Here's what happened.
I met up with a bunch of my buddies from home: Bob, Anet, and Wes Lamberson, their coach Andy Johnston, Ben Appleby, Michael, Greg, Anthony, Brad, Sara, Andy and Abbie, Eric the Wonderdog, it was nice to have alot of homies around for a change. I also saw Dicky sporting a trick, new Meatplow, Stephen, and quite a few people I have met through racing. There was quite a turn out for a new event. After all the preparations, I lined up my Vassago Optimus for the start. I was exceedingly happy that there would be a mass start as opposed to a LeMans start. Any day is a good day if I don't have to run. I was a bit worried when I heard that there was 1.5 miles of pavement before the singletrack though. Usually that means bad things for a singlespeed rider as even mediocre geared riders can use their mechanical advantage and get ahead of you only to stub you up in the woods at the first rock or crooked root they come to. Here was a different story though as the first 1.5 miles included a nice, long climb! Yay!
I lined up next to Bill Collie (another homie and really strong rider) and right behind Dicky. As Andy said in the pre-race banter: Go hard or go home! When we took off, I rode hard and crested the climb within a pack of about thirty that included some really heavy hitters and we had a gap of about 30 seconds over the other hundred or so racers that were behind us. I think every race should start with a climb and mass start! I was in some strange territory though. I could see just ahead of me people like Andy Applegate, Dicky, Will Black, Bill Collie. I knew I couldn't stay for long but it was nice to be there for as long as I could hang in I had a great start and the first lap had some traffic but mostly is was the easiest first laps I have ever had at one of these things. After the initial effort from the start, I tried to find my "all day pace" and get a look at the trails since I had never seen them before. I quickly learned that this was a demanding course with very little place to rest. You were either on the gas or bracing yourself against one of the numerous G-outs that tried to slam you against the top tube of your bike or jamming into one of the many bermed turns. I came through the Start/Finish area an hour and some change after I left it and recalculated my pre-race goal of 6 laps. I needed to slow down some and since my first lap was over an hour, 6 laps wasn't happening.
I went into lap 2 and backed off my pace a little. It was starting to get warm which was fine with me but I am used to riding in 40 degrees and wet. 70 degrees and sunny without being acclimatized to heat was kinda uncomfortable. I was still riding and climbing well but the course was already going to work in kicking my ass. It was tough. Into my third lap, I was looking at a part of my pain cave that I hadn't seen in awhile. It's a dark, hot, nasty place that isn't a lot of fun to be in. My shoulders and arms were tired and I was careful to not screw it up. About a mile from the finish was a couple of semi-technical rock gardens that weren't hard to ride but if you didn't pay attention, you could get hurt easy. After my third lap, I stopped in my pits for about 5 minutes to stretch my back and neck. It was about then that I realized if I didn't get my butt in gear, I would miss the cut-off and my chance at 5 laps so I took off. Somewhat slowly...
My 4th lap was all about blue-collar suffering. I was hurting and had to walk some of the steepest climbs because I just didn't have the legs any longer to keep my 32x18 turning. In my last lap, I noticed I didn't get passed a lot except for a few team racers. I guess the course was taking it's toll on everyone. Regardless, I didn't care much about that then. I was in a bad place.
I rolled across the line 7 minutes past the cut-off and ended my chance to do 5 laps. I was 25% disappointed and 75% happy that my suffering was over. I was cooked!
The fun wasn't over yet. The BMCC had set-up a nice barbecue/awards ceremony with free beer from the Blowing Rock Brewing Co that was really great. For a first event, the BMCC really set the bar pretty high with a great course, fun race and awesome post race eats. I can't wait to go back next year.
After stuffing my face with hog and filling up on Blowing Rock Bock, in my haste to get back to TN, I forgot to check where I finished -doh! I looked before the final results were posted and I was in 12th ss and 44th overall. That's fine. I wanted to better but i was happy with how I did and I know just where my fitness is right now. My next event is the Dirt, Sweat and Gears race coming up in May and it's my first "A" race of the year.
Congratulations to Andy Johnston and Wes Lamberson for their win in the 2 Person Male class and to Bob and Anet Lamberson for getting second in Co-ed. Great job y'all!