Got some posting to do here after a busy weekend so I'll start with Saturday's Leesburg Baker's Dozen. Got out to the farm Friday afternoon after an eventful morning helping out the lady friend. Got things set up, rode a lap, ate some food and went to bed early with the pup. Saturday morning was nice and relaxed before the 11am start.
I ended up starting for my open squad of Yo, Zach and myself and began probably somewhere around the front of the back third of riders. I was in no way interested in vying for the hole shot and didn't really want to be the guy holding folks up. Instead though I considered myself content for the "parade" through the fields before hitting the woods. Big mistake as the parade then continued for essentially the entire first lap. Any opportunities for speed were quickly dispelled. First lap came in in the upper 30's.
The next lap, our teams' 4th was much faster. This time I made a conscious effort to try and pull my best time for the day which I did. I managed around a 33 minute lap though the second lap I was hoping to pull off afterwards was not going to happen since I wasted way too much energy and my body took too much of a beating from that lap to continue. After the second set of laps Yo, our female teammate who wasn't feeling well had to leave so Zach and I ended up completing the remainder of the race ourselves. Not sure if 2 men riding as a 3 person open team is cheating or not, though as we didn't win I doubt it's a big deal...
My next lap I went out a bit easier which for my level of technical ability was a big help. I started managing between 34 and 35 minute laps doing 2 laps at once which I pretty much held for the remainder of the race. Around 10pm I came in from my final lap and packed up the truck to leave so I could get home at a reasonable hour. Zach finished off another 3 laps after that, nice work Zach! I think if instead of me leaving we had switched off lap for lap we probably could have managed to pull off four more laps and placed third (in the open 3 person category) but instead we managed a solid 7th, tied for laps up through the third place team. Ah well.
All in all the race was a blast; I love the Jamis despite the fully rigid frame and the major drops (comparatively) on the course. Towards the end of the race aside from basic fatigue I was feeling great. My technical skills and comfort on the bike continued to increase the entire race and up until it got dark I only had one spill. I actually caught a pedal on some unseen object and yardsaled along the course. Not really sure what I hit, even looked ofr it each following lap and never figured it out. I was going pretty quickly though so I managed to slide for a good 10 or 15 feet before coming to a stop with my left foot lodged firmly between the spokes of my front wheel. This of course led to my one and only mechanical for the day, a busted spoke.
I HUGE shout out and thank you goes out to Plum Grove Cyclery and specifically to Mike (the owner I believe) for the loaner wheel. They had no reason to hook me up like this yet they swapped out the rotors and set me back on my way with a loaner wheel and a warm and fuzzy feeling for such a great community of people. Sadly not all people felt the same way following the weekend as some ass-hat decided to run away with one of the promoters' personal bikes that was being loaned out as a demo bike. I can only imagine how bad Jim the bike's owner must feel. Rumor has it though MORE may be putting together a bike fund to help fund the purchase of a new bike for Jim; please contribute to his if it is true and you can. It would be so sad if one ass hole ruins a great event and opportunity for the local mountain bike community.
I'm thinking maybe next year I'll maybe try solo; though don't quote me on that. I do however believe I'll be gunning for a top finish in whatever it is I decide to go for. Another year of regular mt bike riding a bit of understanding of what it takes for these races has me itching for some more.