Monday, November 5, 2007

Damn, that's a big Raccoon. I've never hit a Raccoon before.

Those thoughts went through my head just moments after the furry little bandit passed within inches of my front wheel on my 9th lap of racing at the 2007 Treeshaker held this past weekend in Fort Mill, SC. He was running like his ass was on fire and his head was catching, I don't know what kept him from getting nailed.

The Treeshaker this year was way different from last year. First there was a new venue with a longer and more demanding course. Second the field was much more competitive. Dicky was there, breaking his moratorium on lap races, Vassago teamate Kevin Clark was there and several other fast guys. Another Vassago teamate - Chris Davis came but brought gears to give the other solo class guys someone to chase.

The race got underway promptly at 9:00am with a LeMans start that sucked ass like all the rest. It is no secret that I hate running and the premise of spreading out the field before they hit the woods is nice but it doesn't work. I spent the first lap following people that had to stop at every bridge, rock and downed tree and it was frustrating. That probably set me up to ride the next 2 hours way harder than I should and I was just digging a big hole for myself that would cost me later. Still, I was having fun. The course was really fast and had some fun twisty stuff and a little climbing near the end that would get alot of attention as the race got old. I rode my first couple of laps back to back and in the low 50 minute range. After lap 2, I stopped for about 1 minute to change bottles and grab a mouthful of Twizzlers. Leaving the transition area, I looked like a walrus with the gummy red treats hanging from both sides of my mouth but they are good. Powerbars taste like cardboard but I'll crawl through broken glass to get at a bag of Twizzlers. I save them for racing only.

I slowed myself down some and rode for awhile with Chris somewhere between laps 3-6 (they kinda run together after awhile). We parted after I could no longer keep his pace on the climbs. Dicky was keeping with the script and kicking all our asses. Kevin was hanging tough with consistent laps and he was holding in 3rd place.

Our Team Manager - Misty, came from MD to help with support. She and the Guinness Fairy (you know who you are) made a Starbucks run somewhere in the afternoon. To hell with Redbull, gimme Starbucks! I sucked down a Grande Cappuchino like a new calf sucking .....well you get the idea, and I felt great for a couple of laps (um......7 and 8 I think). The taxman from laps 1-3 came calling on lap 9 and I had to pay up. The few climbs on the course that were kittens early on grew into nasty, four-headed beasts with pointy teeth at the end. I finally had to walk some on my last 2 laps. I came to the end of lap 9 to the sound of Misty and the G.F. screaming their heads off with encouragement. Looking at the clock, I rode straight into lap 10 with hopes of 12 but realistically I'd be lucky to get 11 before the cut-off of 8:30. By then, I was riding real slowly on the climbs. There was a section called Sugar Island that had two climbs that really sucked. I rode the first but had to walk the second. Then, while lifting my rear wheel over a log crossing, my left calf cramped so hard that I screamed like a girl. I rode the log though and just pedaled with one leg for a bit until I got something going on again in my left one.
At the end of Lap 10, I had 4 minutes to get out on my last lap. I didn't go.

When I saw the results and saw that 4th through 7th were all at 10, I may have been able to do the math (after 90 miles on a bike, basic math skills are pretty much gone) and realize one more would put me in 4th - right behind Kevin.

Damn! I kicked myself after it was over.

It was all good though. Team Vassago got noticed and Kevin got 3rd with me 7th in the Solo Singlespeeds and Chris got 8th in the other Solo class.

And thus the end of my 2007 season (well almost the end, there's still 3 more Cross races) came at 8:24 pm and was heralded by the sound of a cold, creamy Guinness being popped in celebration.

A huge thanks to Misty and the Guinness Fairy for the Starbucks, the Cytomax, the screaming and the Guinness. You guys rock.

Thanks also to my sponsors: Vassago, WTB, White Bros and Bike 29. 2007 was fun, here's to 2008.


1 comment:

Hmmm.... said...

Congrats on the race B. You really pushed it out there! Tough course and tough competition!

See ya at the next one! :)