Monday, April 21, 2008

The Agony of Defeat


The first race of the season is over and I finished but it was a struggle. The old race bike, which is better suited for Yankee Springs, has had an issue with the brakes dragging for awhile. But it's been tolerable, at least it was until just recently. It's something I could fix, if I had the right tools and some brake fluid. Anyway, I decided to suffer through the brake drag on Sunday so I could have fun Saturday instead of prepping the new race bike to run it. It ended up being the least of my concerns when the hammer dropped.

After a screw-up with the starting order, I found out my start time wasn't what I was told. I had to do a little scrambling to find my spot in line but I was OK. I was settling in for a tough but enjoyable ride. When the starter told me to go, I went. About 10 feet out of the start I hit the first little bump and my saddle came loose. I figured I'd ride it a little way to see if it would bother me. It did. There were a lot of spectators along the route because we hadn't reached the woods. So I kept riding until I could duck into the woods and out of sight. Luckily a half-hour before, when I was at the car getting ready, I made a split decision to throw my tools into my Camelbak. I've never had any mechanical issues on the trail so I rarely carried them, I was glad I did. So, I ducked into the woods, through my pack off and grabbed the tool. I quickly cranked it down, I am racing. When I jumped back on the bike I discovered in my haste I tightened the saddle down with the nose pointing up. Not wanting to risk the possible damage to my baby makin' parts, I jumped off, through the pack down and grabbed the tool, again. I'm still racing, right, so I loosened the binder, beat the nose down and tightened it back up. By this time about 30 people had passed and I knew I was pretty far off my planned pace. When I jumped back on the bike, I couldn't sit on the seat, I had pounded the nose down too far. So, I repeated the earlier process, only this time I took the time (as riders kept whizzing by) and made sure I got it right. Now I'm ready to give up, it wasn't going to be my day. I got back on and the saddle was perfect and held the rest of the day. Unfortunately, at the last stop I must have hit a branch that unlocked the quick-release on my front wheel. While riding down a hill shortly after the repair my front wheel was wobbling all over the place. At least that was an easy fix, I made it and got on with the rest of the race.

At this point, over a half-hour into the race and only a mile into it I was physiologically out of it. I didn't have to make anymore repairs to the bike but I sure could have used a fix for my head. It took another 3 miles to get into a groove, but it was a nice groove. At that point I was pretty sure the only people I was going to beat are the ones that weren't going to finish so I relaxed and had a good time. The race course was run in the opposite direction of the way the trail is normally ridden which turned out to be a lot more fun. With the awesome weather we had, it turned out to be a good day. Andrea turned in a nice time, 5 minutes off of mine.


The Wings advanced to the second round, as I get ready for the second race.

Only two weeks and two days until Key West, I'm ready for that.