EPIC! The weather always seems to be a factor for this race. Temps in the low 30s and windy. I got there at around 8:30 and found Chris Strout already there with his tent set up. Instead of setting up my own, we hung one of my tarps to give us more wind protection. While it was cold, as long you stayed out of the wind, it was alright. I set up the trainer and went out for some laps. On my way back to the car, my front tire completely washed out on patch of ice and I was down, sliding on my side. One of those crashes where you say to yourself "dumbass!" No bruises or damage to me, but when I got up... the top part of my left hood was in pieces and the brake lever was sticking out almost parallel with the ground. The rest of the bike was o.k.
The course. I think this was the best course I have raced on. It really had a "flow" to it. A wide starting straight into a soft left turn onto pavement then 2 quick turns, short straight then up cricket hill, running because of the 2 barriers at the base of the climb. Remount, down the hill, 180 turn, 2 barriers and run back up the hill, then all the way down the hill and through a soccer goal (no net of course!). More turns, then up a short hill, down, under the viaduct and back up with a single barrier. Some turns, back under the viaduct, up a short steep, then finally(!!) some straight, back through the soccor goal. A soft left, more turns, a short, steep down, equally steep up with a barrier at the very tip, top. A tricky down with a couple of tight turns, then a flat around to the start/finish. They had cleared the snow off of several sections of the course, but not all, so you would be riding/running one section on the wet muddy grass and then go into a couple inches of snow. The hill had not been cleared of snow. Lots of twisty stuff, very technical.
Set-up. Ran the Mud2s again, 38 both front and rear. Jumped on the trainer at 10:30 and kept warm until our race started at 11:00.
The start. I basically had no rear brake. I could use it, but I had to reach alot farther to grab it and it had less than half its power. I lined up second row. Whistle. And we're off. Mid pack, passed a couple riders on the first run up the hill, then as we went down the hill for the first time, I realized that the lack of a rear brake was going to really affect my ability to descend with any amount of speed as both downhill sections had about 3 inches of snow on them. Descending with no rear brake was difficult. In any kind of soft stuff, you want the front wheel to roll, brake with the rear, sit back and let it roll through. With no rear brake, I had to brake with the front and that caused the front end to get a little jittery. Maybe I should have just run the downhill too!
The Race. I settled into a group with Doc Jones and Franco. We spent the race passing each other and a couple of other people. Every time I passed them, they would catch up to me when I had a mishap with the braking situation, then I would catch back up to them. On the last lap they both stayed away. Result. At the race they had me at 22nd, now I'm at 26th. I'm not sure how that happened. Overall, I'm happy with the result, especially since I didn't have a rear brake.
Congrats to Lou, Kevin and Chris- 1,2,3 in the 30+.
I saw Tristan work his way through the entire 3s field and lap most of the rest of the 1,2s. Poetry in motion. Watched the start of the 4s and then had to bail as I was cold and hungry.
This race tested my technical skills, which were lacking. I have alot to work on for next season.