Another Sunday, another race. This was my ninth race for the season, second mountain bike race. Actually, second race of the weekend if you count Saturday's road time trial.
I spent the night with a buddy of mine, fellow sport racer, Dave B. He and his girlfriend were nice enough to put me up for the night, feed me (some awesome spaghetti), then they even drove me to the race. How could you ask for better service than that?
We made it to Big Bear at about 9:30 am, registered, bs'd with friends for a while then got ready. I jumped on the trainer and did my typical 1/2 hour warm up. I was feeling pretty well considering how hard I went the day before. I did a quick one mile ride on the road to test the bike then went to the pre-race meeting where we found out the race was going to be delayed 1/2 hour. That sucked, I was warmed up perfect, oh well. Things happen I guess. I went ahead and just rode around for another 1/2 hour with some buddies.
The time came to race, it was now almost noon and it was getting warm. Probably right around 70 - 75 degrees. The experts were up front, sport class behind them about 15 feet. We all took off together. Immediately Sport and Expert were mixed together.
The race started with one mile on the road, then one mile on a dirt road at which point the sport turned off and the experts kept going. I went pretty hard on the road and was at the front of the sport race, however, one sport rider took off like a bat out of hell, he was gone! By the time we made it to the singletrack he was completely out of site. I was second in the woods. After a very short distance of singletrack the climbing started. Three nasty climbs right after one another that kind of merged into one climb. They probably wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't just gone all out on the road to maintain a good position. I was actually in my granny going up these and considering walking. I stayed on the bike and just kept spinning.
On the two climbs I was passed by two sport riders. Shortly after I was passed by a Sport Masters rider. I stayed with him for about three miles and we rode pretty well together. We even missed turns together through some tight, twisty stuff. We managed to survive it though and kept going. I eventually passed him on a technical climb and ended up dropping him. I enjoyed riding with him though, kind of a coincidence but his name was Bruce also.
I kept going as hard as I could, on the verge of pushing too hard the entire race. About half way through I started passing beginner riders, just about all of which did a great job of getting out of the way upon hearing me yell "rider" or "on your left", or something like that. Have to give them credit for being very cooperative.
With about five miles to go I came up on the guy that was going so fast earlier. Man that guy was moving at the beginning. However, I think he thought this was a sprint because he completely blew up. When I passed him we was actually going slower than the beginner racers. Hopefully he learned a little about pacing himself from this.
About two miles later I caught up with the second sport rider that had passed me. I managed to pass him after following him for about a mile. I passed another rider (beginner I believe) at the same time, right before a short 15 foot gravel climb with a right turn in it. I hit that turn full speed, which turned out to be a little too fast. I spun out but was able to just plant my right foot down and throw myself and the bike to the top of the climb. The two racers behind me weren't so lucky. I went full out from here on, only about 3/4 of a mile to go. Only thing I could do was try to mentally beat the other rider so I just tried to make it look like I still had energy and was fresh. It seemed to work. I think I beat him by close to a minute.
Once I crossed the line the first person I saw was apclassic9, always nice to see a smiling face. Next thing I did was look at the result board. The guy in front of me was a sport vet, that means......I WON!!!! Holy crap, my first win as a sport racer! Come to find out the guy behind me was a Vet as well. I went that hard at the end for no reason...oh well, I WON!!!
I would tell everyone how "the kid" did (aka salsa, aka apclassic9's sponge) but he will probably want to tell it himself. Plus his mom will probably have something to say about having to buy a new wheel after having to buy a new rotor after last week's race.
Anyway, the course was awesome and I had a great time. Congratulations to everyone that was out there and thanks to all of the volunteers.
Oh yeah....... I won!!!