After a 3 year hiatus from Mountain Bike racing (ok, I sort of did one in 2010 in Israel) I determined that it was time to return to my roots and get my RAD on at the Weeping Willow last weekend.
I registered for the Expert Race because it was an EFTA race and I could pick my own category, because as I was informed by Internet Colin that I would be sandbagging if I raced Sport and I hate sandbaggers so I wanted to avoid being a hypocrite.
Anyhow, I got to the race and pestered Lauren about how to race Mountain bikes and I got my "there are too many categories" speech out of the way before registration and then got ready to race.
I asked Coach Colin for tire pressure advice because this was my second ride ever on Tubeless tires and I didn't want to screw it up, so on his advice I put 20psi in both front and rear.
Then I warmed up, lined up and waited at the start line fore 15 minutes for the bicycle race to start. I was staged with 3 Expert Juniors ages 12-18 and the 6 other dudes in the Expert 19-29 race, we were behind the Singlespeed race (remember that) and the Expert 30-39 race was behind us.
So, the race gets going and I make a point NOT to win the holeshot and I hang out in 3rd or 4th wheel until the first single track section, which is when we start passing single speed racers. A few minutes later I get gapped by the leading trio of riders and I get stuck behind a train of singlespeed guys, I get around them and start clawing my way back to the front only to have a singlespeed guy go down in front of me on a tight, off camber turn, so I slam on the brake and BURP, I lose a bunch of air from my front tire. CRAP.
Radness! Photo: Toro Loco
Now it is time to frantically pump it back up to 20psi while the rest of my field, some single speeders and the front of the expert 30-39 race blows by, which means I know I've lost two minutes, super. I finally get going and channel my Grumpy Man Power (GMP) and drill it back through many of the singlespeed guys to find another couple guys from my race. I pass them both and after lap 1 I think I'm in 3rd place again.
GMP! Photo: Toro Loco
Things were going well, I was finally all alone on the course and I had two guys from my race in pursuit, when I burped my front tire again on a different off camber midway through the second lap. CRAPTASTIC! I pump up the tire to 35 psi this time and watch two guys from my race cruise by me and I get going again, hold off the 6th place dude and roll in for 5th place.
I was a little annoyed by my double tire burp and having to ride through most of the back end of the singlespeed open race. But hey, Mountain Bike racing is fun! So, who cares? I'll be back for more in 2011.