I always do this race on a team because it is a great way to end a season and with all the solo stuff I do, it's a nice change of pace to be able to go out and ride laps as fast as I can without having to save something for later. This year's team had longtime teamates Bob Lamberson and Michael Ritter and new this year was Steve Stidham. Leading up to the event, we had been talking a lot of trash with some friends of ours on Grannys Rotten Teeth since they beat us last year (one of the two times I have finished off the podium at 12HOT). It got hot and heavy on ntmba.org's forum but it was all in fun. In light of what we had planned for them, we named our team Granny's Gettin Flossed. To make it more fun, me and Michael dressed in drag.
Rain the day before made the course a little tricky in places and although it's not what I'd call a technically demanding course, it does have things that you'd better pay attention to or you might get hurt - or go swimming!
Saturday morning, Bob and I did a lap of the course to warm-up and check things out. I confirmed in my mind that the gear I brought (32X17) was the right choice. Although there's a good bit of climbing on the course, there's more really fast stuff that a smaller gear would spin out too quickly. I might suffer on the climbs late in the race but it was a fair trade. After our lap, it was time to race. Our plan was simple: ride hard, fast and smooth and make no mistakes. After Bob left, I went to get my um,............kit on. It's true what they say, blondes do have more fun.I had all sorts of attention from people that I had never met. I rode around to warm-up and I must say I looked dead sexy.
Bob came in and I went out, his lap was in the low 40 minute range and I was expecting the same since we are pretty close in riding style. I had a little traffic to deal with but not too bad and I was having a pretty good ride. I came to a place called Rachel's Landing where a crowd had formed to view the carnage and to fish unlucky ones out of the lake (Rachel's Landing is a 20yd long, 10 inch wide section of trail that has a drop-off into the lake. It's easy to ride but if you are a little sloppy there, you will get wet - some people did) and as I came through, the woods erupted with laughter and cheers as the hot blonde with the huge ta-ta's made Rachel's Landing her bitch.
I did a low 40 minute lap and handed off to Michael who was doing his best impression of Allesandra Ambrosio and went to get some food. I discovered that I had an unfortunate wardrode malfunction and would have to retire my costume for the rest of the race. Darn! Michael did a good lap and so did Steve. We were in second and about 20 minutes away from first after the first rotation (4 laps). That doesn't sound bad but if the guys in first were each putting 5 minutes a lap into us, there's a problem. It was early though and we didn't think much about it. We just kept to our plan.The big battle with GRT didn't quite materialize. After all the trash talk, they got scared and entered another class rather than suffer a huge defeat to us in the singlespeed class. Fear is a powerful motivator.
We all continued to have mid 40 minute laps and none of the mechanical issues that plagued us last year. By the time it was getting dark and the mid-point of the race, we had 10 team laps, still second (now 2 laps down dammit!) and we had 2 laps on third so we were relatively comfortable. One thing we have learned though is to never, ever give up. We were two laps down on first but a bad lap for them could put us right back into contention so we kept on with our original plan. The dark brought coldness and after three hard laps with plenty of time in between to get cold and stiff, my legs were starting to feel like two pillars of poo. My gearing was working fine on the majority of the course but it was starting to make me suffer on the climbs. My lap times (all of our lap times for that matter) were still consistent though so I wasn't doing too much damage to myself. I only had to do one more lap anyway.
That lap was my slowest and it seemed like it took forever to get warmed up. When I did get warmed up, I rode like shit. Places where I was smooth earlier had me jammed up like a monkey um,............. nevermind. Let's just say my last lap wasn't my best effort. When I got back, Michael set out on our last lap and in doing so, we got one of our laps back from the 1st place guys (they still beat us though) and we had 4 laps on 3rd (I think) so we were going back to the podium. It was nice but it would have been nicer if we won. It was still fun though and even though GRT didn't race in our class, we still flossed them from across the way so there.
photo credit - Mike T