Courtesy of Roger Harrison
Man I wish grabbing the hole shot on the new machine was as easy as it is on the Hammer!! I'm starting to get the feeling that some out there are getting tired of watching me take off like I was shot from a cannon...It's too bad that the rest of the race doesn't go like that...oh well...gotta love that first turn speed!!!
Anyway...I decided to race the Saturday race and maybe Sunday...well...The events on Saturday made that decision for me, more on that in a bit. I made the hour journey south so I could get plenty of course inspection time. Course knowledge is huge peeps!! As I made my way around this track I came to a section that had a telephone poll that you could ride around, run, or better yet RIDE!! I was hesitant at first, mostly because I haven't pulled this move on a fully rigid bike EVER!! If it was an MTB race, I wouldn't have given this obstacle a 2nd thought...would've just done it. But I decided that it would be a good move if the racing was close.
So I do the easy move first...wheelie up and chain ring over it...pssssssshhhh...that was easy!!! So I turn around and give it the up and over move like it was meant to be!! I'm thinking to myself I'm totally doing this in the race, so off I go for more recon.
As I come back to the log (it's easier to type than telephone poll...) I set up to ride it and totally chicken out...WTF!!!!!!! It's now time for final prep and head to the start line. At the line there was 8 in the masters 40 field...hey...it's a top 10 for dfl...who doesn't like that?!
At the gun I hit the pedal and you know I got the hole shot...I was on the Hammer!!! I lead for about a half lap when Rick Mosely came around. I stayed with him for the rest of the lap and the he started to creep away...that left me to fight it out with Paul and Travis for second. Paul is riding well these days and I was going ok and the 2 of us eventually gapped Travis so now it was down to 2...who will make the first mistake???
There was an off camber right hand sweeper that you came into with a good bit of speed and if you didn't set up the turn just right you would have to brake or worse, slide out. Remember the mistake comment?? This turn was getting the better of Paul and 2 consecutive laps he did a cool 2 wheel drift...he lost a ton of speed and almost lost it both times but kept it rubber side down. The little advantage he had was washed away both times...good for me!!
The race rolls on and on lap 3 and Paul opens a gap of about 5 seconds. No big deal. I managed to keep it there until the log. By the way, when we came to the log on the first lap I didn't even think about it and flew over it like it wasn't there! Moving on...After the success on lap 1, I continued the log move.
Back to the 5 second gap at the log...Paul rides around it and I fly over it and the gap is immediately gone!! I'm thinking to myself this is where I will hit him and try to take the 2nd step!!
On lap 4 the same scenario was playing out only the gap was about 10 seconds early on but I was slowly taking time back in the turns and when I got to the log again it was back to 5 seconds...as I set up for the left turn that lead to the log I hit my line and carried more speed than before...as I look at the log I'm more or less right on it, so I yank on the bars and proceed to hit my front wheel and go for a ride. My head and right shoulder simultaneously hit the ground first...I hit my head hard enough that I didn't say ouch...I literally said I think I rung my bell...it hurt!!!
So I scramble to my feet and get going...the nice 20 second gap to 4th is now 5 seconds with a little more than a lap to go...Travis chased hard, we pretty much stayed at 5 seconds until about 2/3rds of the way through the last lap. I opened it up to about 10 seconds by the time I got to the log again which I rode around! Look at the big brain on me!! Anyway he eased up and I nailed down third.
It was a good race and I made the first real mistake and that was it. The great log incident of 2014 is why I didn't race on Sunday....I'm pretty sure I got a mild concussion for my effort...oh well...big risk, big reward...sometimes!