Wow, its been awhile, but not without a good reason. Nikole and our wedding day is just around the corner and so it seems like every moment of free time that we have is spent meeting and planning. In fact, we are hearing it from our dogs and the lack of trail time they have been getting. Four weeks and counting.
My bike time has not been slighted however. Three weeks ago I was battling a cold that kept me off the bike but since then my training has not suffered a whole lot. 6-10 hours a week on the bike has been pretty good when compared to the years past. But now I’m itching more and more to get into the competitive mode and hit the trails.
My only race so far was the Durand Road Race in April. I like being on the road bike but I live to be in the forests peddling my scrawny ass around trees and rocks. There’s something about mountain biking and I can’t put my finger on it, but give me a single track and I will take it any day.
This last weekend Nate, BJ, and I went north for an early season MTB race in good ‘ol Cable, WI. The Cable Off-Road Classic is tough race because for most local racers it is their first. Its a tough 23 mile point-to-point race from Lakewoods Resort to downtown Cable. For us it was our first MTB race of the season and it proved to be yet another tough season opener.
The early morning greeted us with sun, a few clouds, and some warmth. My dad, Nate, and his fiance, Karyn ventured into the Sawmill Saloon at 8:15 to grab some coffee and scones, best pre-race food money can buy. And 45 minutes later we were heading up to Cable in a torential down pour. Spirits were low as we made our way to Cable. Last year we raced in rain and 34 degrees. This year it wasn’t 34 degrees but it sure was raining. But by the time we made it to the start the rain was done and our bikes were dry.
Nate’s pre-race routine…
The Cable Off Road is an interesting start. There are 400 racers jockeying for position before we hit the single track. And so 400 of us have only 1.4 miles to figure out where we are in the pack, where we want to be, and how do we get there in only 1.4 miles. And as usual, when we do get to the single track we bottle neck and usually come to a complete stop. The start was great and before I new it BJ, Nate and I were stopped at the single track waiting our turn to begin the toughest part of the race.
The course was fast and with the 15 minutes of rain, firmed things up and kept the dust down. After hitting the single track I was off and racing really strong. Before long I was working with three of riders, including Michelle Flanagan-Hagg (second place female). Coming out of the first major section of single track I felt good and ready to make some moves. I broke away from Michelle and Todd Troskey. My bike was running well and my legs felt strong.
At mile 13 we entered into another long stretch of single track which usually will separate most riders. By mile 16 you start to lose your mental concentration and your cat-like reflexes slow to the point where fun single track becomes nerve wracking. And sure enough, at mile 17 I miss judged a sharp turn on a single track down hill and went over my handle bars. It happened so fast that before I knew it I was under my bike with my left foot still clipped into my peddle, eating dirt and leaves. I must say, performing an endo like that takes your confidence away and humbles you. The only support I got was from the rider behind me who bellowed as he flew by “dude you all right?”
I was alright. My bike made it out of the crash and so did my body. By then Michelle caught me and we worked with each other to catch the riders who previously passed. We rode to the finish together grabing four more spots before we crossed the finish line. Nice job Michelle on a second place finish. I finished just under two hours, 78th place, which I’m pleased with. Nate and BJ came across together not far behind allowing us to share a well deserved beer together.
Nice durt mustach, if I may say so!
Thanks again to T Dubs and Ma Wells who caught the finish. Karyn, thanks again for the support and picture taking. See you all in the middle!