Things have been a bit disorderly for me lately. Ever since I returned from Rouge Roubaix, I've been sick, unmotivated to train, or too busy to get any consistent riding in. I've gained a little too much weight for my liking and feel really out of shape. The plan for this past week was a backpacking trip on the Art Loeb Trail with Alex for spring break. However, he hurt his foot so that was off. I had the time off, so I rode. Brad and I went to FATS in Augusta on Thursday for a great ride and great ammounts of pollen. Yellow dirt. Yellow sweat. Yellow clouds blowing in the wind. Great trails and a hard ride down, we headed home. Friday I drove to Asheville, hung out at Cane Creek all afternoon ( and put a suspension fork on the Air 9), made ride arrangements for Saturday, and got in a good road ride with Robert. After a terrific dinner at Apollo Flame I hit the sack and slept like a rock.
Saturday morning I woke up, showered, and headed up to Mr. Petes to meet the guys. Gary and his Friend, Paul, Jeremy, and some industry guys were there so we rolled out. N. Mills was the destination and we were soon there. A bit of Darwinism shed the WTB guy as he followed the wrong car to Brevard instead. The second industry guy was shed after 5 minutes and a stick in the derailleur on Laurel Mtn. With the baggage gone we rolled out for 4 hrs or so. The bike was working great, I had good legs, and we were ripping the downhills following Paul on the Niner WFO. Good stuff. Got back to Robert's, napped, we ate Mexican, messed around with motorcycles, and hit the sack.
On the schedule for Sunday was the SERC xc race at Tsali. This one I was dreading. It's been awhile since I raced an XC and my current state of fitness had me hoping for a ride slightly north of embarrassing. Anyways- after arriving, I parked, grabbed my bag and rode off to find the team trailer. Hung out with Bill a bit, registered, and got ready to race. Feeling optimistic after a good warm up I headed to the start line. Or the back row of the start line. Guess I rolled up a little late. There were 30 or so in the Pro class and I had the back row all to myself. Great way to start the race. The gun finally goes off and we drill it to the singletrack. I pass a few guys and have to back off and try to get into a rythm. Before I know it the first 18 mile lap is over and I'm over halfway done with the second lap. When you are use to racing 12 hr races, I guess a 2hr XC race goes quick! I had steadily been passing guys here and there and the finish came quick- ended up 19th. The legs felt tired but not a whole lot different than when I started. I actually felt pretty fresh after the race. I could get use to this again- I don't feel like a car crash victim like I normally do after a race.
Anyways- I'm relieved to have gotten that over with. Now I know what I need to do to get back to XC racing. After 24 Hrs. of Big Bear was cancelled, my whole program has changed. Building for that all winter has left me with a ton of endurance and muscular strength, but nooooo speed. I have to get that going, it takes me about a week to accelerate out of a corner! Give me a month- speed comes quick.
I did find out that the Left loop at Tsali has more sapling pine trees growing/ crowding the trail than any other spot on the planet. I didn't pay attention during the race, but when I showered afterward I found that I was covered with scratches on my arms and legs. Just an observation.
Off to ride now- have to keep the momentum going! DH