After being stuck in traffic for an hour we decided to grap some food and call it a night midway thru the 12 hour drive. We knew we were in luck with our Mexican food choice (and our only choice of food) when we saw a handmade sign on the door walking into the restaurant that read "no pubic restroom." And with the limited scan I did they were true to their word.
When we checked into our hotel I found this sitting on the shower ledge:
At the time I did not think much of it, but with an hour it came it me. The race was in DUCKtown, TN and I have a rubber duckie (my new bath toy) at a random stop midway down. It's gonna freakin rain, I know it.
At the time they were calling for some light rain Sat that would clear out by race time Sunday. That all changed by the time we woke up Saturday morning. Flood warnings, heavy rains and just all around happiness was in order.
After packet pick up we were off for an easy scouting of the course. After a half mile of paved to gravel to concrete the climbing started with a mix of singletrack and doubletrack over the next three miles. Then a mile or so of rolling singletrack led us the a mile long bombing packed gravel downhill that put your high speed BMX cornering skills to the test. Once again on singletrack we keep the downhill thing going on one of the best downhills I've rode on the east coast.
After a night of heavy rains once again Wifey had lots of these to see in route to the race start:
Even with the rains we were a go, and after some prep time...and lots of trying to stay dry I found myself at the starting line up. But the only thought I had as I stood with the other Cat 1 men was "what the Hell am I doing here?" I'm standing in a sea of 24 Trek, Cannondale, Gary Fisher, Independent Fabrication and other riders that most were "Semi Pros" last year before the USA cycling class change.
As the moto took us out on our "neutral" start to the base of the climb I was sitting in sixth and feeling good...even with a HR in the upper 180's. 1st-3rd place were gone in a blur but five of us were bouncing positions the whole first lap and into the second. Midway thru the second lap on the bombing gravel downhill I rolled my rear tire sliding thru a corner and broke the seal on the tubeless tire. A 30 second CO2 repair and I was off, but without my prior riding partners.
My repair job did not last as long as I wanted, and I had to stop once more on the final lap for a second CO2 repair. Guessing the Stan's could not get a good seal with all the water/mud on the rim and I saw a few more places drop away. Coming out of the last singletrack I was caught by a rider and I looked under my arm to see my class series of numbers on his number plate...crap.
With only a paved somewhat flat mile to the finish I locked out the Lefty threw it in the large chainring and gave it Hell. I put over 40 seconds on the guy, but it was still only good enough for an 11th overall. A little out classed right now maybe, but nothing makes me want to train harder then things like this.
Once again a huge thanks to the Berger's of:
and all those that helped them put on a great race in less then great conditions.