I had a bunch of woulda coulda shouldas that I just deleted; no one wants to hear that.
So let's just get right to it shall we?
I was talking with James and Josh from 503 Cycleworx after they finished the Elite 123 race (4th and 7th respectively, great job guys!) when all of a sudden guys are lining up. I run back to my truck, loose my bottle and arm warmers and stage behind Kerry and his Biker's Edge posse.
Whistle blows and I'm off well, in the top 10, as we go over the first set of barriers, and into the weird tape curly Q they set up.
I'm feeling pretty good on the descent to the bike path, and pleased to be holding position on the flat, stone dust path.
But then as we start climbing the almost mountain bikie trail people start passing me.
Did they not get the memo? I'm supposed to be something of a climber!
We get around to the bitch, I mean the beach, and it just sucks. I make it half way around and have to run the second half. Right after the beach is the third set of barriers followed by one last power sapping little climb to the start finish. The barriers are wicked tall (unlike me), and all 3 sets are set up in triples.
Second lap I think I have a gap on Kerry but all of a sudden after the curly Q, he's on me like white on rice...and then he's around me.
He's riding strong and getting a gap.
Then he makes a wrong turn at the beach and I get around him and ride the sand.
The beach / barrier / hill combo is an ass kicker!
Third lap I'm holding my position, but Kerry is methodically reeling me in. Again I ride the beach.
Coming into the start / finish, I'm praying for the sweet relief of the bell lap.
Shoot, two more!
Forth lap Kerry passes me before the sand, I tell him to stay to the right and stay on his wheel to the start / finish.
I begin to plot my last lap strategy.
Over the last 3 laps I've gotten pretty good at riding the sand. The plan is to keep Kerry close, and try and get around him before the beach; who ever gets through the sand first, will win our little battle.
But then in the singletrack, at the worst possible spot, Kerry drops his chain!
I get around him and begin to close in on a Paradise Racing rider.
On the bike path to the beach we pass a Colavita / Sutter Home rider, but the Paradise rider gets to the sand first.
I close the gap, and am right on his wheel having to soft pedal my gear staying on the one rideable line behind him.
James is there cheering me on like crazy, telling me to keep pushing and get around him.
I pass him in the barriers, and head for the last climb.
But he easily spins past me as I'm grinding my 36x16 out to the end.
14th out of 30something.
- I felt good, but thinking maybe I should have used a 17. Would a 3" smaller gear make a difference? Maybe, maybe not.
- I was a little disappointed with my result. After finishing 7th out of 33 in my debut I was expecting more out of myself. But different course, different conditions (it wasn't freakishly warm), different racers. Gives me something to shoot for.
- On the other hand, my time would have put me into 5th place if I raced the 45+. Is it sandbaggy to race my age group?
- About those barriers: They were like 15" tall; is that normal? Must have been comical watching me get over them. I know it was a hoot watching the kids in the kid's race lifting their bikes up, throwing them over the barrier, and then scaling the "walls".
- Kerry was definitely stronger than me today; without the wrong turn, or dropped chain he probably would have placed a couple places ahead of me.
- My Mom and Dad came out and the curse has been broken; no mechanicals (I haven't had good luck when they've come to watch me race)!
- The Singular Kite performed admirably. Balanced, neutral handling on a course that would favor a mountain bike. Being 2 pounds lighter than my Swift in race trim was definitely a plus every time I had to summit a set of walls.