This post will be short and sweat, as Wednesday is almost over, and another week of work has sucked the life out of me.
If you recall my last blog post, I was sick the previous weekend at Mud, Sweat, and Beers. I was feeling so poor that I actually went to the doctor AND took a sick day. There was only 45 minutes of riding on Thursday, just to make sure that my legs remembered what to do.
Last weekend was the Brighton Stage Race, the second of the Tailwind Series. The organizers apparently abandoned the computer check-in system, and reverted back to the standard paper trail. [Note: Even if they return to the computerized system, you will still be required to fill out a waiver sheet for each and every race.]
The weather on Saturday wasn't looking great. I think the temperatures were in the mid-50's, with a chance of rain. Fortunately the rain held off until after the races, but the temperature remained "crisp."
I have never ridden any of the trails at the Brighton Recreation area, so I would be flying blind all weekend. First up was the time trial race on Torn Shirt. I don't recall much of this race. It was your standard TT. I do recall not having my climbing legs, and a couple of the rooty climbs I could usually power up forced me to get off the bike. The course was fun, very technical, as in no real opportunities to take a drink. Fortunately is was only 1 lap and ~30 minutes of riding. I ended up finishing third in this race. That wasn't too bad based on the fact I was still somewhat sck (and on antibiotics) plus riding an unfamiliar course. I was 2 minutes behind Gus (My teamate that beat me at the PLRA TT), and 30 seconds off second. I was not real concerned at this point.
Second up was the Short Track race, which was 5 laps on a twisty grass course across the road. During my down time between races I took the opportunity to swap cogs and add a tooth to the rear. I thought since I felt lacking in power earlier, plus the slow and go nature of the course, it would be better. We lined up and got the "go" and the race was on. I stumbled on my clip-in and fell back quite a few places early on. I pushed the pace and caught the group of 3 other SSers, and another way ahead. However, only Gus and I were in the same category, so I sat on their wheels for a couple laps. On lap 3 I got tired of following, so I mad the pass and actually pulled a slight gap. I rode in front of the trio for laps 3 and 4, with the 2 non-category racers passing me early on lap 5. I tried to hang with them when I could, but they pulled a slight gap (~1 second at the finsih) on my, but Gus remained behind. I ended up first in this race, and made up about 15 seconds on Gus. That really did not matter, since he was not returning for the second day.
Day 2, race 3. I got up in the morning to 40 degree temps and rain. This was not a good day to be racing sick. Who am I kidding, this was not a good day to be racing, this was not a good day to be outside. We got to the trail after the expert riders had already started. Still raining, you could hear them come by with their drivetrains grinding and rubbing of brakes. Many were dropping out due to mechanicals, or just had enough of the mud. Their race was shortened from 5 to 4 laps, but at that point, it didn't matter too much.
As my start time approached, I decided I would rather be warm and dry instead of attempting a "Warm-up" that I know wouldn't work. I headed to the cover of the pavilion to huddle with the other racers, and listen to race announcements. Our race was scheduled for 3 laps (~20 miles) but there was a debate about making it 1 or 2. It was decided to make it 2 laps, as the TT was already yesterday. However those completing one lap would still be considered "finishing" and would not get a DNF.
We lined up in the rain, all 4 of the singlespeeders in the front. We took off with me, 2 other SSers and a geared fellow in the lead pack. Immediately after heading for the trail there was a giant puddle. So the race lasted about 30 seconds before every rider was completely soaked. I passed the gearie and dropped one other SSer, so it was my and the other guy in the lead. However, his limitation would become apparent quickly. He was running semi-slick tires on a muddy, water-logged course. I stuck to his wheel until the first slick climb, he had to dismount, and I churned on. I led most of the remainder of the lap. Near the end a geared bike caught me, and I let him by, only finding out he was geared after the pass. He was MUCH more aggressive on the course than I was. Riding Racing Ralphs, my goal was to stay upright the entire course. The trail was 80% riding in standing water, 15% riding in flowing water, and 5% riding in mud.
I finished my 2 laps, and felt like I could have gone another. This is most likely due to the fact I was not riding hard. I got back to the truck, stripped off my soaked and muddy clothes in the parking lot, and jumped inside to try to both dry off and warm up. The awards were non-eventful. There was no podium, those that hung around got handed their medals and got a hand shake.
Back at home I had to hose off all my clothes, gear and bike. I still have not checked to see if I have any pads left. I am just glad to have a couple weekends off from racing. I will take this time to rest, recover, and repair.
Next up is Hanson Hills!