After multiple well placed efforts last season, my last race ended with a DNF - which basically killed the CAT 2 championship win and an official promotion to expert by 2 stinkin points. The single flat that occurred shouldn't have ended the race... nope, there's a bit more to the story:
While on vacation in Telluride last summer I went on a little evening ride up to Bear Creek. When I arrived back at the house I realized my seat bag was fully unzipped and all the contents (tube, tools, CO2 etc) were missing. I turned around and headed back across town and back up the trail. Along the way up I encountered a couple of hikers and asked "you didn't happen to come across any bike debris on your way?" They hadn't, so I continued on. The sun was getting pretty low and light was diminishing but I had to find my stuff dammit. About 3/4 of the way to the falls I saw a woman coming down the trail and she immediately asked: "Did you lose some tools?" - "YES!" Much to my glee, she began extracting each item from several pockets. She explained "Well, I was coming down the trail... (rifling through pockets)...and I first found this.." (It was my multi tool)..."Then, I found this" Tire lever.. "Then .. (more rifling)I knew someone had a seat bag that was open.... because I do a bit of road cycling myself". After rummaging through at least 7 pockets she had found everything: Patch kit, powerlink, tube, tire lever, multi-tool, CO2 canisters and CO2 valve. I then proceeded to make savage love with her for nearly 30 seconds. Saved by one of the "real people" of Telluride.
There is funny flic called "The Lost People of Mountain Village" that puts the "real people" comment into context. If you happen to go to Telluride make sure to watch the movie. Of course, don't miss out on this stuff:
A little ways from town - Lake Hope
Atop the Wasatch trail - freaking awesome.
I chalked the seat bag situation up to stupidity on my part. I figured I hadn't zipped it or something.
After getting back home from Telluride, the next race in the EFTA series was "The Horror at Harding Hill" - Some of which can be seen here from the helmet cam of my rival Shawn Smith - the real chase begins around 2:36 look for my pumpkin orange jersey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqVP4cKxF1s
I enjoyed this race for the obvious reason of having won it - but also for the sparring that took place. It's not too often you get this much action in a race and capture it with a helmet cam - good stuff.
About maybe two miles from the end of "The Horror" - my bikes' rear wheel came to a gentle skidding halt. WTF??!! I looked down and guess what? My effin' seat bag was open again and my tube (the last thing to go) had come out and wound itself around my rear tire getting jammed into the disc brake. It was stuck good - real good. I spent at least a couple of minutes wrenching the wheel back and forth while picking out rubber bits. It required enough time that Shawn had managed to catch back up. Shit, Shit, SHITTT!! Obviously, Shawn felt bad about the situation and slowed down while passing - uttering "Doooodd... what happened?" He had gotten about 40' ahead when the last bits of rubber finally came out of the caliper. Freed at last..! Having had plenty of time for my heart to recover and having been enraged by it all -I blew past a very gracious Shawn and wasn't having any part of nice-nice passing the rest of the way. It was "COMING THROUGH!!" till the end. I have never passed so many people so fast. In a way it was kind of liberating. I always wait for the right opportunity and will pleasantly offer the usual "passing on your right/left" and go quietly on my way.
Lesson learned: I am not so stupid about my seat bag zipper after all. The resonance of bouncing around on the bike unzips the bag - who knew??! Thankfully some EFTA folks found my car key (another part of the story) and I happily made my way home with a plan to prevent that from happening again.
We're now up to the final race - the "Treasure Valley Rally". It is a tough course - the kind you wish you had brought your old trusty slightly heavy FS bike to (yet another story) but I had gotten addicted to the speed of my Hardtail. It just goes faster. My solution to the seat bag problem - use a safety pin to hold the zipper. How clever, that'll fix it!! Rrright.. About halfway through the first lap of the course there is a rocky downhill section and like an idiot I decide to make some time by really hauling ass. Like skipping over the top of rocks hauling ass.. Sure enough: Pinch flat! I pull over just before the big hill with a water station and get to work swapping out the tube. After the tube is changed, I get the CO2 and we're almost there.. Wait a minute... This tube is leaking!!?? How can this be!!!?? For sure I put a good fresh tube in there!!? Umm yeah - that safety pin.. is pointy. And I pushed it right through a little of my tube. Game over. A couple of passing fellow racers knew what was at stake and offered their tubes -but I couldn't accept them. It's against the rules and I brought this on myself. Gotta take your lumps from time to time.
Onto the closure bit: Last night was the 2010 season EFTA awards banquet. They have an awesome trike race event that takes place up on a mezzanine above a basketball court. By pure luck, I partnered with Steven Crossley - a fast CAT I that I know of because I stalk fast dudes. We won the event outright and here I sit with my little coffee mug and medal - amazing what little it takes to bring a smile to ones face. But it gets better..
During the awards Jesse Taylor (fellow CAT2) was asked to come up to accept his promotion to expert hat and immediately after, Randi the announcer started in with something about this rider with 58 points. I knew right then and there who that was - but didn't know where she was taking this. For sure the entire thing was orchestrated in advance but they (Maz and Randi) worked in that the Trike race was worth another 2 promotion points. Aww Shucks.. I'm officially a big bad CAT I now.
For me that was the best. I'm a little stuck on the concept of moving up in a sequential / legitimate fashion. My first year racing, although I was a bloated pig - I probably should have self-promoted to Sport. It just felt right being promoted by earning it and the plan was to do exactly the same this year. A flat early in the season at the Weeping Willow delayed the progression - but subsequent wins looked promising enough to carry on with "the plan". It was a serious killjoy to have it all vanish at the last race.