After punishing myself on the StarCrossed course Saturday afternoon it was time to drag my ass out of bed and do it all over again, and by again I mean racing on the exact same course. StarCrossed and the Rapha-Focus GP shared the same venue. We had a fast, dry course for the Saturday race but to mix things up a bit the promoters ordered up a big 'ol bucket of wet for Sunday's version. It started raining hard at about 8:00pm Saturday night and did not let up until early Sunday morning. By the time I had arrived at the park it had mellowed to that typical PNW precipitation that we all know and love, the famous drizzle that our out of town visitors see out the window and then ask if they can barrow a Gortex jacket and an Umbrella. We step outside, peruse the situation and then give our guest that "Are you serious?" look. We grab our to-go cup of coffee, and head to the car with nothing more than a fleece jacket. They follow, arms crossed, telling us how crazy we and that they are going to catch a nasty cold followed by pneumonia from standing out this deluge all day.......I digress. Because of the rain I saw the course crew trying to get carpet down on the Fly-Over to give it more traction. By the time my race started it was still not ready and the course was altered to avoid it. I was hoping we could still use the Fly-Over but somehow avoid running on that frickin' beach......again!
Just like Saturday my field was jam packed with strong riders from all over the NW and beyond. It was setup to be a another great race. I had already ridden the course about five times during the Jonathan Page clinic on Friday, pre-rode it again before StarCrossed and then six laps of suffering during the race. I decided NOT to pre-ride the course again. I figured that the hard rain and the beat down from two earlier races would transform the course into a muddier, slicker version of its former self. I took a couple of laps around the grass infield by the parking lot and set my tire pressure accordingly.....I thought.
I entered the infield sitting about 5th wheel. I soon realized that I was slightly under inflated. The course had actually held up and it was only slick in a few places. My rear tire was folding slightly on the wide, fast corners. I soon found myself right on Rocky's(W.A.R) wheel and settled in. I was feeling a little sluggish but not too bad. When we reached the beach for the first time we were pretty stacked up. I tried to ride the first section but had to dismount because of the traffic jam in front of me. Great, now I had to run both sections! I hate running!! Robert T., Rocky and Mark S.(Team Type 1) seemed to be floating on the sand and got a gap on us by the end of the second sand section. No big deal. There was still plenty of racing left. I just paced myself and slowly moved back up.
Mistake #2: After the sand there was a few turns in the woods that led us to a short paved section where you can hammer it hard to get past slower riders. Before you know it the pavement ends and you had to check up fast and negotiate a right hand transition onto muddy grass followed by an even tighter, slightly off camber left hander. I had warned a few guys that didn't race the day before about this particular part of the course. On Saturday I saw several guys come in too hot and over run the turn and blast through the course tape when it was completely dry. I was driving hard to get past three slower riders and came in way too hot. I tried to check up but......both wheels went out from under me and I went down hard, taking out one of the course poles. As I slid off the course I got rapped up in the course tape....Yeah, that was me. It was a mess. I pride myself on being a pretty good bike handler. This was a total dork move. It seemed to take forever to get untangled and back on my bike. I lost at least six spots by the time I remounted. Cal(Motofish) was one of the riders that blew by me. I was able to get back up to speed and on his wheel. There was still plenty of time to make up ground. The only problem was that no one was slowing down to let me catch up...."Common guys!!"