I think after every race this year I've threatened to cut my RFID tag off my helmet and call it a year. I'd take a couple of weeks of and then start training for the 2013 road season. Yeah, that's what I'll do. So, I...........cleaned up my bikes and headed to Steilacoom.
Like I said before, I really love racing here and have always done well.......except for earlier this year when I had to drop out after a mechanical only two minutes into the race.
The course is usually a mirror image of the first race. After pre-riding the course I found out that wasn't the case. The monster run up from yeas past was thrown back in which made the upper part of the course different. It still looked to be a great course with a little fast sections, tight turns and mud. It looked like Tyler was going to race with us once again!!
I'm getting use to starting in the back row this year but managed to get a really good start and ended up right near the front when we entered the course. Things were going great. As we neared the base of the run up we were in a big tight group. We rounded the last corner before we dismounted and two guys directly in front of me locked handlebars and had to dismount to get untangled. There was no place for me to go so I had to wait for them to get separated. We didn't lose that much time but enough that there was a good separation from four guys in front. I set my bike down and remounted and got ready for the first climb. I got up the hill fast and got separation from the on my wheel caught a few guys in front of me. I took the downhill section faster than I normally would to try to make up more time. All was good. I wound my way through the bottom of the course and back to the start line. One lap down....nine to go??
I caught another rider at the base of the run-up but couldn't get buy him. I settled in and was able to get by at the base of the first climb. All of a sudden (You guys are use to hearing that from me this year) it felt like I was pedaling in cement. WTF!! I kept pedaling while trying to figure out what was wrong. Everything looked fine....and then I noticed the problem. My rear wheel was pegged against the right side of my seat stay. I quickly jumped off the bike and checked it out. I soon realized that my skewer was f'ing busted. I pulled out out while watching everyone pass me by. Well, time to start my weekly run to the pits. There was nothing else I could do. I started to pick up my bike when what should I see before me? The skewer nut. I wasn't even going to try to look for it but there it was right in front of me. I tried to thread it back on but was having no luck. I looked at it and saw that the end of the skewer was broken off in the nut. There was just enough sticking out that maybe I could get it out. I took off a glove and it ended up coming out quite easily. I got it threaded back onto the skewer but was worked there wouldn't be enough to get the wheel back on the bike. I cranked it as hard a I could and somehow managed to clamp it down. I was sure it wouldn't hold but at least it wasn't the front wheel! It seemed like it took ten minutes to fix but it actually took less than a minute. That is a minute that I would never make up so I was now just racing for myself.
I took off hard and I think the adrenalin was really flowing through my veins. I started picking of guys right away. After I passed five or six guys I found myself in "No Man's Land" with no one in front or behind me. I settled in and focused on working on my skills while still riding hard. I did take it easy on the downhill section and was constantly looking back at my skewer to see if it was still clamped on. Other than that it was business as usual. In the next couple of laps I managed to catch a few guys from the 35+ field but never closed in on anyone else in my field. I finished strong and ended up finishing mid pack and was a little frustrated having yet another mechanical but mostly happy with the way I raced. Nikos had another strong showing and finished third!
hanging on by just a couple of threads. Wait, why didn't I stop and grab my back up bike in the pits???? I guess I didn't want to break two bikes in one day.