Sunday, April 24, 2005

"To Race, Or not to Race"

My plan at the beginning of the season was to do all 3 Michaux series races, just like the past 3 years. Then I started thinking about it, why not do something different this year. There were two races this weekend, Camp Mack, which is part of the MASS, on Saturday, and Michaux on Sunday. I never even considered doing both because they are both very difficult races. It wasn't until Tuesday that I decided to do Camp Mack, I also got Matt to do it with me. The weather for the weekend did not look good. Around here we had some light rain Friday and into Friday night, and the forecast was for severe weather on Saturday. We decided to play it by ear. If we got up Saturday and it was pouring down rain we would do Michaux, if it wasn't too bad we would do Camp Mack. Saturday morning it was cloudy and damp, but not raining. I checked the weather and it said severe storms developing late morning early afternoon. I call Matt and we decide to do Michaux. 10 minutes later I call Matt and we decide to do Camp Mack. If we got there and it started storming we would just bail and race Sunday.

As we were driving up we passed through a light shower but that was it. The turn out for the race was small, and apparently they got a lot more rain than we did. Looking at the start finish area, I was a little apprehensive, it was a total mud pit. A lot of people said that was the worst part and the rest of the course wasn't too bad. I had heard the course was rocky, kind of like a mini Michaux. I must say I was a little disappointed. To me it seemed like a lot of fire road and a little single track. There was one rocky trail and a couple of steep down hills that were fun but that was it. Over all the course was pretty muddy, climbing on a single speed was not an option so I did a lot of hiking.

The cool part was there were only 3 of us in the expert single speed class; Matty T, Travis the super fast guy from Pittsburgh, and myself. So I was guaranteed a podium spot. About a third of the way into the first lap Matt flatted, and did the smart thing and decided to bail. I kept going, despite being about 15 minutes behind Travis. As I came through after my second lap, I stopped to talk to Matt and Howard from Bike Line. I seriously thought about quitting, I was really hurting and the thought of another lap, another hour or so of absolute suffering, and Matt standing there with a beer in his hand, but for some strange reason I went out for my third lap. I even stopped at the top of the hill and thought about turning around. Then I realized, all I have to do is finish. It doesn't matter how long it takes, just finish. Hell I was guaranteed second. I suffered like never before. I had to walk even the smallest hills, but finally I came up the finishing climb, carrying my bike but I finished. As I started making my way to the car I stopped to talk with Fitzy and Howard. Howard asked me "So, What did you think?" I looked at both of them and said," that was quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever done". It took me 3:12, I shouldn't be surprised, I never do well in the mud. It turns out Travis finished 46 minutes ahead of me. That was a little demoralizing, until I compared his time to all the other experts. He had the 5th fastest time overall. He would have beaten a couple of pros. That is impressive.

After I got kind of cleaned up, I talked to Matt and he was a little drunk. Seems he did one lap then drank beer for two hours while waiting for me to finish. Even though he didn't race he still beat me at something. He drank more beer than me, now that is even more impressive.

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