Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Iron Hill XC
Wow! It's been just about two months since I've competed in a MASS event. Between preparing for 24 hour nationals, competing in XC nationals and other endurance events I've been away from the local racing scene for quite some time. Since Iron Hill was only two weeks after my painful struggle at 9 mile, I was a bit unsure of how things would pan out. The legs felt great on the warm up, but I would not be able to tell how well I recovered until the end of the race. As time got closer to the start I strolled on over to staging with A-ron and Kyle. On the way was a big rock with the perfect angle from which to launch off of. As a huge fan of shenanigans I followed A-ron off of this obstacle. On the landing I was struck with panic as it sounded like my rim had blown apart. I look down at it and see everything is still in tact and the wheel is still spinning true. I just burped a little air out, but was still paranoid about the soft feel of the tire. With only 1 CO2 reserved for an emergency flat during the race, I opted to just run the race as is and only use the precious flat fixer upper if I found myself riding on nothing but rim. We all line up, exchange glances and good lucks, and prepare for take off. From the gun, I surprisingly found myself off the front after Kyle went off course before entering the singletrack. I just settled in and rode tempo through the first section before being passed by Ray of VisitPA.com. I sat on Ray's wheel for a few moments before overtaking him on the inside corner of a climb that was too irresistible not to utilize. I settled back into my tempo, and a few minutes later Martin passed me for the lead position. Again I followed the leader and began to watch as the rest of the field began dropping off the pace. Soon enough I would make another irresistible pass on the tight and twisty singletrack when Martin found himself struggling to turn over a huge gear. As the field was still strung out, I found this as the perfect opportunity to attack. I pushed hard through the rest of the first lap taking the $30 prime and then went back to tempo, focusing on the overall win. Pushing the limits through each and every corner, I felt the gap grow between myself and the rest of the field. Laps 2 and 3 went by very quickly without sight of the nearest competitor. One more lap to go and I'm still feeling great, anticipating a win. Everything in front of me is presented with the well known tunnel vision one gets with the adrenaline induced rush from racing. Towards the end I sit behind some of the endurance racers and start some conversation with Jake. In this moment Jake informed me that I went off the XC course and on the the enduro course. Oh shit! I get angry at myself for not paying attention as I turn around and go backwards about 20 yards against traffic through the singletrack as I move aside for those who are racing in the correct direction. I start to wonder, "Did I just blow the race being an idiot?" As I am thinking this over I roll through the Mega Dip and through the final portion of the course and through the finish line. Looking around I see nobody around. With great relief I relax and wait around to see who comes in next. In less than a minute Chris Beck came through for 2nd followed by A-ron in 3rd. It felt great to be racing locally again with such tight competition and a great atmosphere. And it was even better knowing that I didn't blow the race in the final stretch.