Sunday, July 12, 2009

Negative Nancy goes to New Hampshire

I had a bad attitude. It was the last day of my vacation and the last thing I wanted to do was spend 5+ hours in the truck.
There were so many things I would have liked to do with the family on such a beautiful day, but instead I was chasing points.

I woke to Tour De France coverage through the breath taking Pyrenees. I'd rather ride my bike than watch people ride their bikes, but the scenery was awesome.

Driving to the venue, New Hampshire reminded me of the TdF mountain passes. Makes you want to do a road ride through this pristine landscape. Oh that's right I pre-registered for a mountain bike race...No road for you!

Grumble, grumble, grumble, I get to Pats Peak (no, I don't believe there is an apostrophe, much like Tim Hortons).

Big effing grassy peak towering in front of me.

Pre-ride the first big climb, and at least my gear is a good choice. The course has some nice churned up mud bogs from the 24 hour race in the rain yesterday. Nice hike-a-bike singletrack turned to mud holes too. Awesome!

For the start they lined us up at the bottom of a grassy hill to make sure we get enough climbing in today.

The whistle blows, and there is a Corner Cycle pace line formed w/ Kevin Hines, Jonny Bold, and Mark Stoltz. The three of them fly off the front as I lead the rest of us for the first half a lap.

Gray Eldridge and Bike Barn rider Todd Bearse stay close to me on the climb and make short work of getting around me on the first descent. Todd pulls a sweet jump when he passes me. Very impressive.

Fortunately there's another climb soon enough. I get around Gray on the fireroad, and Todd in the ascending singletrack.

In the descending singletrack, they are right on me, and I'm descending like shit. This seems like it would be a lot of fun to ride, but I can't ride to save my life. Eventually I crash, loose my glasses, and they pass me. They turn on the turbos and are out of sight.

Depression sets in. I don't want to be here, this is hurting, I'm dropping through the ranks like a stone, and most importantly I'm just not having fun.

Lap two I'm trying to stay motivated, but secretly wishing my bike would break so I can just go home. I pick off a few back markers on the climbs, and they fight to get around me as I descend like a novice.

But then on the third lap, going around the snow making pond, I see a Corner Cycle jersey. Is that Gray? Yep.

As things start to go up, I begin to reel him in, on the big service road climb I catch him. He offers me some encouragement, and as I get to the ski lift, I see a Bike Barn jersey ahead. Am I coming back?

I catch Todd on the fireroads before the singletrack climb, hoping to stay in front of him on the way down.

Some of the 30-39 y/o's, and Todd are really pressing me on the descent, and get around me near the bottom. I pull him back when again climbing across the hill, only to take a wrong turn!

Maybe it was wishful thinking, because I turned right and down the hill instead of going left and up.

Todd has opened up a good gap again, and my only chance of beating him is to reverse the gap between us before the descent.

The first big climb I get him, and am lucky enough to catch back up to 50+ strongman Andrew Chambers. We ride side by side for the climb, and he takes the lead on the descent.

This is working to my advantage; instead of having riders breathing down my neck, I have a rider to try and keep up with.

Last time down and I'm finally riding the descent with some degree of competence and make it to the line secure in 4th.

I'll take it. I'm 4 minutes off the podium. If I had a better attitude could I have made up those 4 minutes? Maybe a suspension fork? Who knows? Usually I'm a little faster the Andy Chambers, and the last time I raced Mark Stoltz (Putney), I beat him by about a minute (I know these facts because I obsessively pour over the results calculating time differences and lap times). Guess it just wasn't my day.

We'll see if I do MT Snow or not; I don't know if they make a big enough cog for me to get up those climbs!

Congratulations to Corner Cycle for sweeping the podium. Sorry I couldn't stick around for the ceremony, I had to get back to pick up my daughter, and Pats Peak was a long way from home.


MMcG said...

I've got a 22T surly cog for you for Mt. Snow. ;)

CB2 said...

Ha! That's what I used in NH. I'll need a 24 for MT Snow.

James said...

It sounds like a pro/open race to me. Nice work Charlie! You'll get them next time!

Rigidnsingle said...

keep plugging away. sometimes after some of the worst times come some of the best times....