Brought the Wrong Head Today

With the second 90+ day in this early spring already burning it’s way though the morning mist, I made my way down to our friendly neighbors the Dupont’s. They invite the cycling class onto their beautiful estate at Granogue twice a year. It is very generous of them and we appreciate all of it even if their opulence could be juxtaposed with your average everyday mountain biker.

Along with swatting of bugs and putting my fancy pants on, I made it to the start line. I decided to put myself in the middle of the group since after all of these years, I have decided that literally eating dust was not the way I wanted to start a race.

Anne Post Carrott

While on the line minding my business and talking to some of my fellow racers. The always frank Anne Rock yells from behind the herd of clydesdales in front of her…”Engleman…Your ass is my carrot.”Anne happens to pass me in just about every race we are in together. She is a tough rider and her class usually starts just behind mine. Considering her speed and my lack of it, our speed graphs often overlap for a few minutes, so I had no doubt that she was coming for me. If she needs my ass as motivation, she is setting her sights way too low literally and metaphorically.

When Mark let us go, I was of to the races. I have never ridden at Granogue before and I had no idea what I was in for. I just hit the gas and all of a sudden I was in 3rd going into the woods. Then the woods went up and I was in way too high of a gear and I like the fourteen year old involved in some heavy petting, you could say I was done a bit prematurely.

At the crest of the tower hill, I was far from third and had probably lost a considerable number of places that I would never see again. I was able to keep it up right and a bottle neck put me back in the hunt, but not for long. I took a sharp right turn over a wet log like I was trying to bust up a double play at second. I slid right over it and end up on my hip. Not too bad, but I needed to get back on it. For some reason “it” kept running away from me.

Into the twisty woods that would normally have been my playground, I just straight up sucked. I was getting caught up in I don’t know what. My head was just not in the game at all. I could not focus on turning the pedals and staying upright.

Eventually the woods spit us out onto a field and a bit of a road crossing. I figured I could get it back together on this section, but after riding along on here and having Anne following me at this point, I was moving along until an unexpected steep hill sucked my rear wheel backwards and I was walking up hill feeling sorry for myself. I am not sure that I ever really got it back together at all. I made one big climb where friends and others were cheering and heckling us, but besides that I just felt like crap and I was back in the woods.

Did I put on my sweat gutter too tight or was it just the heat and my lack of fitness? I think it was a combination of both of them. I really think it could have been the first part because I felt that I was losing it even on the downhills. There was no rest although I did enjoy the ride through the tunnel.

Once I reached the Deleware version “Koppenburg” I knew I was done. I made the choice to skip out on the grass section of the climb and took the road instead That is an automatic DQ for the day. I was cooked, done, bonked, whatever it may have been. It killed me to take my number off as I went through the start line and told them that I was DNF. Did Not Finish. Unless there is a major crash or mechanical that should never happen. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but it was really killing me to stop, but I could not imagine going out there for one more lap. In hind sight, I could have fumbled through the next lap, finished last and still brought in some points. Man it sucks to look back at the result and see what I did. I just gotta go forward with it and understand what I need to fix. Racing will never be so important to me, but as  someone who never quits anything, dropping out like that really made me feel pretty low for the rest of the day.

To avoid that feeling I went and shot a bunch of trail pictures and cheered on my friends who were still making their way around the trail. I stuck around for the start of the pro race, but had to hit the road as the temps went up and the sweat came down. I went to homebase so I could lick my wounds while soaking in the air conditioning. Soon enough I will be out there again.

Thanks to all of the vampire fighters that make riding at Granogue one of the premier events of the Mid Atlantic season.

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