Sunday, August 8, 2010

Norcross Scurry

Second place in the CAt1 Singlespeed class...yet I some how feel unfulfilled.
All week long I felt worn out, maybe from the heat, maybe from the beat down Steve Witkus served up on Sunday.
But Saturday I woke feeling renewed. Fresh.
In the words of Italian dopers I felt tranquillo.
The busted water bottle cage I had to change right before I left didn't even rattle me (there's a pun in there).
Weather was perfect.
Unlike last year, the course conditions were ideal. Dry hardpacked singletrack. If we ever resurrect a State Championship, Norcross would be a great venue for it (although Winsted would favor me).
Unfortunately, turnout was a little light, maybe due to being on a Saturday, maybe due to bad memories from last year.
Due to the lower numbers, they started the Singlespeeds with the 19-29 year olds. Right before the whistle I realized I didn't have any C02 with me, so I made a mad dash for my truck, and lost my starting spot.
Whistle blows, and I'm the second singlespeeder behind Steve. First corner, I have a yard sale (that means I crashed), fortunately not taking anyone else out. Gerry later told me I was lucky he was riding his Stumpjumper SS, as he'd have to run me over if he was riding his old Fisher.
I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Actually I just got back on my bike and started chasing.
Get back on and we're climbing. Carl Kresser is a couple of wheels in front of me. The trail turns down, I pull my front brake lever, and nothing happens?
I figure I must have knocked the cable loose, and it just needed a quick adjustment, so when I find a clearing, I pull over to investigate.
Cable is fine, but I'm missing a brake pad!
Second race this year I have to ride with only a rear brake, but unlike Singlespeed-a-palooza, if ever there was a course, and conditions that you could get by riding a skidder, it was Norcross today.
I start the chase again, and begin reeling guys back in. Frank, then Reinout, then Gerry.
Now I'm in no-man's land.
No man's land sucks.
It's very hard to stay motivated, when you're racing alone in the woods.
Whenever one of the leaders from one of the subsequent groups catches me I latch on and race with them for as long as I can.
On the second lap I catch one of the 19-29 y/o from Biker's Edge on one of the climbing sections. Soon after I crash on the one slightly greasy (very slightly) off-camber descent and Mike Rowell comes blasting past on his way to winning the 40-49 class (on a singlespeed). Later in the lap the Biker's Edge rider and one of his teammates from the 30-39 class catch me.
Soon after, I see Steve with his bike upside down fixing a flat.
This is a bummer, as Steve again was real strong today, but it also is motivating; if I caught Steve mid flat repair, maybe I wasn't too far behind Carl?
I bump up the pace a bit and the 30-39 y/o and I leave his younger teammate. We do the usual swapping through out the lap. I lead on the climbs and he reels me back in on the descents and in the rough stuff. we continue this for the third lap. Going into the forth he passes me on the Boy Scout "Trail of Laws".

Here is were I'm going to whine about my thumb:
Only having a rear brake meant I had to rely on my right hand more, as all my braking was done on the right. Usually you do the majority of you braking with your front brake / left hand. Today my left was getting a free ride, as my right was getting pummeled. By the forth lap I was in agony, bracing for the jarring and trying to pick my way through the rocks. Probably would have been less jarring if I blasted through full steam ahead, but the fatigue was taking it's toll and I was just hanging on praying for it to be over.

On the last lap he began to pull away. Another rider who had popped up a few times over the past couple of laps caught me and I did what I could to hold him in sight.
Soon Andy Chambers catches me and by the end of the lap Craig Kennedy does as well(great job Craig!).
My laps took a steady dive over the course of the race. My moving time on the first lap was about 33 minutes (actual time with crashing and stopping was more like 35), second 34, third 36, and forth 37. That kind of decline is a little disappointing.

But in the end it was good enough for 2nd.
Carl put in a impressive performance for the win.
Being at a Boy Scout camp the prizes were of a decidedly homespun nature. You could choose a bird or bat house crafted by the scouts, of a small cash prize. As I have Quinn to manufacture woodsy crafts for me I chose the cash which I quickly converted to calories in the form of a burrito at Moe's...and by the way, Moe's rules.

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