July the 15th was a bad day. Well mostly just for me. I have thought about the race since the day I rode it and have concluded I should have done better. Now don’t get me wrong I tried really hard to finish and I did, but I really needed a smaller gear to have done better.
The race started with a neutral roll out, about 1 kilometer through the town then up a huge mountain, no really a mountain. The roll out was fast, oh lets say 18-20 mph, and me on a SS, what was I thinking? As I hit the first climb the realization of the pain and suffering I was in for was apparent. Not good at all. Climbing for what seemed like EVER!!!!!!!! did not make me feel all warm and fuzzy, rather it left me feeling all tired and beat up.
Of course the climbing didn’t stop after one mountain, it never seemed to stop. I am not sure I want to relate what I really felt like during the race and after. I was not happy and not at all impressed with the race organization. Aid stations had less than helpful people, several of the aid station volunteers heckled me, and I really mean heckled. I was called stupid on more than one occasion, for being on a SS and I think on a couple of occasions far worse. Needless to say, I think had I not been heckled I may have stopped and gone home.
The saving grace of the race was the single track descending. It was, and will remain for awhile, the sweetest trails I had ridden in along time. Tight, twisty, rooty and fast. Good stuff and I made people who had passed me specks in my rear view mirror. Okay I don’t have a mirror, but after the 35.5k mark nobody passed me. I am sure that is because of the cut off for the medium distance, but there were still a good number of people on the long course. Whatever.
I still am not real happy with how the race went, I walked way too much, not that I really had much choice. It was steep, steeper than any race I have ever done, and 34×19 was a very bad choice for a gear. Next year I will go with 32×20 or 21 to see how much faster I can ride. Heck I may even do the series. I had a terrible day riding, I had a worse time with my competitors. Of course I didn’t really have any SSers to race against.
In hindsight the race was a great test of my willpower to finish even though I knew I was way off the top times. 6:28 was more than twice what the winner did, but next year… Yeah I still won’t win, but I bet I can do under 5:15. I just had way to huge of a gear.
On a positive note, I would have to say about half the racers who where just out to finish, like me, noticed I was riding a SS and had a ton of positive thing to say (the Pros did not) as we rode and sometimes walked together. Most asked if I done the race on a bet with my SS or what. I explained I always rode my SS all the time. Hopefully next year a couple of the folks who spoke with me on the course about my bike will try the race on a SS. I guess the race was fun. If fun is 3700 meters of climbing in 75 kilometers. In case you are wondering, it was really hard.