dropped most of them and spent the last couple laps trying without success to pull in two guys a bit in front of me (Joe Fricke and my teammate Bill). The hills just killed me. We’d go up one, then bomb down and scrub a bunch of speed for a corner at the bottom and then head back up another hill. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and throw in some gravel here and there for good measure.
Even though the course didn’t play to my strengths, it’s fun to get out and race something different. The woods were cool and the trails were wide and fast (rain earlier in the week made them perfect). There were plenty of turns to hold your attention. I finished up 23 out of 37 which was about what I expected given the nature of the course.
And the old ladies? They were parked on the loooong hill leading to the drop in near the finish line. They cheered me on each time through so I had to step it up and look good every lap when I passed them. One of the women racers told them that she wished her mom would come out to the races.