Monday, February 2, 2009

6 Hours at Harris Lake

With JD forced to the sidelines on doctor's orders to rest and recover from illness earlier in the week, it was up to me to fly the BCC/Second Empire colors at the final race of the local endurance series. We had a great venue at Harris Lake and temperatures that warmed up through the day.

I conferenced with JD the night before and followed his advice, sprinting from the line in the Singlespeed Solo competition. I was second into the singletrack, following the eventual winner "Jimmy Bean"- that's what he said his name was- but not before he gapped me and put three or four riders from other races between us. Just as Coach JD predicted, I was a little frustrated trying to come around other riders on the first lap. It was on the second lap, when I botched my attempt to pass another rider, that I ended up on the ground for a moment and another rider in my race passed me. 3rd place. I held that placing through the first two laps, but JD, who showed up to help with the timing and scoring and to offer moral support told me I'd fallen back into fourth place by the start of the fourth lap.

I'd settled in after the initial laps, making sure to eat and drink adequately while on the bike, and stopping after the third lap to drink a coke and have an energy bar. Man, sitting down just then never felt so good. Thanks to the guys next to me for letting lay out my stuff on their tarp and giving me an extra GU packet for the road. I picked up the pace but this coincided with my Surly chain tensioner's balking at the length of this particular ride. It refused to hold tension and I stopped 5 times to coax the chain back onto the cog and ring. I rode two laps until I found someone with the 18mm cone wrench required to readjust the spring tension. I think JD must have sensed something because he came running over and offered to make any repairs for me, just as I took off from the pits. Back running at 1pm, I was trying to make the 2pm final lap cut off. Now, I was tired at this point but I was lucky to lead a Duo team rider on a full suspension, fully geared bike for half a lap and then follow his lead for another quarter of a lap. That pacing enabled me to make it to the parking area with 3 minutes before the cut off, and I set off on a looong sprint over the boggy ground. I poured myself into the final lap, sharing the pace again with a Lees-McRae rider for a while. JD told me later that I had fallen back into 6th place on lap 5, but somehow I managed to finish in 3rd. I know I caught a few singlespeeders on the last lap, including one who just let me by towards the end even though I had imagined having to sprint him to the line. I finished 5 minutes off from 2nd place; I think it's time for a new chain tensioning device.

All in all, it was a fun day. I was happy that I rode all the hills on the last couple of laps, especially the two whoops that had geared riders coming off their bikes. I got some props for riding the MB-1 solo from some riders at the end of the race. I'm pretty certain I had the only bike with a 1" headtube and lugs.


co2cycle said...

smAli (tm) is rippin' it to a podium placing.
You've earned yourself an upgrade to an ENO rear hub.

B Swad said...

Wow!!!Nice ride Ali. said...

smAli.....i love it! finally!! much better than Dr. 77, since he is rocking the MB-1. Mad props.

DukePirate said...

Great race and report Ali!