Night of the Living Bubba/Dawn of the Bubba


With my legs and fitness feeling decent, despite a two week aversion to the bike due to ailments and exams, I put myself on the front line of battle for the B race, intent on finishing well. After an unjustifiably delayed starting whistle, my foot immediately found the pedal and I shot off the front leading the pack into the sweeping first descent. Having last led a race at the State Mountain Championships a number of months ago, I found it to be a surprisingly odd sensation. Remarkably, I managed to hold my position for most of the first lap before realizing that I was rolling at a non-sustainable pace given the soggy, energy-sucking conditions.

Sitting up just a bit, a few riders came around me on one of the long slow uphills. I managed to hold the third place wheel and stick with 2nd & 3rd for the majority of the race. As I started to fade, a couple second gap began to form in the group as the pair up front dropped me going through the barrier/run-up section. Shortly thereafter on the same lap, a Manchester rider exploded past me coming out of the off camber mud section. Within two subsequent straights and turns, I reeled the fellow back in and put some distance on him that would stick for the rest of the race.

With the pass garnering a bit of adrenaline and nearing the bell lap, I put in one last effort to reach the 2nd/3rd party. Hitting the hairpin turns just before the finish straightaway, I managed to catch the two, but was one turn behind. This small gap allowed the two to open up into a sprint a few seconds ahead of me and disappear down the hill to the finish. With no one contesting for fourth, I sat up and rolled across the line in ease. Awesome race for me, earning some series points, but sadly no podium or payday.


Talk about a tale of two races. With the exception of the few XC/Short Track combos during the collegiate season this year, I have rarely done back to back races. After destroying an Imo's medium and half a box of bran, I passed out Saturday for 11 hours. Kicking my alarm off Sunday morning a half dozen times, I was resolute in not racing again. However an early morning wake up call from the parents indicating they were coming out to watch the race motivated me to throw on the spandies for another hour of field racing pain. With some accrued expert advice from birthday boy MJames and Boss Hoss Russ, I once again found myself on the front line hungry for a destruction sandwich.

Off the line, I eased my way up the pavement start, entering the grass fourth wheel. Picture perfect opener. Hitting the quagmire adjacent the officials table and the ensuing upward pitch, my momentum dwindled and a string of riders floated by. Suffering up the climb and hitting the second road section, I caught my breath and caught a wheel on the freight train. Going through the barriers on lap 1, a shouting spectator indicated that I was sitting in 7th. Somewhere in the mix-up, a couple other dudes sneaked past, knocking me back to 11th. Trading places with the same Manchester rider from the night before, we rolled into the mud pit near the end of lap 1; me with functioning chain, him without.

Over the following laps, I bridged up to a Dent Wizard rider and proceeded to swap spots for the remainder of the race. Details remain dim with less than ample lighting adorning the pain cave. For five laps, I could see a small group of riders a few seconds ahead and a couple of stragglers trailing us. Despite multiple solo attempts to gap up, and failed persuasion to get the Dent Wizard to take pulls with me, we continued our mini-battle for 6th. Honestly, after both racing last night, I am not sure either one of us had gas in the tank to close the gap.

Either way, on the bell lap, DW hit the afterburners on the first pavement section, putting a few lengths on me. Catching my breath, and maintaining a steady cadence, I put in a hard effort once we hit the grass again. Two lapped riders found their way between us, spelling disaster for my efforts. Hitting the climb on the backside, I swung around one and caught the wheel of the other. Three of us - DW, lapped chucko, and myself - snaked around the low stuff, wheel to wheel. Climbing towards the barriers, I found some power from deep within and blasted around the two fellas on the inside. We remained in formation for the last half lap of the race.

Going into the mud pit and the following hair-pins, I stomped hard ensuring that I was first in, first out. Hitting the last road section, I shifted into the big ring for the only big ring action of the weekend and made my ninth place stick. Despite the less glamorous overall spot, the head to head racing on Day 2 was undeniably more enjoyable. Still in the base/build phase of my fall training, I am really looking to come on strong as the season winds on. Hopefully by December I can win one of these things (maybe even cat up).


Scott said...

Nice work man. What size front chain ring are you using? I was running a 46 all weekend and was able push it the entire course on Sunday(not saturday). If thats to much try a 44. Might help you...

Matt Schweiker said...

Daaammmnnnn. Yea, i've got a 46 on there now. Didn't even think about trying to push the big ring. Shoot son.