I liken the first mountain bike race of the season to those oh so painful moments in life like a continuous bee sting from a trapped bee in your bike helmet. Or a lodged pebble in your carbon soled bike shoe. Those are just some of the pains that I can assimilate to the Cable Off Road Classic.
Kent McDaniel and I loaded the car at 6:30 am on Saturday and were off to Cable for the mountain bike season opener for the both of us. Two hours later we are registering, picking up our numbers and BS’ing with Flug over our pasty white legs and our unpracticed equipment.
A quick warm-up on the roll-out portion of the course and we were ready to go. This race had a first for me. As riders were loading the start area there were to sections, the preferred start area (reserved for those who ride professionally and ride fast) and a section for the rest. I rode into the later section and was jockeying for position when a race officially pulled me from the start and said my race number had me starting in the preferred start. Holy sh#t! Because of last years race I qualified for a preferred start. Hell yea…
I try to give perspective and stories from the middle of the pack. But Saturday I was starting at the front. My handle bars we rubbing up with the likes of him, this guy, and not to mention them. The moment didn’t last long because before we knew it we were off and the leaders put the hammer down and were soon off the front leaving all of us wannabes wondering what just happened.
We hit the single track a mile and a half down the road and things settled down pretty quick from there. A bunch of us jockeyed for positioning and took turns pulling from time to time. And over the course of 23 miles I dropped some riders, picked up others, and rode a lone as well.
Bj caught me about 10 miles into the race and we ended up riding another five miles together until he caught some bad luck on a hill and got behind some riders! I couldn’t remember the course from years past and so most of the time I didn’t know exactly what mile I was at and where I was at.
You can always expect pain for the first race of the season. My legs screamed at me at times and I could taste blood in the back of my throat at others. I found myself having to sit up and recover more than I would want, but I also had to remind myself that it WAS only the first race!
I rode to the finish in 1:55.08 and to a 64th place. Only 15 minutes behind the leaders (that’s an eternity in race time). But none-the-less it made for an improvement from last years.
I rode through the finish and straight to my car with no time to stick around and reminisce about the race with the others. I jumped in my car with my race outfit still on and just over two hours later I was sitting in the gymnasium of UWEC watching Nikole get her Masters. Sunday we threw a wonderful celebration in her honor and our amazing friends and family were able to celebrate with her. Thanks to all of you for being there! By Sunday evening we were crashed on the couch and wondering where the weekend went.
Next up is the WORS Big Ring Classic on June 1st in Wausau. Never raced this one so we will see how it goes! Off to Hayward for the extended weekend of single track and road riding. Keep rid’in…