The pre-ride was the scariest of all pre-rides so far! There was mud, hills, and turns--all at once! It seemed like I spent more time off my bike than on! I couldn't seem to get up the hills without spinning out my rear tire, even in my easiest gear. I didn't get to finish the whole course before the next race started, but what I had done, had me very nervous.
This is in the pre-ride. The look on my face says it all. Perhaps I should have stayed home!
This wasn't so bad.
We lined up for the race. I was in my usual very back starting position; no call-up today. We took off (me, like a herd of speeding turtles). The first obstacle was 4 logs positioned in a bunch of mud. I'm sure it was to simulate the wild frontier (at least the pioneers had four wheels on their wagons).
Also kind of hard to run in mud. I tried to stay to the side.
We wove our way through the trees, up and down some small hills. I passed a couple of gals. It was muddy, but the worst part was the rocks. I was worried I was going to get a pinch flat. Then there were some steeper hills. I found the best line to be usually to the outside. There was more grass there. However, there was one little steep sucker, just after a corner. I had to put my foot down every time, and scoot the last couple of feet. Then there was another log--just one, but you still had to get off to get over it.
After that section, we came through the finish area and to some regular barriers. After the barriers was the dreaded off-camber beginning to the really hard part of the course. I almost made it without putting my foot down.
This was where I didn't take the best line. I should have been up higher.
I actually surprised myself on this section. Where I had had to get off so much in the pre-ride, I managed to ride all of it! I think it was partly due to remembering to shift into an easier gear. I have to be able to keep my weight back, and still pedal up the hill. Then there was the stairs. Bryan had told me to get off before going around the corner to go up the stairs. I did that, and actually passed a gal going up the stairs (made with logs...of course)! After the stairs there was a couple more steep up and downs before popping out of the woods and back to where we had started.
In the second lap, I caught up to a few more Cat 4s. I passed Chris as she was running with her bike. Unfortunately, she had a flat. She ran for a long time to get to the pit, only to find out they had no neutral wheels (this was after discovering her rear derailleur was bent, and borrowing a new one from the RAD Racing Team--an awesome Junior Racer organization). Jean was still a ways ahead of me.
When I went by the finish, it said there were two laps to go. I hadn't been passed by the 1/2s yet. Back into the woods. Again, I managed to ride most all of it. I passed another gal when she didn't make it up the last steep hill, and had to run it.
I was slowly catching up to Jean. I could see her just ahead. I was maybe 15 feet behind her coming up to the single log. Unfortunately, I had a horrible remount (caught my foot on the wheel), and Jean did a great job and took off. I thought I would be able to catch her in the next lap, but it turned out there was not to be a next lap. We were done when we got to the finish. It didn't really seem like we raced 40 minutes, but I wasn't disappointed that I didn't have to go around again!
I ended up 18th out of 24. So, not last, and I didn't crash. Although this was definitely the hardest course so far, it wasn't so bad once I was racing (I use the term "racing" rather loosely). I need to keep telling myself that it's never as bad as it seems in the pre-ride.
Today's squad. Chris, Jean, me and Sarah (who got four laps in and finished 10th!)
I'm getting pretty fast at giving Hal the "Roy Treatment". But, back to back racing days means the shoes don't quite get completely dry. Oh, and I get to do it again next weekend--the Suburu Cup. Two days, two different courses, same venue.