Trying to catch back up with the race reports, but due to work, and vacation I am still behind. Even after stealing the Pongo Rantz on the Tree Farm Relay, I am still behind.
On August 7th was another Tailwind event, the Big M. I have never ridden this course, so I thought it would be fun to do, plus I already paid for it. Instead of driving all day, we headed up to Manistee on the Saturday before. We spent the day hitting the beach and wandering around the 1st annual Smoked Fish Cookoff.
Sunday afternoon came (I think it was a 1 pm start) and I wasn't really sure how I was feeling. The course was dry, but rain was forecast.
I tried to do some warming up, but wasn't feeling great. My training hasn't been going well, and in all honesty was non-existant (and still is). Since Boyne Mountain, I have ~12 hours of saddle time, all of it racing. So going in to this race, I was feeling slow, and heavy.
In the mean time, as I prepare to start, I started to get all OCD about me equipment. I didn't like the way me shoes were feeling, I adjusted my socks numerous times, moved, removed, and fiddled with my helmet and glasses. I just couldn't get things to fit!
Lining up for the start, I became more relaxed, as there were 3 singlespeeders, including myself. We were doing 3 laps, so I figured I would try to sit on the wheel of the leader, and see what happens later in the race. We took off first (of the 1:00 pm group) and one guy shot out of the gates pretty quick, much faster than I had expected. I sped up and grabbed his whell, and noticed the other rider was already out of sight behind.
I soft pedaled behind the leader for the first 2 miles, when the trail made the first turn uphill. The leader began to noticeably slow, and I was cruising behind. This is when a train of about 6 geared riders came through. I jumped on the end of the train, and finished "2 mile climb" at which point the other SS guy was out of sight as well.
The train of geared guys began to spread out, and I made a pass of #'s 5 and 6 on another climb on the first lap. I finished the first lap feeling decent, but knowing I was not in top form. Early in the second lap #4 fell back, and #3 said "They are dropping us, we need to make a move soon or else we will end up on an island" to which I responded "I am not racing in that category, but if you want' I will jump up front and pull them back" and #3 let me by.
I began to pull, first up 2-mile hill and the flat shortly after I could see the 2 leaders. I was pushing hard and closing the gap quickly. #3 fell off a bit, but once I caught the leaders, he jumped on quickly.
However, this is where my lack of training became apparent. I went too far into the red, and was out of gas. I slowly fell off the group of leaders. I finished the second lap and began to cruise the final lap. I got passed by a couple/few more geared riders, but still no sign of the one-gear folks.
Third lap ended with nothing else interesting happening. I casually pedaled up the finish chute, won the race, and pretty much clinched the Tailwind series.
It wasn't a pretty race. I was able to test myself with a hard push, and was able to continue after "blowing up," but it really brought up the fact that form has slipped and I had fallen off the wagon.