Has it really been a year since the great wheelie incident?! How time flies...
So this past weekend was the KC Cup CX and MTB event held at Swope Park. This is the event where in '09 my mad bike handling skills outweighed my better judgement to the tune of a wheelie and 2nd place is better than a win...Is it? No...but it still makes me laugh when I think about it!!
Moving on...This year I decide to race in the masters category for a few reasons. I'm 40 now so why not, the cat 3 race was at 2pm and the masters race was at 11am...oh yeah, there was a mtb race the next day at Swope that I was planning on doing, weather permitting...so early race means more time to recover...
I wake up on Saturday morning and start the race day ritual...Start with a French press to get whacked out on the goofballs!! Next, when I finally feel coherent enough to function...CRANK THE METAL and watch the neighbors yard die, get my stuff loaded and head out. Which for some strange reason, this time, I left right on time...woohoooooo!!!
I get to the venue, and with the lessons I learned last year planted firmly in the front row of my thoughts, I grab my bike and ride the never ending road that I ran last year to sign up...Look at the big brain on me!!
I'm signed up, number is pinned, it's time to warm up with...a wheelie!!! Most people don't care about that stuff, but when I ride a good one, deep down inside they're sayin...god I hope he doesn't beat me!!! HA!!! MAD MUTHA EFF'N SKILLS.
Anyway...I rode the course the day before for about 30 minutes and then headed to the woods to inspect the MTB race course...which by the way would've been really fast and fun...but that whore, Mutha Nature, decided that a dry race 2 days in a row was waaaaaaaaaay too much to ask for...so it HURRICANED, and I didn't race...bitch!!
Sorry...bit of a rant there...onward!! So the rules for CX have changed, and I'm not sure about the barriers, but the barriers that were on this course were 2 x 10's...I think. There were 3 of them space far enough apart that if your skills were up to it you could ride over them as opposed to running them. Riding was faster. Also this particular course had a ton of singletrack incorporated into it which I thought was SWEEEEET!!!
Sufficiently warmed up, this HOT girl asks me to pin her number on...I say HELL YEAH, it's about 20 minutes til the start, no worries!! All done there, I decide to ride a little more, and as I take off I check the time and it's 10 til...damn, better head to the start.
Of course everybody and their mommas are already lined up, I'm thinkin great!! Starting D.F.L.!!! This ought ta be fun...as I walk by I'm asking where's the 40+?? No answer, oh well I can pass these chumps in the turns, no worries!! The official comes down and says "I need the 30+ followed by the 40+" and so on...WOOHOOOO!!! Not starting D.F.L.!!!
The age groups are sent off in waves with 30 second intervals between. 40+ is the second group. GO!! Me and the Truth are in a fight with a bunch of CX bike riding Nancys!! I'm thinkin I'm gonna get my ass handed to me, as my experience with masters races has been brutal!! It usually consists of the really fast guys using this race as a warm-up for their respective main event.
We drag race for an eternity up a paved hill which flattens out for about 100 yards leading into the first turn. At this point I'm sitting about 12th, no worries I'm on the Truth and I start taking tight inside lines that the CX bikes with super stubby knob tires can't get enough grip to rail these lines and ride a wide arc through the turns.
I start passing riders with ease...I made some sweeeeet passes, inside lines, outside lines...I sliced right up the middle of a group of 4 riders through a chicane and every pass was clean!!! It' makes me giddy...teeheee!!!!!
At this point I'm headed onto the paved section of this track which I thought for sure I was going to go straight back to where I started...fortunately when I built the Truth I spec'd it with a 46 tooth big ring!! I jam it into the big ring and drill it, no one passes me. I looked at the speed and I was rollin 22mph...gotta love the big ring!!
Fast forward to the middle of this race. I'm on the long paved section and I'm dying big time!! I look down and I'm going 18mph, I take a look back and a racer is coming to me and there's nothing I can do about it right now. He makes the pass and I jump on his wheel just as we roll onto the grass again. He's twisting the screws on me but I have recovered!!
We come to the hairpin turn that leads to the 3 barriers that I can ride. I'm thinkin, if he runs these I'm gonna pass him and put it on kill...sure enough, that's what happened!! I ride by him as he runs over the last barrier, I grab a gear or 2 and punch it!! I create a good gap going into the next section, which was 5 or 6 switchbacks that emptied into the woods on the singletrack. I go as hard as I can through the trees, the gap gets bigger.
I roll through the start finish into the first turn again and the gap was at least 75 yards...where'd who go?!?!
2 laps to go...The gap I created is about 100 yards now...I have punched through the pain and I'm just killing it...back up to 21-22mph on the road again, and definitely making time in the turns on the grass.
Near the end this lap, a rider crashes in front of me and lands on his side on some rocks at the end of the singletrack where there was no way around...I yell at him get up, get up, get up!!!! This seemed to make him move slower...I slow down , and say MOOOOOOOVE!!!! He finally drags himself out of my way, he says something to me as I go by...I think he was mad at me for telling him to move...Whatev...I say thanks and punch it again...
Now on the last lap, the nice cushion I had created for myself was now about half...THANKS MR. NO SKILLS!!! There's a group of about 5 riders being lead by one who, by the looks of his face and riding style is on a mission to run me down...
Fortunately I'm having a great day on the bike, realize this go absolutely as hard as I can on the last lap. Through the 1st grass section the gap stays the same...onto the pavement...time to die...I wind it up to 22mph, I gain a bit, back on the grass again headed to the barriers, the gap is about the same...I think to myself, hit the marks through the next set of 5 switchbacks and kill in the woods and it will be over...I nailed my lines, hit the woods and drilled it to the end...
I popped out of the woods onto the start/finish straight, I look behind me, there's no one behind me, it's time for a finish line wheelie!! I ride a sweet one, good enough to actually coast on the back wheel across the line in 4th place out of 27!! The official says don't do that again...THAT MADE ME LAUGH!!
There you go now you know...It's not win, but I'm stoked with how I rode!! I rode well enough to pass the eventual 30+ winner with a lap and a half to go...CX on the Truth...Gotta love it!!!