Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I'm Back (sort of)...
My self imposed blackout has come to an end. I bailed off facebook and blogger for a while in an attempt to 'get back to my roots'. It didn't work. You can't go backwards in life, cycling or anything else for that matter. "Just stay the course and let things happen" I'm told, it is how it's supposed to be done.
After the Bearscat 50 I wasn't interested in endurance racing at all and often joked that I would specifically train for short track or super D. I was dreading the trip to Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, Often acting like a baby, kicking and screaming "I don't want to do this".
I haven't been riding my single speed much. Only like three times this year total. Once before Singlespeed-A-Palooza, once at Singlespeed-a-Palooza, two times on the road (to prepare for Lumberjack) and that's it. The rest of the time has been spent on learning to ride gears and most often a full suspension 26er. With this in mind how could I expect to do well at a 100 mile mountain bike race on a single speed against the top guys in the country. Delusional? You can't!!!
I lined up in the third row, knowing I would get swamped before the single track and totally accepting of that fact. While we were staging, Matt Ferrari turned around to scan the crowd, asked me how I was feeling today? As I secretly wished I was invisible I replied "we'll see". Cyclingnews made my presence known to the world a few days earlier and little did they all know I was about to implode. Or at least I thought. I spent the first part of lap one riding behind Amanda Carey and Cheryl Sorenson until I could get on some really good wheels going down one of the very few road sections. We were flying, picking off groups of riders ten at a time on the road and a few more in the single track. At about a hour and a half I felt the pace of my mini group slowing so I decided to set out on my own. It wasn't a attack or anything, just me getting to the front and looking at clean trail for the first time of the day. Fellow single speeder Ron Sanborn, was in my group and looked like he was interested in riding with me (dangling about 50 yards back for quite a while) but I was in the groove and working on pulling back the Pflug train that included super strong Matt Ferrari and up and coming star Jorden Wakely . I chased for what seemed like for ever, asking gearies "did you see any single speeders? "Oh, they're way ahead" I would hear this often, and it was somewhat demoralizing at times. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of quiting at least once. Shortly after entering the final lap I caught a glimpse of a figure up ahead, this gave me a adrenalin boost. It was Jorden, Matt wasn't far ahead of him and the sight of another SS'er had me all 'full of piss and vinegar'. In the next half hour I pulled back the entire SS field. I felt great, I was gonna win....Then the cramps came. Maybe it was the 34x16 gear I choose or my lack of single speediness of late that had me cramping, at this point it didn't matter.
I did my best to stay with Gerry Pflug but in the end I couldn't muster the final push to win the race against the two time NUE series champ. 13 seconds was the final gap, so small a gap but yet so far. THIRTEEN seconds after a hundred friggin miles...WOW!!!