I thought the title was fitting, since I am not asleep, and the passing of MCA this week. [Aside: In elementary school, we lip synched this song in music class for some reason. That is lip-synching for some reason, the song was an obvious choice, since Licensed to Ill was recently released]
So, what do you do if you are at work at nearly 6 in the morning, and you have been there since 2 O'clock the previous afternoon? Why, update your blog of course!
So, I could make this a Two-fer post, as this weekend I did back-to-back races. However, I will separate them so it is easier for me to be lazy on my Metal blog.
Saturday was Mud, Sweat and Beers. Last year was an off year, and since I was coming of a crappy weekend, I vowed to not let it happen again.
We drove up to Travers City the morning before the race. Taking the whole day off made the 3 hour drive home the following afternoon more tolerable. Upon our arrival in Cherry-ville, we attempted to check into our hotel, but the room wasn't ready. (There mush have been a sell-out gathering the Thursday before?), so we the North Peak for some lunch. After that we had some more time to kill.
So I figured, what would be a bigger waste of time than to go visit my old pal Super Dave. What could be more exciting than to spend a vacation day watching somebody else work. It wasn't a complete waste of time, as I was informed by an employee that "Lansing is a really cool place," a statement which befuddles me to this day!
Wait, where was I, oh yeah, the race. I vowed it would not be a poor showing. I really wanted that podium, and big 'ol beer mug. We got to Mt. Holiday early enough we didn't have to park at the top of the hill, but no so early I needed a nap.
I wanted to stay with the lead group (or try to) so after a decent warm-up, I got staged for the start. I was in the second row, far right side. Right behind a row of Expert ladies, seemed safe enough. But things aren't always what the seem. Right at the start one rider in the front row must have missed a clip or something, and kicked their bike 45 degrees and stood there. So, as the cattle flowed around the stopped rider, I jumped on the gas to try to make up some places. One method was to go to the inside of the first turn. Apparently a bit too far as my bar clipped one of those orange fiberglass to mark ski courses. Suffice to say, those are a lot sturdier than they seem.
Back on course, finally leaving the ski area, I tried to settle into a groove and make my way forward. However, at the fist semblance of a hill, the singlespeed was again brought to a halt. This time by a rider that decided to dismount and walk in the middle of the trail, and obviously felt that everybody behind him should do the same.
Finally, up Heart Attack Hill (or whatever the new name is) and through the subdivision. I was spinning away on the pavement, when a couple geared riders came by and told me to jump on. So I did, and picked up some much needed speed on the pavement. Just before the left turn onto the private singletrack there was another climb, so I pulled away from my temporary train.
I spent the next ~9 miles working as hard as I could. The trail was narrow at times, but I tried to make up ground whenever I could. I knew they too out the wall (and Jack Pines) but I wasn't really familiar enough to really know where to find it. At one point I was hammering down a wide trail, nobody in sight ahead or behind. I was slightly concerned with the lack of markings, but the tire tracks and guy cramping reassured me I was on the right path. Then I come around a sweeper and see 5 riders coming towards me. Shit, how did I get turned around?
As it turns out, they too missed the turn, and were notified by a trail marshal of such where the trails met again. He told them the must turn around (which is too bad, because I think dealing with The Wall was more work than the new singletrack). Apparently one of the earlier waves tore through the tape across the trail, and I missed the little arrow up a tree. However, with this group was a singlespeeder in a skinsuit. That is like a double helping of "Fast Guy" so I jumped on his wheel.
This guy was hammering to make up time, and I was following, trying to pass when I could, or at least taking a pull. It was a lot of work passing many of the people that I had already passed. It was quite the feeling of Deja Vu. When the opportunity to talk arose, the rider (Jacob) informed he was in 3rd when he missed the turn. We had no idea where we were now, but we were making up time fast.
Through Timber Ridge we caught the eventual Women's winner, and I was holding onto hope that we could pull off something awesome. Jake gapped me once we got back into the subdivision (must be the skin suit) and I worked to track to catch back as we entered back into the ski area. It ended up being a lost cause, as I splashed though the puddle and finished a scant 4 seconds behind.
I was pretty upset, and frustrated. I guess I should have paid closer attention to the markers. If I had made that turn, I would have been on the podium, and met my goal. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I rode a 4th place race. I was in 4th before I missed the turn, and had I made it I would have beaten Jacob, buy not because I was faster, but because I was lucky. I probably would not have caught him alone, so he was rightfully third, and I was a solid 4th. Maybe the time gap to the top two riders would have been smaller, but at that point, would it really matter?
Sunday would be a new day, a new race, and a new opportunity. Move on!