I’ve procrastinated to the fullest on writing this report,
but since it’s the day before the NEXT World Cup Race but since it’s almost been 2 weeks, I guess I should get it over with :).
The night before the race, the skies opened and released an impressive amount of rain. It rained pretty much throughout the night, but when we woke up it had stopped and it looked like things were starting to dry out. The rain was a concern because I had ridden the course in very dry conditions. I had mentally committed myself to my race tires and line choices according to those conditions. I told myself things were drying out and went about my pre-race routine. This routine generally consists of coffee, first breakfast, stretching, second breakfast, last minute bike prep, more coffee, chamois time, 3rd and final breakfast. About an hour before the race I headed out on my bike. I dropped off some bottles with the Subaru Trek guys who had graciously offered to feed me during the race. I got my timing chip and mounted it onto my fork. Then I went out to warm up. I found some nice roads to get some efforts in and then slowly made my way back to the start waiting for the call-ups. This is when it started to rain again…I got my 4th from last call-up and as I’m waiting at the start line I’m watching as literally every single tech-support person seems to be swapping tires out on either race wheels or pit wheels (wasn’t sure). Huh, interesting. I didn’t have another tire or wheel option so would be racing on the newly wet trail conditions with what I had.
The gun went off and we all surged forward. I had picked a good starting spot and was able to move up along the outside of the group. By the time we hit the first single track I was solidly in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, I was sliding all over the place and combined with trail traffic, I wasn’t able to hold the best lines and ended up running. This was the theme the whole first lap. I tried not to get frustrated, but couldn’t help but be a little discouraged by how much running I was having to do. The second half of the lap went a little better as traffic had cleared. I focused on riding what I could and being quick about those sections that I had to run. I felt like I was still having to run more than I should have been…i just couldn’t seem to get traction. Either the tires weren’t ideal or my skills at riding slippery terrain aren’t what they should be. For now, I’m blaming the tires (obviously). I was just starting to feel a bit more confident and get into the groove heading down the Beatrice descent, when for whatever reason, my front wheel twisted out in front of me and I hit the deck pretty hard. I definitely had the air knocked out of me and had to take a second to take inventory of what I hit and whether I could still move everything. I seemed pretty much ok so jumped back on the bike, determined to finish the race. Unfortunately, whatever confidence I had mustered up had been shook loose with my crash, so I was back to riding everything very timidly. As I was heading out for my third lap, I could tell that I was likely going to get pulled the next time thru based on how far behind the leaders I was. And, I was right-at the end of the third lap they motioned me off the course. My race was done. At the time I wasn’t too disappointed to get pulled. My hip was hurting, I was frustrated with my riding, and I was ready to be done. Turns out I got a nice muscle hematoma to my oblique abdomen. Not sure if you can tell from this picture, but I got a nice softball sized lump above my right hip. I assure you, I normally have a perfectly flat and defined six pack. So obviously there’s some swelling going on here.
Anyway, I was super happy to finish the race and all things considered, I was happy to walk away relatively unscathed. I was really hoping that Windham would be a better performance. But, before that, Jill and I were going to take a detour to East Burke, Vermont, where reportedly there were 100’s of miles of sweet singletrack called the Kingdom Trails.