Undertrained and Poorly prepared

Around mid winter, I put all of the MASS mountain bike races into my calendar and I start to build my spring/summer around them. I have not been back to Mountain bike racing except for once since I almost broke my neck two seasons ago. What is the equivalent of bar league softball is not worth spending my life in a chair eating through a straw plus I have been a bit of a weeny since then. I think the memory of that accident is well in the past because I made my goal this year to finish in the top 15 of the Clydesdale class for the entire series so I probably have to suit up in my fancy pants and hit the circuit.

Sunday was the beginning of the series. I will miss two of the races this season because of prior commitments, so no matter how bad I felt, I needed to get to Maryland to get this race done.

Of course with my spectacular planing and preparation, I forgot about the pre registration cut off and would be assessed the $10 day of reg fee. I also did not fix my flat from last week so there I was Saturday night, dead from coaching a track meet in the sun all day, changing a flat and tuning up my bike. Why am I always in this state?

I headed out to Fairhill via the grand-prix of cars with bicycles affixed to them which is what I-95 south looked like Sunday morning. Why weren’t we all in the same car? Well…Ill save the green speech for another day. At 80mph, I was scarfing down breakfast and a bunch of water while hoping I would make it to the race and not have to wait in a hour long line for registration and the bathroom.

When pulling through the parking lot/field, I saw a bunch of people up near the pre reg tents. Ahh…this line look like it took forever. I got my stuff and headed over to cough up my forty greenbacks, and I realized that it was all of the beginners lining up for their race….sweet…no line for me! That was honestly the fastest registration line I have ever been in. Sure I was second in line, but I should be rewarded for my lack of preparation! With the beginners already on the course, and the rest of the folks still making the groggy walk around the infield, I was able to get a porta-pot that was still a bit cool. A fresh porta-pot is the top reward for showing up early to a race.

Some friends found themselves in my company and we went through the normal pre race questions about strategy, life, and family. People joked about how slow they are, finishing last, etc. For some reason I was not nervous at all for this race to start. My bike worked fine, save for the front brake that could need some bleeding, I was early, and I knew these trails well. On top of all of that stuff, I did not train at all, so I did not have to worry about doing worse than I had prepared for. Set your expectations low folks…you will be much happier in the end.

At race staging time, My quick pre ride with Drew, the water that I downed, and the experience in my legs provided for some Cool Hand Luke relaxation on the start line. Then the braintrust running this event decided to push the clydesdales….you know the generally slower and fatter class…to the front of the masters classes….you know the generally fit, fast, experienced guys with a few grey hairs…instead of the normal place that we are at just in front of the woman’s class.

This just leads to issues with passing for most of the race, and I figured that is why we always started like that just to make sure that the slower folks were not being over run with faster guys for the whole race which is just really annoying especially for those that do not know how to pass.

When the gun went off,I settled into my spot and went cruising up the hill from the start. Jamie made it up behind me just so he could gab my jersey and pull me backwards only for me to drop him after the switchback to never see him again. The race was running great, and I was more or less on my own. I am not good with folks in front of me or behind me. I get too rushed and I do stupid stuff. Also I tend to be pretty good at filling in the gap between the slow and fast folks.

Halfway through the one short steep climb, the faster master racers started to ride right up our backs. I let a few by and shouted some encouragement along the way. I was going slower, so I got out of the way of all of their fun. As we continue to go through the course, different classes would catch up and pass the little group I was with. I had no issue until one guy with no passing skills pushed me into a tree. Only pass when safe, not when you think you can idiot. to his defense, he did apologize, but once your momentum is gone, then the damage is done.

The rest of the lap went by without much of a hitch. I had to hold onto my front brake a bit longer because of the long pull that I needed because I think my hydraulic fluid is gone. Honestly it went by so quickly, I thought that it was a prologue or something. I got back on my horse and kept going. Invigorated that I made it through a lap with no real problems.

My second lap was going well, and then my niceness overcame me and I helped a person with their busted bike. I gotta realize that I need to just let people go and flounder in the woods. I lost a few places that I worked hard for because I waited. Uhh…so annoyed, but at least the person made it outta there.

The rest of the lap was kind of sucked up by following a few people that were below my pace and not moving up on them until Anne Rock, told me she was coming and I better get a move on. Thanks for the motivation Anne! I was able to get around those that were holding me back and gained back the positions I lost helping the rider.

This was probably my first race that I finished and was sort of happy. I do not know the last time I had a race without a flat, or a broken chain, or some crappy shifting. I guess taking care of your bike could be helpful, plus I think this bike just rocks. I gotta tweek my fit a little bit, but I think I am right where I need to be on this bike.

Besides stopping to help a total stranger, I also made the tragic mistake of not filling my camelback bladder, but going out with two water bottles. That sounds so pro right…well not if your on my one bottle cage frame…the other bottle was in my bag. I had to stop to get it out. Those two issues as well as getting stuck behind some slower folks really jacked up my time, so I know I will do better next time. Lets see how that works out.

Purchase some pictures from this guy.

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Comments
One Response to “Undertrained and Poorly prepared”
  1. dandqracing says:

    Great seeing you at the race Pat. What are you riding these days? Didn’t get a chance to check out the bike.

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