5.02.2007

Race Report: Racing with the Clydesdales at the Greenbrier Challenge

this was a draft
which I decided to post anyhow
the race report is posted several post below
same story... different words



Race Report: Racing with the Clydesdales at the Greenbrier Challenge

the race approached with a heightened level of anxiety
being the first race of the season there were countless questions about the body and the bike
but... leading into the week I was feeling pretty good on the bike
felt comfortable with my riding for this early in the season
there had not been that many rides
I was satisfied with my endurance and handling in the few short rides where I tried test my legs and my lungs
but nothing tests a person's legs or lungs more than race day

the late afternoon start allowed for some time at home in the morning
my gear was packed
all I needed was for my wife lisa to sub in and take the boys while I load up my bike and drive out to western maryland
sure enough... like clockwork lisa was back from her morning brunch right on schedule

in the car pointed west I started fueling for the rest of the day
the morning included a banana and a few donuts from heller's bakery
the drive included a few slices of pepperoni pizza from vace
when I turned off interstate 17 to get onto route forty I had to stop at burger king for a whopper, some fries, and a coke... no cheese please... I am racing

pulled into Greenbrier State Park and rolled into the action
the sound from the loudspeaker carried the action of the pros race
while the parking lot had an energy all its own
I looped the parking lot once in search of the black and red of dcmtb/city bikes
saw no banner
saw no cluster of familar faces
so I looped back and took a random open space a little ways back

with time to spare I pulled the bike off the roof of the Honda Element
put on a helmet and headed down towards registration
there were all sorts of familiar faces getting ready to race
faces of people I have seen but do not know
along with a number of people whom I do know

the time passed
I suited up and did a token warm up
then lined up with the seven other clydesdales racing that day
the faces were unfamiliar other than donald of avalon cycles
the collection of riders was devoid of chris redlack

there was playful bantor between the clydesdales as we all sized up the competition
this class is easy to size up... XXL and XXXL
most every other clydesdale was on some sort of double banger
while I was on my surly karate monkey
a great bike... but hardly a race machine
the 31.5 pounds are only one factor keeping this bike from being a legit race bike

at the warning of two minutes before the start the chatter stopped
I phased out those around me
all I could hear was my heart
my breathing grew rapid
my foot that braced me in a tripod position nervously tapped the ground
blind to everything around me I took a deep breath
controled my breathing
brought my head up for the fifteen second countdown
instead of counting down I rocked back and forth in a slight motion waiting for the words to allow me to start
as it is always better once I am on the bike

leading into this event I agreed with myself that I would ride hard
but... I figured that it would be best to be rational and accept that there will be people faster than me
that I would have to race my own race

we were released with a three, two, one
maybe they said go
perhaps it was the horn of a megaphone
I can not recall
but I do remember that donald took off like a jackrabbit
with another racer by his side I used the nervous energy compounded with the can of red bull I had slammed in the parking lot to maintain
then as we rolled from the grass into the woods one of the racers made a move past donald
then as we hit the base of that first climb I made a move on donald and then the lead racer
in the middle ring I muscled that first climb
then floated down the descent and turned into the first rock garden
still riding hard
not minding pushing it above threshhold I felt the approaching cyclist
he was clearly faster in the rocks
I allowed the pass
we rolled onto some fireroad
his pace did not break
we motored down the trail
no game of cat and mouse
just me hammering the pedals within view of another guy hammering the pedals

a mixture of an increased gap and twisting trail put the leader out of my view
I continued riding hard
as riding hard felt good
there was a long marching climb that I think I should have ridden more of
I should have ridden more up the hill
and I should have gotten back on the bike sooner
but these are not the reasons that I did not catch the first place clydesdale
no
I did not catch the leading clydesdale because I was so heavy on the brakes going downhill
not snailing or snoozing
in fact I felt like I was cruising
but the hardtail needs to pick a different line and without a dependable bunny hop has to slow some for the water bars
higher speed offered double vision and an unnecessary lost of control
smart racing
no crashes...
no mechanicals...

lap one ended in a pleasantly

sorry...
an unfinished entry

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