Sunday, September 21, 2008

Addison Oaks Fall Classic

Today I went back to where my short racing career began, Addison Oaks County Park, for the Addison Oaks Fall Classic. The trail at Addison Oaks has an excellent flow, with no big climbs, and not many spots where you need to scrub your speed. Pretty much the kind of trail that invites you to go at full throttle.

I had debated racing in Expert 30-39, but the other day I found out that Expert/Elite singlespeed would be doing the same number of laps as Expert (not the same number of laps as the Sport guys like in most races). I made a morning decision to race Ex/El Singlespeed (12:30pm as opposed to a 10am start time), and headed up to the venue.

After my warm-up, I made my way over to the start line. There was a good size field today, about 10~12 Expert/Elite guys and a similar number for the Sport/Beginner guys. My teammate Todd was lined up with me, as was Cary Marsh.

On the go, I got a decent start, and settled in about 4th or 5th wheel, just behind Todd. I held on strong until 3/4 of a mile in, when I crashed after striking a pedal. Just as I was getting ready to go again, Craig pointed out that my bottle of HEED was lying on the side of the trail. A near disaster averted, I picked up my bottle and got going again.

Most of lap one was spent in catch-up mode, eventually catching Craig and Todd. Coming through between laps, I reached down to take a swig of HEED. %#@W, the bottle was gone again. Must've rattled out on one of the downhills. Luckily I carry my water in a Camelpack, so I wasn't completely screwed, but 28 miles (21 more) at race-pace with no fuel source could be bad.

The 2nd lap started, I caught back up with Cary, and passed him. He latched on, and despite my best efforts, I couldn't shake him. This would go on for 2 full laps and the beginning of the 4th lap. Early in the 4th lap, I could feel myself pulling on Cary again (like at Stony 2 weeks ago). He would be a little slower catching back up to me. A couple miles into the lap, and I heard a crashing noise. Believing Cary went down, I hammered away. I knew I needed to pull ahead so he couldn't draft me on the 2-track mid-lap.

For the rest of my last lap I played it conservatively, trying not to crash. I caught another rider in my class, passed him, and after a bit of a fight on his part pulled away.

Just over 2 hours after the start, I rode across the finish line broken, battered, and whupped. A short while later the results were posted, and I saw that I finished in 3rd place!

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