Well, it's about time for a race report since I'm halfway through the season. I'm writing this from the backseat of the Motown Velo-mobile. Those guys were nice enough to offer a ride to me when the rest of the Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team decided to race elsewhere. Thanks guys!
We're on our way back from the little beaver chainring challenge wvmba race held at little beaver state park just east of Beckley WV. Those of you who pay attention will know that Beckley is about as far from Morgantown as you can be and still be in the same state.
That's why we started our drive at 6:30 a.m. That's right. Those velo boys like to show up early.
It seemed extra early since I hadn't gotten to sleep until after 1 a.m. and managed to wake up every hour on the hour for no good reason. This was all after a great night celebrating my girlfriend finishing up her Ph.D. dissertation and scheduling her defense. Go Laura!
Not to mention swapping tires, replacing a chain, a pedal bearing, and swapping cleats before going to bed. Should have done that days ago, but you work with what you have, no? I swapped from Kenda small block 8s to Nevegals. This race course is relatively flat but ridiculously tight twisty and rocky. The nevegals don't roll as fast and are a bit heavier, but are sticky like glue and have enough volume to tackle the rock gardens at speed. I'd also like to point out how easy it is to work on crankbrothers pedals. It felt like my pedal bearing had a little play in it and it took less than 3 minutes to replace it and clean and lube the rest of the pedal. Plus a rebuild kit is less than $20 bones. Plus they have a new generation of pedals just hitting the market that look really impressive. Look for a review as soon as I get my hands on some.
After 3 hours on the road, an hour sitting around, and an hour getting ready and getting warmed up it was time to race.
It started up a quarter mile dirt road and then dumped the field into 7 miles of sweet singletrack.
Steve R. punched it from the gun and pulled his brother and newly crowned state champ, Jeremy, and Rob from North Carolina into the singletrack first. I jumped into the woods around 7th position. After a couple miles of following I saw some open space and made my move and managed to bridge up to and pass steve on a long flat rooty/rocky section. This brought me to the only real climb on the course, a 300 meter long wall covered with cross roots and loose rocks. I've won this race overall the past two years on my trusty Cannondale singlespeed, but I've never cleaned the wall. Until today! Which was really awesome because I caught Jeremy at the top and could see Rob just up the trail.
What wasn't awesome was my heartrate which was hovering somewhere near 5000 beats per minute. So my small victory over the wall meant I was spent the rest of the first lap trying to recover. With the heat and humidity it was no small task and I resigned myself to chasing the leaders down later.
Coming through the start/finish I was about 30 seconds down. My heart wasn't quite in it as I started that second lap though, more in ride fast mode rather than race mode and I wasn't making up time where I should have been.
By the third lap I was over a minute down but starting to feel better. That all fell apart the third time up the wall. I remounted at the top and promptly crashed into a tree while taking a drink. I slowly gathered myself and then slowly rode through the many many rock gardens over the next couple miles.
... Ah the quiet trails baked in beautiful afternoon sunlight. Moss covered rocks, deer roaming around...*clunk clunk clunk* huh?
Rider back. Time to go! That's what I get for getting complacent.
I punched for the last half lap and managed to hold off Joey Riddle who had snuck up on me while I was lost in revelry. Felt good to race real hard for a bit.
So 3rd overall, first singlespeed. A nice confidence booster after the last few weeks. Plus my time was close to the (unofficial) course record that I set two years ago which was good given that I didn't feel that great and it was omg so hot.
We stayed for lots of food and friendly banter leading up to the awards. Another solid day of racing in the books.
Almost. We still had to get home! We packed the convoy and headed out into increasingly gloomy skies. They opened up with a torrent of rain just as we drove past our exit. 15 miles later when we got to a strange toll booth we figured out we were off course. So we got a bonus scenic detour through our states capital city. Only 45+ minutes out of the way. On top of a 3+ hour drive. Got home around 9. 15 hour day.