After a week of binge eating to recover from Dirt Sweat and Gears, I felt like I was ready to race. The legs were back, the lungs were good, and French Creek itself is a kick ass place, especially when its slick (and it was). Combine this with an uphill start and this might be a recipe for me to win an XC event even with the cut throat competition. The start of the race was confirming this notion as I followed Kyle into the singletrack with A-ron in tow. We finish the first few miles together and popped out onto a paved climb where we rubbed tires and spoke to each other in falsettos (an official trademark of the playground posse). With only one other racer in sight it felt like the three of us would ride off the front all day. But its days like these, when the 44 x 11 feels like too small of a gear that things turn sour. On the following high speed D-scent I noticed a loss of air from the rear tire, so I stopped and hit it with some CO2. Sealed up nicely. Right before I was about to hop back on the bike Wes and Jeff went screaming by, about 40 sec behind A-ron and Kyle. I jumped back in the saddle and went into time trial mode to bridge back to the front. I eventually passed Jeff again. Wes would be appearing shortly. Then it happened again. Rear tire gone flat. I got off and put a tube in the rear tire. I was being passed by a few more elite riders then Rob, being the sweetie pie he is, dropped off his man purse so that I could borrow a CO2 as I was all out. Thanks Rob. Filled up the tire, remounted the wheel, and was off again chasing like a mad dog. Reeling in riders one by one, I was sure I could make it back into the top 4. Then soon enough, I hit another rock garden pretty hard, and the rear tire returned to its previous position flat against the rim. Not my day. At this point I was riding for 40 minutes and figured I couldn't be far from the start/finish area. So I preceded to walk it out and denied help from the rest of those who offered as I would be sure to flatten tube after tube. After about an hour or so of walking I made it back to the start/finish just in time to grab a drink and watch the finish of this two lap race. On arrival I found out that Kyle had flatted, leaving him several minutes behind a respectable finishing time. A-ron had also flatted, but his sealant kicked in allowing a quick hit of the air gun to get him rolling again. This put him in 2nd place behind Wes (who generously provided A-ron with the air). These two positions would hold true to the end as Wes took the W. A-ron held 2nd, while Jeff was 3rd, Chris Beck - 4th, and Roberto 5th. Congrats to all.
This weekend just wasn't a good one for the playground posse. 3 of us were plagued with flats, and Matt was forced to race on skinny tires with his road team.
I can't wait till this Saturday as I will be racing in the Rocktober Marathon 100k near Mifflinburg at R.B. Winter State Park. Come check out the action and bring some friends. This is a great event at an awesome venue. Check out www.highspeedcycling.com for details or register at www.bikereg.com