- Broke a spoke on a "race wheel"
- The "creaking"
- Not happy with my shock
- Although I was feeling great all week, Friday and Saturday on the bike I was lacking
- While I contemplated "the creaks" I crashed on Friday and hurt my foot.
- Had to make an unexpected trip to work to change tires
- Left shock pump and CO2 inflator at work (I'd be racing with a pump)
On Friday I decided, right before I crashed, I would race the Soma, because I couldn't deal with "the creaks". First thing Saturday, I decided to swap all my favorite parts from the Karate Monkey to the Soma so I'd have the best of both worlds; all the good stuff without so much noise. This all went fine, but after I broke the spoke on my race wheel, and rode my back-up, I realized the Nevegal was more tire than I wanted on a hardtail. Hence the trip to the shop before I met James for a pre-ride.
Pre-ride was going well. I was questioning my choice of gear, but after James and I discussed it, much contemplation and number crunching, I concluded it was what it was and that's what it was.
Now the real challenge of getting out of Winsted when there is some sort of parade going on was at hand.
All my last minute swapping turned out to be for naught as the creaks came back! Sorry for the redundancy of this post (to the three of you who might be reading).
A little more last minute wrenching, and finger crossing, and I'm as ready as I'm going to be.
It just wouldn't be Sunday in Connecticut if I didn't get caught behind every geezer doing 10 mph below the speed limit and stoped at every red light now would it?
When I finally get to the race venue, James and I hook up for a couple of mini laps to warm up; I don't know how the kid can go so fast down rocky descents on a rigid!
Call up comes quickly, and we have a decent turn out for Winsted; at the awards Chris says 12, but I think there were a few more than that.
Dick blows his whistle, and we are off!
Through the grassy field I'm holding my position pretty well, I'm in 5th or 6th spot.
Fortunately the climbing starts early and I'm up front dicing for third. The four of us are pretty tight in the single track as I take third wheel, until I bobble and drop to forth. This give 1st and 2nd a chance to build a little gap as I have to start dueling it out for third again.
We go back and forth through the singletrack and descent, but when we get to the rocky climb up the back I take control. At this point 1st and 2nd are still in sight, but a good 30 seconds up the trail.
By the top of the climb, I'm passing the stragglers from the 30-39 class, trying to stay on the gas while keeping in mind I've got 3 more laps ahead.
Second lap I feel fantastic. Reel in more back markers, using them as carrots to keep me motivated.
As I round the turn at the end of the rocky descent that leads to the tough rock climb, on the side of the trail is the guy who was leading our class fixing a flat. Bummer for him, but now I'm in second! On the climb I pass the leader of the singlespeed class, who started I think 4 minutes before me.
The third lap, I'm still feeling pretty good, but starting to feel the climbs. I keep reeling in the back markers, and looking over my shoulder.
Final lap. I'm feeling it, fatigue that is. I'm most worried about the guy who was leading. In my mind, if he has a quick tire change, he might catch me on the next descent. Every climb I feel I can barely turn the cranks over, but I do; I clean all the climbs (which I also did on the second lap; 1st and 3rd, I had to run parts of the big rock up the back), but I'm bobbling in the singletrack. I keep on myself to keep pushing, it's not over until it over, but I'm running out of steam. Any minute I fear I'll be caught.
But it never comes. I make it to the final descent alone and cruise comfortably to second. I was beat by 59 seconds. Less than 15 seconds a lap. Is there anyway I could have pulled that time back? Probably not. But the gap is reassuring that I'm progressing. Third was over 3 minute behind me.
So I had packed my "Podium Shirt"; a clean Marble Design cycling jersey. But in the end, I excepted my medal and prize money wearing a thermal jersey because its cold in them there hills (and there was no paparazzi!).