So I haven't written in a while because I have been busy putting some real work in and doing a great job.
Legends of Stank XC: Raced Men's Cat 2 15-29
I used Ryan's full suspension Titus Racer-X 29er with Andrea's lightweight aluminum wheelset. I had done a few hot laps leading up to the race and felt like I could finish in the top 4-5. I warmed up well and was feeling great. We all lined up and GO! it was all out. I hadn't raced a XC race in a long time and forgot how hard it could start. I made sure to follow this fast looking guy who dove into the woods first and within 4 minutes it was a light pack behind us. I didn't like the way the leader was riding so I ended up passing him and leading for a little more than a lap. Near the end of the first lap I got tired of hearing everyone behind me talking like Chatty-Kathy's started dropping the hammer hard. I turned it up and didn't really let off. They stopped talking but it was bonker's fast. About 1/3 of the way through the 2nd and last lap Dylan Vance blasted past me on the left and never let up. I chased him for a second and realized it was dumb to ride that hard. I knew we were too far from the finish to be riding at that pace for me personally and I backed off. I let the other guy who was with us around to chase and they never came back. I put in a really solid effort and had a great time. I couldn't have ridden that fast without being loaned a bike and I wouldn't have pushed myself that hard without the help of my friends in the last few months helping me realize my abilities. Fun tid-bit: my average heart rate for the 1:33 race was 182bpm.
Cirque Du Velo Circuit Race
I overslept and was too cocky. I went out stupid hard and got dropped from the main group and pulled from the race by the officials. This really pissed me off. I knew better than that. I knew better than to go out that hard. The breaks from the gun never stick in Cat4. Why in the Hell did I chase? Because I am an idiot. The worst mistakes are the best learning lesson. I will say lesson learned. Chip placed on shoulder.
Riverside Classic XC
With a big chip on my shoulder and a stomach full of anger I decided to go race Riverside XC. The course was supposed to be rocky and gnarly. I said "OK". It was supposed to be hot. I said "Good". It was supposed to be 15 miles for the SS race. I said "Whatever, that's a sprint". I was really looking to get some vengeance and redemption from my previous weekend of riding like a Cat5 triathlete.
I rode with Andrea over to Little Rock the night before. We showed up to the wrong La Quinta in Little Rock, looped around the block twice and ended up at the other La Quinta less than 4 miles from where we had been. If that gives you an idea of how bad the traffic right there was. La Quinta was like "People want to stay here but gosh, this is hard to navigate. Hell, let's build another over there." I digress.
Woke up, had breakfast at Starbucks, get to the race, run around like an idiot, get ready to race, line up. There are 10 people in the single speed race and they started us behind a few too many of the Cat 2 age groupers. I think we were supposed to start behind the 19-29 but ended up behind the 29-39 guys. That was a little bit of a suck.
The race started with a paved, non-neutral start. One guy says "I guess we won't have a sprinting match with these single speeds on the road" and I bit my tongue pretty hard. I have been trying to not be a cocky little shit and spout off at the mouth all the time. When the man said GO! I started to spin. I eased up on the nose of my saddle and spun pretty hard. At the first little rise in the road I did my best to keep my cadence up and maintain my speed. Maybe some others didn't follow suit. When we hit the bigger hill I tried to do a mild attack out of the saddle and kill the hill. At the top of the hill it was time to dive into the woods. A guy snaked the long way around a tree and dove into the woods first. I watched him for a minute and he was bobbling and panting and hurting - he was riding outside of his ability. As soon as the trail turned up I rode around him and dropped the hammer hard. I didn't hear any one cussing or scrambling to come with me from deeper in the pack so I kept the spurs in myself and really laid it out for a few minutes. I hadn't preridden the trail at all so I didn't know anything to expect. The trail is great and usually sensible. The fast parts stayed fast and the slow parts got tight and twisty. I almost wrecked trying to pass a guy from a race that started ahead of mine. He was listening to his phone on full blast in the top of his camelbak so he couldn't hear me yelling "single speed leader, single speed leader wanting to pass" so I said "hey on your right, right now" as I stormed through the bushes and ended up losing my front wheel in the leaves. I got off, ran around him who was very startled, and ran for about 20 yards up the trail. I was pretty frustrated but he was still stuck in his granny gear listening to Nickelback or something so I got over it pretty quick.
I started the second lap and started bumping my rim on the ground every once-in-a-while. I kept riding hard, but only uphill. I would destroy the uphills and then conserve downhill trying to not whack my rim on the ground. I hadn't used my own air pump and trusted the gauge like it was mine. I just didn't have enough pressure. It didn't show up til the second lap when I was getting comfortable and really letting it hang out on the trail. About 400 yards from the finish line the most awful clanging noise occurred. I was ripping down the last 3 straightaways before the finish and I ripped a huge hole in my rear tire. Handfuls of front brake and a good bit of cussing allowed me to make the first turn. At this point I realize I need to make one more turn, cross the road, then ride smooth grass in to the finish. I leaned all my weight forward and eased down to the last turn and creep through the turn. The guys at the road called clear and I eased my way out over the lip of the road and then off the other side. I probably had around 5psi in my rear tire so I sat on the nose of my seat and pedaled hard across the line. First win in the books with a decently cool story, needless to say I was pumped.
I am appreciative of the help and support that is given to me along the way. I do my best to help get the HBStache Jersey on the podium when I am riding offroad. My BPC/MB team mate Jonathon has been doing a ton of work giving me training advice and helping me to understand how to achieve my goals. Ryan and Andrea are nice enough to let me live with them which in turn allows me to afford racing my bike. All in all it takes a ton of nice people for me to line up at a race. Thanks to everyone. Hopefully it will keep getting better.