Less riding = more suffering. Despite Greg Lemond's claim that it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster, things can be more difficult if you are off the mountain bike for an extended period of time, then try two races in one weekend. Case in point, NCSU collegiate racing.
Sure, if I had been training more consistently, I could have finished faster (although based on the level of other riders, probably wouldn't have placed much better). However, time off the mountain bike does more than just reduce your speed.
1) Hands. My hands got soft and so I got blisters. Sure, a suspension fork and less rooty trails might have helped. But I got to toughen up again.
2) Lower back. My lower back hurts. Muscular, not spinal, fortunately. But still, I gotta get my core strength back.
3) Ears. I'm not sure how my hearing was affected, but somehow I missed the part about how we were only doing 4 laps on Sunday instead of the advertised 5. Don't get me wrong, I was happy for this discount. But I only figured this out on the last (4th) lap after getting caught by another rider (on a singlespeed, no less). Not to say that I would have done better (maybe one place, maybe not), but it would have reduced my level of dread.
Saturday, Crabtree: 6th out of 11
Sunday, Harris Lake: 8th out of 14
Other race notes:
* This was a collegiate race for Duke, so I was not able to sport my BCC kit. Maybe we need some logo stickers for our bikes.
* We raced at Crabtree (saturday) and Harris (sunday) and local riders were super cool about letting the racers pass. Thank you all very much.
* One non-racing person thought it would be a good idea to remove course marking tape in critical sections of the trail. This was not a good idea, especially for kids who drove down from places like West Virginia, only to have their race needlessly complicated by some petty jerk.
* I was the only person riding a singlespeed in the Men's A race on saturday, but people must have got the message because three other dudes came wielding singlespeeds on sunday.
* Also spotted, one UNC Men's B racer and a AppState women's A racer on singlespeed. Mad props to you as well.
* I got some props for sporting my neon green/pink/black Oakley brand "Blades". When asked where I got them, I told some dude that I bought them at some store in 1988. I think he was thinking I found these retro specs on eBay or something and seemed to pause while he did some complicated math. I realized that he probably was not born when I was spending my allowance money on these dope shades.