Iron Hill is a pretty great park and a nice place to ride mountain bikes. Thanks to First State Velo Sport for putting on a great race. Two years ago, this was the second race I did, and it went okay, considering where my mountain biking game was at that point. My wife did her first race there and won it. It's pretty annoying when she does stuff like that. It's a pretty technical course, with lots of little ups and downs and plenty of rocks and roots.
I got new shoes yesterday. Walked in to one store, it was the last pair of Northwaves they had, they were my size, and they are the first shoes I've ever had that fit out of the box. They are W_I_D_E. I will never own another brand. And they look cool too.
Today, there were 48 other guys in my age group. Two years ago it was a much smaller field (same field - Sport 40-49) and I was I think 11th, which seemed pretty good to me at the time. I didn't know what to expect. A lot of dudes looked in shape. The gun went, and I either felt really good or people were just being mellow because it seemed super manageable. Within a few hundred yards I was in the top clump, and then a couple of dudes filtered themselves out of that with bobbles or whatever, and we were like 5 dudes in a group with a small gap after about 10 minutes. One guy jumped to the front from fourth in a small open section, and I moved up some. Then at the next clearing I took the lead and started going pretty hard. One guy fell off, and we were sorting through a lot of riders from fields ahead. Eventually, there was just one guy left. The course doubles back on itself a bunch of times and I didn't know where the hell we were on the lap but I just kept going. Soon we got to the finish line of lap 1 of 2, with me in the lead and homie in second and a seemingly pretty big gap behind. Riders from fields ahead everywhere.
Just as we started the second lap, I dove through this little rocky turn section and there was a bad noise and much friction from my rear wheel. I stopped and the guy in second took off. The SRAM skewer came loose, although it was still closed, which is weird because I checked the crap out of that sucker before the start. Third person mysterioso, huh? So I slammed the wheel back in place and tightened the skewer and took off. Bad rotor rub, top part of the cassette didn't work, it wasn't ideal. Rode a ways with the bike not quite right and came to a muddy little runup, then fixed it for real. Fortunately, no one from behind passed at all. Unfortunately the guy head of me, who I could sometimes see after the first stop, was GONE after the second.
The rest of the second lap was just a mud slog, the conditions were getting really rough with ruts and traffic. I crashed pretty hard once on a root. I knew I wasn't going that fast since I wasn't passing people as quickly as before, but no one ever came past which was great.
End of the race was pretty anti-climactic, really. The guy who I'd been riding with wound up nearly 2' ahead, 3rd was nearly 2' behind. There was good parity between age groups - the 19-29 was a bit faster than us (I would have been 5th in that race) and the 30-39 was I think exactly the same as us (I believe I would have been a few seconds out of second in that one).
I definitely got better at driving the new bike (2 rides on it this week), and I while I really would like to get the W, today's good. The guy who won was a good rider. It's just a couple of weeks until Fair Hill's rain date.
Being on featured on YGD, even with no D-age, must have been motivating for me and Mike. He got 4th in his race today.