Saturday, January 31, 2009
Or was it the ice-cylce? Maybe the skid-cicle?
The inaugural Snotcycle race today in Leesburg was, when all was said and done, a blast. I can't say I loved the riding conditions nearly as much as everyone else out there but really it made things interesting. Also the freeze thaw that was going on throughout the race made each lap a whole new experience. One lap one section was solid fast and sticky, the next it was slick wet ice.
Only one crash on my part to report though many, many near wipe outs and even more foot downs and side ways skids. I think I ran the tires at too high a pressure on the Scalpel but I had no idea what 26 inch wheels can take since I'd never messed around with tire pressure before getting the 29'er which I can ride down to the mid 20's and lower probably. 30 on the front seemed a bit risky setting up and the rear I left even higher. Probably could've at least taken both down to the high 20's.
I started off in the front 1/4 of riders probably and lined it out into the woods. I made a pass of two guys leading to the hole before hitting a straight out icey patch skidding out and then getting passed by a half a dozen guys. That, as usual was the story of the day. One small error and 5 or 6 guys passed. Down the same hill Ricky said he crashed on I slid right off the trail on the second lap past the tape and crashed fairly hard on the third.
One thing I noticed with the conditions was how much my confidence would swing. One little slip sideways of the rear wheel tended to drop the confidence much more then I would generally expect. On the other hand passing another rider gave a solid boost, while getting passed even by just one rider seemed to noticably slow me down with caution. I know a large part of that was my uneasiness on the ice andd unwillingness to trust my tires and technical skills but as the season progresses my ability to stay on an even keel would be a huge help. Especially in longer endurance races of course.
In the end I'd take a guess that I was somewhere around mid-pack, maybe a bit lower. Not great but not the worst thing ever. The guys running the event as expected put on a first class race with a great laid back atmosphere. Next year, I likely won't plan to race this one, but for this time, it was a good time. Adam had raving reviews along with a number of other guys over on the MORE site so I'd say my opinion is in the minority and the race has nothing to fear for future success.
Photos courtesy of Brian.