Cost of a race: $20
Cost of my spare bike: $300 (I got a great deal!)
Cost of being able to run to the pit for a bike change: I don’t know, but it sure isn’t worth $320!!!!!
Yesterday was the Crusade race out at Ranier HS. It was a great venue, and before the race everyone seemed really psyched for the race. The course had a long paved uphill start, with a turn on to a tacky muddy grass/treed section with a long gradual decent. Then on to the track, up a steep but rideable climb, down to a sloppy muddy section along the pits. From there it entered the woods, or as I like to call it, the back 40. A wooded off camper slick, slightly climbing section with two short climbs at the end. This lead to a quick run along a sidewalk then around to the crowd pleasing sandpit, back around and down to the pits, then the long painful climb back up to the start and into the start climb.
For the Master’s 35+ race, there was a crusade first; Call-ups! I am not sure how they figure out the call-ups but I got the second call-up, pretty cool, my first ever. I tried my best to live up to it, and got off the line first and lead it through the start line, but then I thought I rolled my tubular, glanced down and in that split second a half dozen or more guys slipped past. That’s how fast, and heartless these guys are! Unfortunately for me, my sucking was just beginning.
I started fighting back some spots and was somewhere in the top 10 or so, but I kept taking horrible lines, or I would be in the wrong gearing. Just ugly. Then coming out of the “back 40” I broke my chain! My first thought was that I could now drop out and save face from my sucking. But, having a second bike had me feeling like I had to run to the pit. I haven’t run that far in months. Not very fun. And when one guy passed me and joked with “if you need a chain there’s one back there a bit (meaning my broken one on the course)” I wanted to strangle him. Lucky for him, he was on a bike and I was running, and I was too winded to even shoot back a witty retort like "screw-you!" My only bit of luck was having Bro-man watching at the sandpit. He ran ahead and got my pit bike ready, and executed a great hand-off.
From that point on all I could do was just hammer it for the rest of the race. It just became a hard training ride for me, and I tried to take some more chances and push things a bit more since I had nothing to loose. After working my through the first clump of racers I came across David Davini, and I asked him what happened as I was surprised to see him back this far. His response “Nothing, I just suck”. I hope I didn’t offend him. He’s a good rider who kicks my butt in short track and a nice guy, but that response cracked me up!
Anyway, I finished the race feeling more exhausted than the previous few races. That one took it out of me. I must have done ok once I got going as I ended up in 14th. Not too bad all things considered.
My goal for the Crusade series has been to finish top 10 overall for the series. Right now that is going to be a tough one to accomplish. With the Alpenrose barrier issues and yesterday’s race result, I am left with just two races that I probably need to score top 5 or better, as I will miss two races; One of them a double pointer. It’s not impossible, just going to take some good riding and some luck. But no matter what, I am racing well this year, so I got that going for me……