Round #3

The third round of the Midwest Collegiate Cycling mountain season transported me to incest riddled middle of nowheresville Kantuckee. The event, hosted by Lindsey Wilson College (dr. who?), went down at Green River Lake State Park about 1.5 hours south of Louisville. Still not sure what in the hell a river lake is, but it sure makes a dang fine swimmin' hole for those local folks. Unlike that B.A. gangsta flick, the 8 mile trail meandered through the foliage with little topography to speak of with the exception of three gnar downhills coupled immediately with 3 completely unridable uphills. Less than desirable race setting, but who can complain about single track perched on the shores of a river lake on a beautiful fall day.

Time zones make sense, daylight savings time questionable, Indiana and Kentucky's ignorance of them is downright dumb. Nate and I rolled out of our hotel presumably at 7am only to watch our cell phones change time zones twice on the 15 minute drive to the river lake. Arrival at the race scene found the lot to be completely deserted. Apparently, despite being in eastern time, the race organizers (just a few miles away mind you) were in central time (and running late). Minds blown and sleep deprivation high, I searched my jeep for the flux capacitor that brought us to that F-ed up time warp.

Experts rolled off first for a change at 9 (8 or was it 10?) . With thirty two riders, it was the biggest expert field so far this season, as we duked out position rolling through the corn field start. Despite being warned seconds earlier of a downed tree entering the single track, a good portion of us nailed it. Go college scholars.

With some early jockying of position I found myself in my usual mid-pack B squad. A group of epo addicted freaks pulled away with my Red5 squadron forming as a chase group. The insanely flat nature of the course allowed us to more or less stay grouped up throughout the lap, with some slight accordion action on the techy descents and climbs. By the second lap, we had dropped a few riders from the pack, whittling down to one rep each from Michigan, Purdue, WashU, & Michigan Tech. Dropping the MichTech jerk on the second climb, the remaining three of us pacelined the remainder of lap 2, each taking pulls.

As the freight train came through the feed zone for the final lap, I slowed to pick up a bottle to find that someone had moved/taken all of my feed junk. Slammed the brakes, 180ed the bike, erupted a series of roid-raged out nonsensical expletives, watched my train depart, and finally grabbed a bottle from a thunderstruck rando bystander, I rocketeered my stumpjumper back into the woods hoping to gap back up. I caught the Purdue rider on the first uphill and danced with him until the tech roots DH, watching him OTB endo down into the gully. Never saw him again, but also never found the Michigan chap. Shortly after ascending the last climb, I spotted a rider about 30 seconds ahead on the next section. With less than 1/4 mile to go, I knocked into the 11 on the cassette and furiously turned the cranks. Catching the Lindenwood rider off guard 50 feet from the finish, the sprint was on. As I started to come around on the right, he countered and I hammered hard, jumped left, snuck in a few extra cranks, and thrust my bike in front of me, taking him by less than a wheel (and nearly mowing down a few of the women expert riders in the process).

Yea, so hindsight it might be foolish to sprint out for 13th place. Regardless, it marked my best finish in an expert race thus far, and really made an otherwise mundane race a little more memorable. Closer to that coveted top 10 this weekend, but still a few minutes off pace. Hoping that a structured schedule of training through the next two races, will afford me my goal for conference regionals at Mizzou.

No comments: