Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More grinding than bumping

Sorry again folks. I've just been sitting on some chairs and bike seats and enjoying my summer.
But I need to get back blogging. So, here we go: the SERC at Jackson went OK, Woodall won again while Andy and I chased him. Tash and I drove down Sunday morning and pull into the parking lot right behind Brad, my teammate from Indiana, why he comes down to race the southern GA races I have no idea but that's how he rolls. As we got registered Bruce interviewed both Tasha and me. The best part about it was that Bruce asked Tash what the best part about racing around the nation was and she answered with: "I just love looking at all the pretty rocks and trees and flowers, because that's what I studied in college." NERD!!!!!! Come on Tasha, you could have said something about like the different courses or different food or different tasting mustard or SOMETHING ELSE!!

Whatever. We did the kids race which was a lot of fun and we found out that they actually aren't that slow after all. A couple almost ran me over at the start! I've got to do some more of that, it's fun and it's a good start to my warm up.

Da race. We had a pretty good field at Dauset, about 20 guys, with some guest appearances. Mike Cummings showed up as did Todd Deprano and some Titus guys from FL. Luke took off at the start and I sat second wheel for the first half mile. It was a really long start and just before a gravel 90 degree turn into the single track Ryan Woodall comes flying by on my right with Victor Alber (remember 12 Hrs of Tsali) on his wheel. I tried to react, but I got boxed in and couldn't get out. I hit the woods fourth and the first two started opening up a gap, fast. I got around Robert Marion and tried to bridge to the tandem. I got about 10 feet away but just couldn't bring it back. On the next road section Andy and Robert passed me but I latched on the back. Robert blew big time and I had to close the gap to Andy. We chased for the rest of the lap and about in the same spot we caught Alber who had been dropped by Ryan. Andy attacked on the road and we sandwiched Victor on the decent when he crashed and double flatted.

To make a long story short, Andy and I chased for the rest of the race and never pulled any time back on Woodall. He won, Andy was about a minuet behind and I was another minuet.
I was kinda bummed but one, it's Ryan and two, that course sucked. There was really no place to put down any power and make up time because it was just tight single track, all you had to do to win was get a gap early on and keep the pressure. And that's what Woodall did. But the fun didn't stop there as I waited (as a good brother) right beside the finish line and was the first to congratulate my sister on her first Professional win. Everything was great after that except she couldn't get the top off the champagne and I ate some insanely hot hot wings at Zaxby's.

Last Sunday was one of the "classics" of southern MTB racing: Bump and Grind at Oak Mountain in AL. I had never done this race before and was stoked about riding the trails. It's a stand alone race, not associated with any series and includes a fairly big purse. Since it's a stand alone race I couldn't get into the pro class which meant that I would race Senior X. About 300 bucks went to the winner of the Senior X class. So I was basically doing this race to earn some money. Tasha would have it a little more difficult because pretty much every female pro this side of that big river would come over to race. We got there Saturday and pre rode. The course is pretty sweet with steep climbs, gradual climbs, and a super fast technical decent. Really fast too, each lap is 17 miles long and we did two laps which made it about 2:15 for me and 2:30 for Tasha.

Before hitting the single track there was a start of about a mile of "urbanized" trail. Side walks, gravel, pavement etc. At one such side walk it curved up and had a lip from the grass to the edge of the pavement. Like a half pipe. Now I had pre rode this section with no problems, but in a race you sometimes forget what you did in the pre ride. I hit the lip with my back tire doing about 30 mph right at the start of the race. It was not fun as I sat front rode to a slow-mo movie of me flipping over the bike. I slid for a couple feet and kind of rolled back on my feet. I stood up (well, figuratively-can you say "fetal position"?) and check everything out. The spectators were real helpful: somebody put my bottle back in the cage and held my bike up. I knew if I could get back on the bike adrenaline would kick in and I wouldn't be able to feel it. It worked, systems check came back good and off I went trying to catch the front of the race.

I chased and chased and finally I caught back on half way up the big climb. I was really surprised when I saw Seth and this other dude at the front of the race. Seth is freaking 15 years old and is racing against 20 year olds and was in the lead groupo! He saw me coming and put in a attack which the other guy closed but I caught his wheel and he toed me back up to Seth. As soon as we made contact I put in a dig. He blew trying to chase me and Seth dropped him and joined him.

I didn't know that I was leading so I soft pedaled the rest of the lap. We came through start and finish and I turned around and was like: "Are we leading?" And Seth's like: "I think there are two more guys up there." And Tristan then said a few choice words and started chasing. Seems like all I do these days is chase other people.

Well turns out there wasn't anybody else so I won with Seth coming in second. Andy had an OK race in the pro class, he got 5th in a stacked field. Tash had one of those days and finished 10 again in a top heavy field. Now I'm trying to heal before the GSC at Fort Mountain this week end. I rode last night (Tuesday) and my leg felt good, but my arm is pretty sore and it's hard to grip the H-bar on the real technical stuff. It should be good enough for Sunday. I just got a call from Luke Rozanski yesterday asking if he could stay at my house for the GSC. So it will be me and him as the only two from the standings at the race. Johnston has a wedding to go to, Woodall lives in FL, Robert is traveling to Park City for the NMBS and Dustin Greer lives in west TN.

So have a good summer and all that and keep listening to the radio because...
Rush Limbaugh is a real man.