Sunday, May 31, 2009


Ike finally relaxing in the car after a night of pacing because the bike stuff came out

The day started off smoothly. Too smoothly for Mike and I. There is always some issue or episode on race day. Forgotten sunglasses, gloves, shoes, pumps…you name it, we’ve forgotten it. There wasn’t even the usual race morning Mike and Jocelyn snippy banter. We both were in very good spirits. So good in fact, that when Ike jumped in the car and basically told us he was going to the race regardless of what we had planned, we laughed and obliged. Yes, he usually does always come with us, but Stewart isn't very Ike friendly. No water to soak in and it usually gets hot and buggy.

Me getting to the single-track first.

On Friday, I had been complaining about the Small Block Eight tires on the bike. They really aren’t great at Stewart. We made the decision to put a bootleg set-up of tires on the bike. I had a decent Bontrager XDX in the front and a pretty ratty, worn out one on the rear. Mike had just raced it two weeks prior. I was hoping it had a few more hours of life left in it….

I had a good warm-up and I actually felt pretty good. An unusual feeling for me as of late. I did exactly what I said I was going to do in the race. I went out to the front right away and was the first one into the single-track (“Major Mike”). Because I had a much bigger gear than anyone else the strategy was to get on the climb first and they’d have to work to catch up and get around me. It worked well. I was cruising for a while and I knew I couldn’t blow myself up, especially on a SS. If you blow-up there is no "takesies backsies" on a SS. You’re pretty much walking home. I was starting to get back the riders who had passed me on those hills that were NOT conducive to my 34/18 29er gearing. I was really relaxed and I finally found the flow where I didn’t really feel like I was working. It’s that SSer zen like state. If you’ve experienced it you know what I’m talking about. I was about two-thirds into my first lap and I was planning on picking it up. I got in with about 5 guys and we were cruising wheel to wheel. We were moving at a pretty god clip down a slight incline and the guy in front of me went through a corner and a rock took him down. I was so close to him I went down as well. The guy behind me didn’t have time to react he tried to brake and I yelled “riders down" because it was a blind corner. The guy behind me ran into and over my wheel. I heard the “POOFFFFFFFFFFFFfffffffff.” My tire was now flat and Stan’s hemorrhaging over the trail. I pulled myself off the trail, muttered a few obscenities, and used two shooters to try and get some are in it. It seemed to take air but was still a little soft. I got back on and rode about 30 seconds. Now lets repeat this process 4 more times with various CO2 shooters that other racers were throwing at me. Nope. The bead wouldn’t seat. I was screwed. I was having an episode on the trail I kicked a tree stump. I kicked it at just the right angle that my freakin calf started to cramp. WTF!! I knew it was over.

Wendi came up on me on one of my futile attempts to fix my tire and told me her pedal fell off! She told me she put it on by hand...Oh, shit, I hope it wasn't the pedal I put on! I looked back at the sad tire which had spewed Stan's all over the trail. It looked like a vanilla milkshake had been spattered on the singletrack. That's it. I told myself it was over.

I had to bushwack out of the course and go back to civilization. I was cursing and talking to myself like the crazy person I am. I came out on one of the access roads and Mike flew by me. I knew he was at the end of the race. I attempted to trot to the top of the gravel hill so I could see him finish. I was so pissy and my calf was killing me from the fight the tree stump won. I could hear Hawaiian Mike yell and I knew Mike had finished. Mike had a big win.

I'm upset it didn't go as planned. I do have to look on the bright side, though. My body felt pretty good and I didn't have a "bio-mechanical". Right now I have to look on the bright side because it was only three weeks ago when I didn't think I would ever be back on the bike. Yes, I'm upset I had a mechanical. No, there's nothing I could have done. This sport is humbling. Yes, it was a small victory for me. I'll take it. Right now I'll take what I can get...
Thanks to Darkhorse for a great race and course. Oh yah...and thanks for the new tires!! As always, the guys of Darkhorse are way too good to Mike and me!!

Mike with his schwag

Mike (in his SWEET skinsuit) and Jesse (sporting the new Cannondale Team kit)

A couple of idiots

Rob, Mike, Sean, and Thom

No comments:

Post a Comment