Well yesterday's race was the championship race for the state series which has been going on since April. It has been a very long year and just about everyone there was relieved that it was the last race for a while.
I went into the race with a knee that was hurting like hell! I nailed it on the stem pre-riding the course on Tuesday. I went in for accupuncture twice on it and iced it up as much as possible. That helped some but not enough. Had this been any other race I would have skipped it. Unfortunately I had to finish in the top seven to make sure I didn't lose my third place overall position. I couldn't even stand up and crank. It hurt bad enough to stand up on the descents.
Anyway, the course was extremely muddy and I spent about half of my time hiking rather than riding. It consisted of a four mile prologue then two five mile laps and then a three mile single track finish. There was about two miles total of fire roads which we all welcomed.
I started out pretty well, I made it around a mile before my first over the bars crash. I didn't feel too bad though since people were crashing left and right. Mud, steep downhills, roots and rocks is just a recipe for disaster. My worst crash was right beside a nasty set of stairs which we were instructed not to ride since they were wooden, slick, and in terrible shape. Somehow I got my arm stuck in my frame with my handlebar twisting into my arm as hard as possible. I thought for sure my arm was going to be broken. Luckily for me the stem decided to twist a little. By the time that crash was over my bars were twisted over 90 degrees and my brakes and shifters were twisted quite a bit as well. Luckily I leave the brake levers and shifters a little loose. I would prefer them to move than break. I believe my stem got bent a little as well, I'll know after tonights bike examination.
I ended up going over the bars five or six times, none of which were easy crashes. I crashed more in this race than I have all season. I couldn't believe how many crashes I saw, they were happening everywhere.
Anyway, fast forward to the second lap. I finish up my water bottle just before I get to the next climb where my wife and parent's are waiting for me. Their main job is giving me water bottles. Well I get there and my wife has already left and my parent's are there. I ask them for my bottle only to find out they don't have any. The course marshall had told them that sport only did one lap so I wouldn't be coming back through. Gee, thanks a lot! Luckily a buddy of mine's mom was there and gave me his half full bottle. Better than nothing. Once I got to a water station I was able to get them to fill the bottle up for me. All in all this cost me about a minute (including getting a bottle).
I took one wrong turn, luckily I figured it out quick. I also stood at an intersection just trying to figure out where to go. Luckily there was a car there that was able to tell me which direction some others went.
In the end I finished third in men's sport 18 - 34. I was 30 seconds behind second, nine minutes behind first. I couldn't imagine riding the course as fast as he did. My end time was 2:26 I believe. I'll know for sure once the results are posted.
What was cool was that first place was the overall series winner. Second place was second overall for the series and I was third in the race and third overall for the season. Worked out pretty well. What is even better is that over the course of the season the three of us became pretty good friends.