Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 MFG#3 - StarCrossed

So far I've raced three times this year and have only finished on my main bike once.   I've been going full boar since the end of March and I think I'm just a little burned out.  I really didn't feel like racing and felt I needed a break.  I told my friend Chris that I was going to skip the next race until he reminded me it was StarCrossed.  It wasn't going to be a big stop for the pros this year but I was sure the crowds would be big so.......

Once again the weather was killer and I was pretty stoked to get to race in main event under the lights.  I rolled the RV into the lot early and hooked up with my buddy Chris from Audi.  Only wave had gone off so far and it was already getting dusty.  The lack of rain has pretty much made every race so far this year one big dust bowl.  This looked like it was going to get even worse since there was absolutely no wind blowing.  The race directly might have to think about letting a canary go pretty soon and see what happens.

I got a couple of laps in and really liked the course.  It was going to be another flat, power course that should be good for me.  The only problem is that after my misfortunes over first four races I'd completely lost my mojo.  Even while warming up I was taking corners way to slow and could tell my head wasn't right.  I tried to not care but it was starting to consume me.  Anyway....

After breaking bike parts in the first two MFG races I was getting used to starting in the back. We lined up and my nerves were really messed up.  When we started I was able to sprint to up to the front of the grouped but eased up for some reason.  I entered the course sitting about 10th.  I just focused on riding a clean race and after the first lap all was good.  I'd made no mistakes and was still in striking distance.  Somewhere during the second lap about six guys in the front took off. I felt good but I was in a spot where I couldn't pass.  Instead of forcing the issue I just sat in and watched as the six got a small gap.  I was going to try to make it up when got to the next open area.  For some reason I just sat there in the middle of this second group and did nothing.  I've never raced like this before but I just had no confidence. 

I had no problem hanging with these guys and but it was driving me crazy that I'd resolved to just sit in.  Pretty soon I looked back and we'd got a gap on the rest of the field.  The leaders were out of site now and I just wanted to keep riding clean and finish the race without breaking anything. 

The crowd was amazing and I kept hearing my name yelled, both with encouragements and harassment.  By now the dust was so bad that I was starting to know what it was like to be a coal minor.  It was hard to breath cleanly but I didn't let it bother me since I knew everyone else had to deal with the same thing. 

We were just over half way through the 60 minutes of racing when bad fortune showed it's ugly face to me once again.  There was one section on the course near the pits that had no light and with the dust it was really hard to see.  I don't know where she came from but from out of nowhere a spectator found her way in my path.  I didn't even have time to hit the brakes and BAM!!  I hit her square and was sent over the bars.  It took me a couple of seconds to figure out what was going on and where my bike was.  As I picked up my bike she was still on her knees looking at the ground.  I was pissed and even though I wanted to see if she was OK I jumped back on the bike and started riding.  I was in a daze and even though I felt like I was riding hard I got passed by one guy, then another, and finally two more.  It took a full lap before I actually snapped out of it and started racing again.  

Three laps to go and noticed that I was feeling good again and started to pick up the pace.  I was actually riding better than I had before the crash.  I did take it a little slower every time I reached the spot where I crashed but other than that I finished of strong and even though I was nowhere near the leaders I was actually happy when I crossed the line.  I was even more happy to find out that my teammate Nikos won!

After the race I found out that a few others, including my friend Joe had crossed paths with spectators during their races.  WTF!!  It was probably the worst crash I'd had since I started racing cross but ironically my body and bike came out of it OK.  It would be the first time this year that I didn't have to visit the shop to get my rig repaired.  That's a plus, right?

I've had it pretty easy over the last couple of years while racing cross.  I've had a lot of wins and tons of top 5 finishes.  I don't think I had a single mechanical issue last year during a race.  Yeah, I've had more than my share this year so far but even if I would have had a clean race at StarCrossed I don't think I would have been able to hang the whole race with the guys like like Nikos, Matt, the Jeffs, Todd and Chris.  I'm going to have to work harder and hone my skills if I'm going to compete at the 1/2 level.

After the race I decided that I  need to take a break (at least for a week) from racing.  I've been going full speed since March with really no break and I think I'm a little burned out.

 We'll see how I feel after that.  Time to hit the beer garden to hang with friends and watch the singlespeed shootout.

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