Monday, March 31, 2008
Rim Wrecker- Like being a kid again...
First off I would like to start by thanking Baby Jesus for the top notch promoters of this event. The race was run well, started on time, started with a smiling Rich and Furbs making it fun for the racers, scored perfectly, and the prize $$$ and schwag was great! I finally got one of those Shimano Dura Ace hats I have been asking Pirtle for so long! And let's not forget the ample supply of good cold beer at the end of the race! Sweet baby Jesus, thank you!
The race yesterday made me happy on so many levels. Sure, I was excited about the new SID Race, some super light Stans ZTR race wheels, some tires I have confidence in and the fancy white kit, but there are some other things that are way less tangible but so much more gratifying.
I have been feeling so good lately, generally speaking, and Saturday my excitement was so apparent, my coworkers were worried. Luckily I had my friend Chris Ludwig there to listen and show interest, otherwise I would have been lonely in my happiness. I like racing in poor conditions. Like Tim Johnson (also from MA), I look at poor conditions as a part of racing, one I excel at. Giovanni declared that from now on, when I get that amped up about a race because of the conditions, he's not going. As a kid I remember my brother and I riding trails in the warm summer rain, thrilled at the feeling; mud kicking up, two wheel slides around corners, so much fun!!! Even though party was over the instant we were greeted at the door by mom, it was totally worth it... I guess some people just never experience that feeling as a kid or are too tight assed to want to remember? That's not really what this is about anyway, it's about the totally positive vibe of everyone at Council Bluff on Sunday that felt it, remembered and could only smile.
There was some banter from the DRJ-boys, Wes and Chris, on the line about me being able to keep air in my tires and if my gears would work the whole race. It was light hearted even though there were some strong dudes lined up- Wes, Chris, Fuhrman, Travis Thrower and Andy Gibbs to name a few. I have to say that I admire these guys for showing up to give it a go. Like me, they were toeing the line to face poor conditions and were excited about it!
They said GO! and I went. I got a gap right away and never looked back. I have to say that I was a little amazed at how quickly I opened things up. Even after going off course on the slight descent after the pine section, until a tree stopped my forward motion, I held the lead. It started raining, HARD. I thought for sure Chris and Wes would come riding up behind me on the first big climb, forced to ride a bigger gear then me, but by the top of the second grassy climb they were no where in sight. At one point I caught a glimpse of Chris, Wes and Travis riding together on one of the coves but it was really hard to tell how far back they were? Mud was flying into my eyes forcing me to blink out of control... I fell into the drink, all the way in, and was chilled a bit when I got out, but pushed on. The legs were there and aside from being worried about fading I was feeling good.
I turned my first lap in 1:06. Considering that last year I was riding with Wes before I flatted, close to the finish of the first lap, and he ended up at 1:03 in perfect conditions, I knew I was flying. I was riding really well, efficient through the mud and great technically. I would love to see what I would have turned had it been dry! By now the course was getting way worse. The rain was steady and there was water running down the center of the trail, and somehow it was awesome! So I pushed on. I wasn't looking over my shoulder at all, I only look over my shoulder when I'm in trouble and fading. I looked ahead, blinked a lot to keep the mud cleared and pushed on. I wasn't able to clear the climb on the second lap but it was nice to stretch the legs, so I ran a bit. The rain had stopped and the mud was drying to my skin and face. I started to think about winning, but quickly forced the thoughts out of my head and concentrated some more.
As I crossed the footbridge at the fork of the Ozark trail I was in cruise control mode. I was going pretty fast and feeling good. The trail was much drier here and I without any more big climbs all I had to do was ride smart. There was no one in sight. When I crossed the boat launch I started to realize that I was about to win my first race in 2008 and started to put it down. It was still easy as I pushed the big meat...
Chris was the first one to meet me at the line to congratulate me, beer in hand. He wasn't able to keep air in his tires and was keeping the beer cold for me :)