I had high (or higher) expectations for this year's edition. I had kinda trained and after last year's debacle, I knew it wouldn't be worse. And, it was my best year ever. Took almost an hour off of my time from two years ago (the last good race I had) but still left plenty of room for improvement. I raced my Stumpy 29'er hardtail, which I don't really know if it was a benefit. I mean, I had a GREAT first half of the race, which is mostly up and had a shittier second half of the race, which was more down. I could attribute it to needing more longer rides on that bike, or it could be that I am flippin' old and a hardtail beats the shit out of me.
Some details of the day.
|My tenderized drumstick|
- It was down right COLD to start the day, with frost on the ground in areas of the race course, which was fine with me. Being a bit, ahem, hirsute, I welcome the cooler weather.
- The course was in primo shape, although by the time I came through areas like Dakota Ridge, it was getting a bit chewed up from a couple hundred people rolling through before me.
- I did have a bit of an accident in Krangle Connection which was just a lapse of concentration on my part, especially considering all the work the Ridge Riders did on the trail. Zigged when I should have zagged and I fell and went boom. A bit disconcerting when you fall down, the rider behind you is shouting "man down, man down" and when you get up and pull your bike off the trail, like 10 guys go zooming past. A bit disconcerting because at with over 600 entrants out there you'd think that'd be the norm and yet, there were times when I couldn't see anyone ahead of me or behind me.
- Have I ever mentioned that I love the new location of the Bacon Station? For those that don't know, the BS is an "aid" station where you can get bacon and some PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). It used to be in a location where you had to climb immediately afterwards, so drinking some PBR made for a tough climb. Now it is at the beginning of Dakota Ridge and you go down (at least for a bit) so slamming some PBR and eating a slice of salty pork goodness is, well, a beautiful thing...which I did. Did it cost me some time? Sure. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
- Did I talk about nipples? No? Well, I have an issue with my nipples and chaffing on my jersey, so I covered them with New Skin. Did it help? Nope. I'm sitting here with chaffed nipples right now. Why the fuck do men have them? Don't need 'em at all.
- My wife and son are incredible support people. Meeting me exactly where I wanted, when I wanted. The best.
- As I mentioned, I had my best year ever. 5:37, which is almost an hour faster than I've ever done it before. But hell, almost all the Ramblers had a personal best day. The cool weather, the trail conditions and a summer of kickin' the shit out of each other equalled a great ride for almost everyone!
- Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Perry Jewett and the Ridge Riders (the group that put on the race). This race is always really well run, with Perry learning from each year and making changes for the better for the following season. I kinda expected a bit of chaos at the end with having well over 600 riders, but there wasn't any. It was GREAT! Super awesome food, great beer, music, and times getting put up quickly. Kudos the the Ridge Riders for such a great event!
Well, there you go. I was fairly beat after the ride and was glad it was over. And now I am planning for next year. I've still got a little time to play with, although taking yet another hour off might be a bit much.