Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spa City Extreme

After spending a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas you would think I would be rested and refreshed. I can’t say that I am worse than before, but I am coming home with a lot of sore muscles and other parts. I have also come to realize that no matter how hard I try there will always be a glitch in the plans.

I arrived in Little Rock Wednesday night late and went straight to be so I could start Thursday early. Picked up the rental car a drove to Hot Springs to build the bike and a check out the course. The first glitch happened while building my bike. While pulling my bike out of my Thule hard case I realized I forgot my front wheel. No, not really.

 The bike went together pretty smooth, front wheel included. What I did forget was a pump, I had given my Genuine Innovations CO2 to Danielle in TX so I didn’t have to fly with it. So I used the shops compressor to fill my rear tire BOOM! ! ! I blew the tire of the rim, I think their gauge was a little off. I have learned that you shouldn't try to put a tire back on after it’s been blown off the rim so I used my spare. BOOM!!!! Again, this time even bigger, I set the shops fire alarm off, my free hub body got blown off the hub and almost a finger or two. So much for riding Niner’s new rigid fork. I’m glad I have the DT Swiss squishy fork too. Next stop, find some water the hit the course.

While driving around Hot Springs looking for water there seemed to be something strange about town(I could never figure out what it was) but I did find a strip karaoke club…
Once at the course things were smooth, the bike was working great and my legs were feeling good. It was about a 10 mile lap and I made it around in about a half an hour...unfortunately I missed half the lap(it wasn’t completely marked yet). So I went back out and found the loop I missed. WOW what a fun course. At least 95% single track, it was tight, flowing, it had switchbacks, jumps, rocks and drops. I have to say I was excited after racing the lame course at Bonelli Park last weekend.

Everyone rolled in by Friday morning and we all went for a lap. Rebecca, Danielle, Ted(Mr. Super Pit Crew) Ernesto, Chris, Lee and the locals. After the lap it was time to relax and put the feet up, but not before we found some “better beer”(more on that later).

I woke up too early Saturday, Around 4:00 and the race started at 10:00. So it seemed to take all day for the start to come. I did the usual prep, and went pee a lot.
So when the race started with a lemans start around the BMX track I was ready. I was the first one on the bike and took the early lead, not what I wanted to do but it kept me out of trouble. Before I knew it there was a group of about 5 or 6 of us that was gapping the everyone else. Still getting used to riding trails again I washed out my front wheel on a switchback and had to put a foot down. It worked well to get me off the front but some how I caught my shoe in my rear derailleur cable and messed up my shifting, luckily it worked itself back into working order in the next few laps.

Ernesto set a great pace on the front of that first lap, letting a the frisky ride off the front and before we would shoot them out the back. Coming to the feed zone I new my pit was past the others in the group so I went around them so we wouldn’t get tangled. I rolled through the start/finish line in the lead and the others were tight on my wheel. Half way through the lap I pushed the pace a little to see what would happen, the only person that stayed with me was Chris(also riding a Niner). I couldn’t feel it but I think he was holding onto my pocket or something because he was tight on my wheel through to almost the end of the 5th lap when he flatted for the first time.

I knew we would get 7 or 8 laps total, so I had to keep him away for 2 to 3. Time to put it in overdrive. I finished the lap and Ted told me I had to do 3 more.  30 miles and the cleat on my right shoe had come loose. After lap 6 I wasn’t sure if I need to do 8 so I went out like it was my last with out fixing my cleat. It got really bad and my foot was killing me. The only way I could pedal with out it hurting was to point my foot straight down while standing, not very efficient. I finished #7 strong and there was still an hour to go, I had to do another. I had Ted tighten my cleat but he could only tighten one as the other was stripped.

On this course even with all the tight corners 10 miles went very fast. I knew the trail so well by this point I was on auto pilot just flying. When I crossed the finish line 6:20:20 after the gun, I lapped the fastest team, and set a new course record with 8 laps and won my first race of the year!

Thanks to all the folks that helped put on this race. It was a blast, I hope I can make it out next year!

1 comment:

George said...

I think you need to change your facebook profile picture....