I got there the night before the race and since I have ridden and raced at Haw Ridge bunches in the last 10 years, I felt no need to pre-ride. I put the Honda into caRV mode and sat down with a good book to read and waited.. The threat of storms (something East Tennesseeans take very seriously now in the wake of some recent deadly ones) had me a little nervous and I surveyed the area for the best tree to park my car under.I figured the one most likely to be struck by lightning or a tornado would be actually the one that would be spared so my logic seemed sound and I felt safe. Night y'all..
I rode the first two laps non-stop and stopped on the third only long enough to change bottles. My pit crew was nowhere to be found, oh, I am my pit crew. Well nevermind. By my third lap, I felt much smoother on the rocky, technical parts and the big-ring stuff made me smile (uh..... big-ring. Yeah. After riding only singlespeeds for the last 6 years, I added a 2x9 drivetrain to my 2011 Vassago Optimus and I love it! Make all the jokes about female parts and my manhood if you wish. It's my bike and I'll ride what I want).
I began to really groove on my third lap, just in time for my legs to begin to complain and for a couple of blisters to form on spots that never used to get blisters and I got a little sloppy and bounced off a few trees slalom style (except these trees don't break away like poles on a DS course do.
|photo courtesy of Elizabeth McCalley|
I set out on my 5th lap and got about a mile in and nearly crashed twice, once hard, because of stupid stuff and I said enough. I turned and went back to my car and called it a day. My experiment was over and I got what I came for.
I ended up 8th in solo and know that I just need to ride more and ride my mtb more to get back to where I was before my time off. With that, I have two more long events (a 6 hour and a 75k monstercross race) with the option for a third depending on schedule conflicts, planned for this year. I am doing a full load of cyclocross in the fall/winter and then we will see about a bigger schedule for next year. My main thing is to have fun and remember why I race in the first place. The past year has been very hard for me personally and I am thankful and blessed to just be able to ride my bike.
Everything else is just a bonus.