Its June next week! #NewEngland
We had been given Friday off due to working commencement so I had two full days to do very little except try to get the shoulder back on terms which I was successful at for the most part. Range of motion was back, pain was minimal although it still felt pretty junky in there. I had purchased some KT tape to try and had Gina tape me up while she was still in bed before I left for VT.
I was expecting the stuff to be a bit..stiffer I guess is the word? It definitely offered some support but I guess I was expecting a bit more. Initially I was worried it wasn't even going to stay put because it didn't seem all that sticky but it did seem that the longer it was on me the more solid it felt. Maybe body heat activates the adhesive a bit or something. I can't really accurately say if it helped or not. The shoulder didn't hold me back at all which was nice. As of this morning I have a tiny bit of pain but that was probably inevitable no matter what. I guess what I'm saying is I have no idea if this tape is effective or not. It did offer some support so I suppose that is better than nothing? Although, at a dollar a strip...
ANYWAY. Not sure why I've never done this race before, it is really close to my house in the grand scheme of things and the drive is super easy. Probably mostly due to my avoidance of sanctioned racing in years past and my focus on the EFTA series. Kinda bummed now though because this course was a blast. Even with all the mud and mess it was still probably 65-70% rideable (although slow going) and in my opinion its a great mix of up/down, tech/flow. Definitely requires a well balanced rider to do well. If it was dry I would say its one of the better courses in New England for sure.
Still had a pretty decent sized SS field in Cat 2 despite the conditions. I think we ended up with 8? A few of the names I recognized from various results sheets and several of us were stronger non-sanctioned racers who top out at Cat 2 due to the whole one day license rule. I was freezing cold at the start and actually opted to race in my team CSC shell. I was hoping the Swiss nanotechnology would keep me warm. It did.
NEMBA Racing all bundled up
The start went up a slight incline (right up the farm's driveway) and then took a right into a field and we immediately hit 1-2in deep watery/muddy grass. Everyone was completely coated within 2mins. With that out of the way we got to some racing. I slotted into second after the initial shakeout. First sections of singletrack were greasy but doable and I was hoping for more of the same. We had to do a bit of deep muddy grass climbing followed by a fire road. I got passed here by Curtis L., I believe he was top 5 at Willowdale so I was expecting this. Then I got passed by Lane M. a 13-14yr old racing SS. This I was not expecting. He was riding the climb incredibly strong and didn't even look that labored. This worried me.
I had a few of those "wait a minute, I am a grown ass man. I can't let this kid beat me!" kind of thoughts. But I figured I would be able to pass him fairly easily in the more technical punchy terrain. Which was eventually correct but not after he put on a display of strength and riding ability that had me a bit dumbfounded. Riding ironman like myself no less! It was fun to watch and sobering to think that in 20yrs he'll still only be about my age and probably killing everyone.
After moving on from the Lane show, I continued to gobble up geared riders and waited for the eventual catch from teammate Mark. I often start a bit faster but he typically finishes a bit faster. Got me around 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the first lap and slowly faded away in some of the muddy tech. Back half of the course got a bit harder to ride with a few grassy false flat and some steeper sections that were basically unrideable with that soupy slick mud.
yeah soupy grass!
Popped out in one of the fields just down the hill from the start and got a time check from Mark's wife. Apparently I was still right on him and he was still right on Curtis in second. Well OK then, this race is only 12mi tops so might as well hurt a little bit. I tried my best to get on the gas, but that didn't amount to much in those conditions. I got a good indication of where I was shortly after in a section where you enter a field you can look across and see riders existing into the same field from a small section of singletrack. I saw Mark exiting as I was entering and I counted it off at about 15-20secs. Nothing quite like a solid indicator like that to help you hurt yourself a bit more.
This was probably eventually my undoing because I decided I was going to take a few risks and let it run in the singletrack a bit to try and make up the difference. This was working well and with less traffic things were working out and I thought I might have an off chance of bridging the gap. I was catching a lot of geared riders again which was a good sign. But it wasn't meant to be because as I was making two quick passes I took a probably less than ideal inside line on a corner to make a pass and shortly after powering up the next incline I got that tell tale huge increase in traction followed by a wishy-washy feeling. Looked down and sure enough I was at about 8psi. Upon stopping I could hear the leak and saw the Stan's bubbling up. I rotated it to the bottom of the rotation so it would pool up but it wasn't quite sealing.
Got the CO2 out after a bit of bumbling and shot it with some air and jumped right on to try and get rolling and force the Stan's out to the edges. This worked for a bit but every now and then I could hear air spurting out and eventually it was too soft to ride again. Hopped off and shot it up again and repeated the process and made it a bit farther but eventually it was soft again and my CO2 was cooked. I only brought one and decided against bringing a tube due to the short length of the race. I don't necessarily regret those decisions but I do hate a DNF. After getting home and cleaning up the bike a bit I found the gash.
thanks a lot...DICK
Just over a 1/8 gash slightly off center to the left and I was turning left when I think it happened. Doesn't look like much and I think Stan's claims they can seal punctures up to almost 1/4in. But this one is a bit irregular and with all the water and mud in those conditions I'm not really that surprised. I ran the course for a bit figuring I didn't know where I was so I might as well just continue on the course and maybe try to just run it in. But eventually I was getting bored and cold so I started bushwhacking and just b-lining it to the start via GPS.
So I'll be making a gear purchase in the near future, might need brake pads as well. The rear was getting pretty squishy towards the end. Next up is my White Mtn century ride and then the Pinnacle in a few weeks, hopefully this got my gear issues out of the way for the season and I'll be ready to make a serious run at the Pinnacle problem free. #knockonwood