The other race in the series that offers similar dynamics is the Maine Sport Run-Off: A great climb followed by a marvelous switchback descent with a few rock gardens along the way. Good stuff - in a beautiful location to boot. Aside from lacking the plunge aspect - it's way up there.
Some of the scene. Check out that sky!!
This was my third visit to the Pinnacle. The prior two had been on overcast / drizzly days. Today (Fathers Day) was about as good as it gets. On the way in I couldn't help but think how tragic it'd be to be that guy who died "doing what he loved" on fathers day. Yeah, a bit dramatic - but life is damn short. You never know.
As a few folks might have noticed - I bumped my arse up to Elite. It wasn't an easy decision. But a few things helped turned the corner:
- Stupid Colin is right. A challenge is better than just about anything
- How many medals is too many? They are pretty awesome at first - but after a dozen or so they lose their "zing". Man this sounds like Willow elaborating on her desire for a "fix".
- Apparently I have issues with losing. In the last race - I made a move that I'm not entirely comfortable with - don't think I ever will be either. On the one hand - it's racing - the other, well... Let just say I was AUDI before it became the choice of assertive @$$holes worldwide. Back when I bought it, it was the understated counterpart to BMW's. These days everyone knows better. (Dang)
- My offspring has witnessed nothing but winning and I fear it's staring to rub off in the wrong way. Competition is good - but everything in life deserves tempering.
On arrival I immediately notice I forgot socks. Crap. How the heck did that happen? I bring 4 pair of shorts but no damn socks??!! I headed over to the Nelson-mobile with my sob story and they dig around and find me some genuine Bikeman socks. Thanks guys! Let's hope Marcy doesn't fall head over heels in love with my smell..
A few rides here and there to warm up then t'were go time. Always comes up quicker than expected.
The race began like just about any other - with the exception of being first in line. At the start - dudes TOOK THE HELL OFF. Around and up we went. Being new and all, I kept in the shadows - but maintained my position. When the course opened up on a funny little residential street section I even gained a few spots.
Onward and upward we went. I was feeling pretty good. About 3/4 of the way up on a double-track section I could see the main pack just ahead. That was fairly encouraging. I don't trend towards negative splits - but I do have some of that slow-twitch business going on. If I can keep these guys in sight - I should start being able to pick folks off later in the game.. Or so I had hoped..
You see, on top of experimenting with the Elite group - I decided to experiment with my drive train. My bike has been dropping the chain off the inside since day one. I have tensioned the rear derailleur, aligned and dropped the front derailleur - but it continues to be a problem. Particularly over rooty flat or downhill sections.
On lap 4 my connecting link lets go. I'm sure the chain slapping the tire, spokes and getting bound up in the derailleur isn't helping. Whatever.. I'm used to this by now - and put it back together in less than a minute. At the last part of the last lap I catch the last Elite woman. She pulls over - and I warn her: "I am going to have to fix my bike a few times - you should keep going" She encourages me to go ahead - and sure enough, we swap positions a couple of times. Finally I get to the downhill sections that don't need no stinkin' chain and I can gain some ground without impeding her progress.