After last race’s shit show I vowed to get my bike in top working order. A new front chain ring, cleats and one stolen seat post and seat from my road bike and Bessy was good to go. Unfortunately last Sunday I woke with a unexpected hang over and a sore throat. A sore throat could only mean one thing, a cold.
This holiday weekend would bring two separate races. One in my new home town, Carbondale and the third of four races in the Live Train Race Series. The Carbondale Turkey Day Cross Race was a very small race in it’s first year and only had a Men’s Beginner and Advanced. The night before the race I was exhausted and didn’t really think I’d make the start line. My plan was to show up, help with the “B” race and then decide.
I decided to race despite feeling like I had no lungs. I was the only single speeder in the field, so the guys let me on the front row which was nice. The race started and I was in third by the first turn, but shortly after Jake Wells of Stan’s No Tubes would come by like I was standing still to join Colin Osborne and Chris Brandt of Honey Stinger. The three would pull away as the laps went on and I never saw them again. Two riders would catch me a few laps in and we rode together until three to go when one dropped off the pace.
For the last two laps Jeff Kerkove of the professional Topeak-Ergon Team would stick to my wheel like gravy on turkey. I knew he had no intention of pulling as he was on a mountain bike. Jeff wanted until there was about four corners left and I heard him shift up a few gears. I reacted and spun my ass off. The result was me still leading our duo and laughter from Jeff, or that is what I thought I heard. At this point we caught a single rider and there were two more just ahead of him. I squeezed by the one guy and Jeff was hot on my heels. I would pass the other two going over the last set of barriers. I had hoped Jeff wouldn’t be able to squeeze through as I did but he did. I lead us into the last turn and came out sprinting. Luckily for me the finish line wasn’t that far and I was able to hold on to fourth place.
I would pay for my effort with a head ache that would last through my turkey dinner and to bed time. Luckily I woke up Friday feeling much better and looking forward to Saturday’s race.
As I had driven to the first two races in the LTR Series I found someone else to drive this time. When I got to the coffee shop where I was to meet my two carpooling mate, neither one was there. I texted them and one over slept and the other’s alarm didn’t go off. We made it to the race and things went smoothly from there.
The course was bone dry and fast, fast, fast. It included a run up and a section through some dirt jumps. I tried to squeeze in one hot lap to get somewhat warmed up and I missed the call up for the start. I managed to squeeze into the second row with about two minutes to spare (Thanks Vince). I striped down and adjusted my tire pressure all just before they called out 30 seconds to go.
Like on Thursday I made it into the top three by the first few turns. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was in trouble. The two racers in front of me were both from Durango, had gears, and fast. One was a Master so I was running second. After just one lap I knew to win I was going to have to do something big to pass and drop the guy in front of me. He was stronger and had gears. The course was very flat and those with gears had a big advantage.
On lap two the leader and I had pulled away from Thomas Hayles, my main competition from the first two races. As we finished the second lap the guy leading me dropped his chain in a rough patch and had to stop. I would never see him again but Thomas would start to close in on me. The leader was in the younger “A” group and riding away. Thomas and I would yo-yo back in fourth for the remainder of the race.
I had to dig deep as I was feeling Thursday’s race and the lack of energy from my cold. I was able to extend my lead on Thomas a bit with three to go and for the last couple of laps I just pushed hard to maintain. I was very happy to win as I knew I wasn’t at my best. I also knew that if I made just one mistake Thomas would be on my wheel or pass me by. I felt the pressure the whole race. With one race to go in the series I hope I can keep my streak alive. 3 down, 1 to go.
And yes, Star Wars was on like 12 times this weekend.