Yesterday things didn't get much better... but I did only work a half day - 12 hours. I got home and was giving strong consideration to skipping today's race altogether. But the wife encouraged me to go, recognizing that I needed an outlet after the strain of the workweek.
In the frenzy that was this week I forgot to renew my license which I wanted to do at work because I don't have a printer at home to print the permission to ride. Last night I drove to my folks to pick up the kids (they went with Gramma to the Pequot Indiam Museum) and asked to borrow her computer. No luck - they forgot to pay their bill and cable is out. They offered to loan the printer to me and I took it even though they couldn't find the "CD." For what? I asked "to install it" was the answer. Ha! Silly parents... you forget that we've got a Mac.. so it'll work.
After somehow failing to convince my father once again that the Apple product is superior we left and I decided to print the permission in the morning. Yeah - no power. I'm screwed! Just as my car pool buddy shows up the power is restored, I'm fully licensed and I've got the permission to race in hand. It'll be nice not having to scramble like this come cross season for a change.
So we get to the venue and reports roll in as follows:
"the course is fast."
"lots of roadies come here because it is so smooth."
"So-and-so just finished and averaged 10mpg... and he/she's not fast."
This was music to my ears. After a pathetic warm up I somehow missed the call ups and had to line up at the back of the sport 30-39 class... maybe 25 riders. My newly minted permission to race slip lists me as a Cat 3 on the mtn bike but this was a Cat 2 race. It was only my second mtn bike race ever so I figured I was in the right field and hoped that they didn't put me with the beginners. The 20-29s go off and two minutes later my field gets the whistle and we were racing. Leveraging (b-school talk) my cyclocross starting skills I moved up on the pavement starting straight and was 6th wheel into the woods. I was behind that tall MRC dude who rides that giant ANT cross bike. He's got a Seven mtn bike that is just as freakishly huge as the ANT.
Within 5 minutes I was in a group of 3 working on bringing back the leader that was 50 yards ahead, but one guy in our group kept screwing up... there wasn't a rock or root he didn't hit head on. We got to the first "climb" and the other 3 guys shift into the itty-bitty chain ring and spin up this hill at slower-than-walking pace. More like slower-than-walking-through-a-crowded-airplane-aise-during-food-service-pace. This is a race my friends! Come join me in the pain cave you silly spinners! Not sensing the desire to suffer in my fellow combatants, I found a line, attacked, put 10 seconds on them by the top of the hill and rode away.
That hill was 2 miles in and it was the last I saw of the 30-39 guys. Almost immediately I came up to the first of the 20-29 racers and worked through them gradually for the entire race. I put in a 36:14 second first lap (approx 7.5 miles) and continued to work through some of the 20-29 back markers into lap #2, though each one was a bit harder to pass as they were getting faster and faster as I got closer to the front of the field. I got past this strong bikebarn rider with 1/3 of a lap to go after chasing him for the middle half of the second lap. Passed him... want to guess?.... on a hill! And I can't climb!
I finished with a 36:45 second lap... much faster than I thought I would be and I had intentionally backed it down a bit. I had won the 30-39 race and had caught all but the top two of the 20-29 race.
I was hoping for a double podium because I need two new tires but I only got to pick from the prize table once. Nice brand new Bontrager 29.3 tire. My side walls are worn threadbare on that bike... so I may have to wait on upgrading until I win another one.
Thanks for reading