To Race or not to race
The start was up hill on an open fire road & the pace felt quite slow but all the riders kept a tight line not giving much room to overtake before hitting the first single track where I managed to be up the front. The climbing single track was chewed out from all the bikes riding over it during the early part of the day & that made it hard to gain traction on the steeper pinches. The line of riders soon turned into a line of walkers as we caught up to the younger age group riders that started a minute or so in front of us. After walking up the last part of "cardiac arrest" the climb I jumped onto the bike & negotiated over a few large rocks & drops "Hammer Head" as I seen a few riders take falls on the B lines shooting me up a few places before heading down "Luge" a bunch of tight bermed corners linked together where I found myself sliding due to high tire pressures & managed to loose control sending me sliding over the top of a large berm tumbling down the steep terrain injuring my right shoulder & right glute. Scampering back up to my bike I had to wait for a dozen or more bikes to go past before I had enough room to get back onto the track. I was suffering as I attempted to increase the power down on the pedals & it didn't take long before I once again slid out on a corner & found myself rolling down the hill. Coming around after the first lap I was maybe in sixth last spot. As I went past the feed zone my friend Sue Woods held out a water bottle for me but I opted to keep riding past since I had hardly touched my water. The lap was only just over 4 km & I knew I would not be catching the leaders today, but I had spent $70 to enter the race so I continued on. Second time up the climb felt hard after falling off & I was once again reverted to walking toward the top before getting on the bike again for the challenging down hill. From here I found myself sliding all over the track & taking more falls with the worst crash sliding into a rock sending me tumbling over the bars gouging a chunk of carbon from my bike frame & bending the derailleur hanger. Before riding again, this time I let a bit more air from the tyres making it much easier to control down to the finish line where I let them know I was out & had enough for the day hoping to save myself in some sort of way for the AMB 100 the next morning.
I finished only two laps out of the four & felt like I had been in a fight on a rugby field. XCO is definitely a lot harder than ten years ago when I use to race in the state rounds & I guess it is something that I have not really trained for either, but it was a great experience all the same.