By the time I got to the race, Randy and BradBob had already raced their first race. We ran into them in the parking lot on the way to the registration table and Randy warned us that the course was very rough and recommended letting some air out of tires to ease the jarring terrain.
We watched the next race start while Randy and BradBob pointed out some of the points on the course to watch out for. There where three sets of barriers. One set of two high barriers at the end of a straight away, another set of two high barriers directly after a hairpin turn on the other side of the course. And finally a set of three small 6 inch barriers that where jump-able if you had the speed. The course weaved back and forth with several tight turns, and turns that I originally thought would be no big deal. Other features of the course were a parallelogram of death. Instead of being a spiral, this thing had some tight corners to maneuver around, and then spit you out onto one of the two straight-aways that were not up hill. The other downhill straight-away was on loose dirt with a sharp hairpin turn at the end preventing you from wanting to pick up much speed.
Emma and I hung out with the Jeff and Amy from Renaissance and watched Randy and BradBob’s Masters 35+ Cat4 race from in front of the parallelogram of death. Randy killed it, finishing first. From where we were sitting, it didn’t look like he had any problems with any section of the course. BrabBob had some problems with his chain and finished 11th.
Women’s race was up next, so we were getting Emma ready to race, and first thing we notice is she has a flat tire. Sure enough, we went to the cross races without a spare tube or tire levers. We managed to round up a tube and levers from some other racers and quickly changed the tire so she could race. I don’t know if she had enough time to get a practice lap in though. She did good in her first race in two years, and it being only her second race ever. She finished with a flat tire (rode it right over the finish line with maybe 10lbs of air) in 17th place.
I raced single speed, which was the last race of the day. My plan was to race into the larger curves and pedal right on through picking up speed. That didn’t work out too well for me, with the combination of low tire pressure, loose dirt, and dry grass it was very difficult for me to keep my wheels underneath me. On two occasions I found myself somersaulting through the corner. I did manage to keep my bike in my hand, so it was pretty easy to get going again. On my second wipe out, I was kinda glad I crashed, because I wasn’t paying attention to the course and would have run right into the largest barriers. After spilling the corners a few times I decided to take it a little more cautious through the rest. I couldn’t get enough speed coming up to the small barriers to bunny hop them like some of the racers, but I was able to wheelie over the top and bounce the back over them on a few laps, although most of the time it was just faster to run them, especially if there was anyone else going over them at the same time.
With it being as warm and dry as it was, the dust was pretty bad and my mouth dried up and became lined with dust pretty quickly. So on one of the laps when I rode through the feed area, Jeff from Renaissance handed me up a bottle of water, which I promptly choked on as I tried to turn into the parallelogram. I thought I was going to have to get off the bike and puke for the next third of that lap. I did manage to finish in 15th place, and Emma met me at the finish line with a cold beer ready for my drinking pleasure.
On a side note, I am not too fond of having my race as the last race. I hardly have enough time to drink my post race beers before every one starts tearing down and heading home.