Training can be FUN! Finally getting my Blogger updated after a couple of events...sorry for the delay!
Back on June 16th I chose to join a friend, Gabor, for a trip up to Bedford, VA for a VORS race called the Fat Tire Frenzy. I heard it was a fun trail and would be great for training, and a bonus of cash pay-out to the SS class. That's all it took to convince me to attend, as I knew that barring any mechanicals I would most-likely be in the running to get my entry/travel fees back with a good finish.
Gabor picked me up in the early morning and we hit the road without delay...Then it hit me, I left my large cup of my routine oatmeal pre-race meal sitting on my wife's vehicle in the garage!! We were already 20mins away, so I called and asked her to place it in the fridge for later. We then came upon a McD's where I purchased 2 of their oatmeal cups. We then continued on and had an uneventful drive until we had difficulty finding the event venue due to the GPS directions. It placed us at a recycling collection site where we drove past the collection area up a 2-track to the top of a hill in a field that was empty except for 1 truck and a tractor on a flatbed. LOL We then found a gentleman who was able to get us headed in the right direction.
Finally on-site we went directly to registration. Our entry fee was just $25, and this is where the Maxxis Southern Classics promoters need to take note! The entry fee included a nice laminated number plate, post race food/drinks, raffle ticket, and a athletic event labeled t-shirt!! The 2 of us laughed about this on our way back to the vehicle to continue prepping for the race start which was just 30mins away. This is when I discovered I forgot my riding gloves and my GU gels! I laughed with Gabor stating that it was not a big deal since I race SS, but also that I was just a complete mess due to having a race on a Saturday morning instead of the normal Sunday morning routine. At this point I was just hoping to have a good race and some fun.
At the start it another surprise was thrown at me...It would be a mass start for all CAT1/Pro/SS classes male/female. This was actually AWESOME!!! I was now excited! I've always been able to take the hole-shot at the starts regardless of competition; however, this start did have a nasty long section of grass field to the entrance of the single track. I quickly grabbed the spot I had eyed for the start on the line and was lined-up to my team mate Eric O'Connell. This would be a great start, I thought to myself, with a team mate at my side! As the race started I sprinted to be 1st to the 1st left 180deg corner. I then sprinted out of that corner to get to a high cadence...I had a slight gap, but the field was beginning to close-in. As the course bent left for a long sweeping turn it dropped then started a climb. It wasn't until the crest of that climb that we finally left the grass field and popped-up onto a paved cart path which was about 50yds in length. Just before reaching this pavement a geared rider attacked and I was unable to hold him off. As we hit the pavement he clicked through his gears and opened a slight gap. Luckilly I was able to hang and hold-off the remaining racers breathing on my back wheel. As we snaked through a few technical areas I left a slight gap so as to not have the geared rider in-front of me mess-up my flow. Eventually a couple of riders came by, to include Eric. Jumping on his wheel I hung on to my position, now in 4th. Then as we entered a series of switchbacks a young rider began stating he wanted to pass. I told him to find a place and call it, that I would not slow or move off trail for him. Soon after he decided to make his move, but it was an illegal one, as he cut accross a switchback to jump up 2 positions in the tight single track! We quickly started calling him out for his move worthy of a DQ. Then he and the couple ahead of Eric and I got out of sight.
Looking back we now had a good gap, and as we entered a long flat of open 2-track Eric called me to the front for a pull. As we re-entered the single track it was an immediate steep short switchback climb which was slightly technical. As I crested the climb I now had a gap on Eric. I continued to push on as the course now was very undulating requiring me to keep the power and flow going. Suddenly a large jolt and crack rang out as I smashed my pedal on a rock. I shook it off, but shortly after that I had at some point unclipped my right foot in a section and upon re-engaging my pedal did not realize I had broken it. On an ensuing steep power climb my foot pulled straight out of the pedal which had me driving my right knee into my stem! I quickly stopped and looked at my shoe not knowing what had caused the shoe to disengage. Then coming through that same section on Lap#2 it happened again! This time I noticed what had happened and made sure to rotate the pedal to get a good side.
Half way through lap#3, the final 8+mi lap, I was in the midst of passing numerous lap riders when I caught the young Cannondale rider who cut the course on lap#1. I heckled him for at least a mile until I finally found a passing opportunity and dropped him as I heckled him more! LOL I finished the race and found that I was 7mins ahead of 2nd place in my class and 3rd overall on the day for Expert/Pro! Wow, I was spent! Then during the closing awards I earned $80 for 1st in SS and to top it off my ticket# was drawn and I won another $60+ floor pump! Great day of training if I may say so! :)
Huge kudos to the race promoter for the VORS and the park for a great event! I'll be likely to go back again in the future!