What The F*#k, And Other Observations Regarding Mountain Bike Racing

So I tried my hand at mountain bike racing at the God’s Country Duathalon (Lawrence Kansas is a long way from what I would call god’s country).  I’ve never done a real mountain bike race before, for one I don’t own a mountain bike and honestly I’ve never much had an intrest for the whole idea to begin with.  That said, I ran across a race fliar for the God’s Country Duathalon and MTB race with a note saying it was cyclocross bike friendly. Sweet, now I don’t have to wait until September to race my new ‘cross bike.  That said, is it really a mountain bike race if your riding a cyclocross bike?

Seeing the flier with the note about being “‘cross friendly” really perked my interest, I decided to do the race and skip the duathalon, I have even less interest in running. Anyway, what the hell, I’m not doing anything else on Saturday afternoon.  So as usual, I leave late and get to the course with hardly any time to spare.  I quickly sign up for the beginner class, along with several others who probably don’t have a drivers license yet.  I think I asked for the group for people who don’t know what they are doing and shouldn’t be out here.

Looking fresh fast and blood free.

#306 looking fresh, fast and blood free.

I get off with a killer start, I’m flying along like a pro, delusions of grandeur already passing through my head.  I manage to hold the lead for the first mile, and I’m still feeling great, like I’ve been training for this race, which I haven’t.  A couple people squeak by me, but I keep them right in front of me, let them do some of the work, still feeling good, we end up catching the group who went off  a minute before us.  Passing is more difficult than I imagined, lots of trees and gnarly looking rocks and such.  Oh crap, someone stopped dead in their tracks right in front of  me on a steep incline totally killing my momentum forcing me off my bike letting more people by.  I manage to catch most of those who got by me, and I’m still feeling good.

The next thing I notice is a yellow jersey flying through the air coming off a jump in the middle of the course drifting right towards me as if he is a magnet and I’m a refrigerator door.  He hits me, hits me really f*#king hard, driving me into a tree the size of a telephone pole, adding insult to injury we’re rear-ended by the guy following us.  I don’t actually fall down, I smash into the tree somehow staying upright while dumb and dumber are sprayed out on the ground behind me.  I hear, “Is everybody alright?” coming from the bottom of the pile.  I’m still a bit confused, why am I bleeding and fused to a tree, but nothing seems to be broken.  I straighten out my break hoods and try to take off, when I notice my back wheel isn’t spinning, the break pads are now wedged under the rim.  Fixing this takes ages, in fact I think I’m still fixing them it took so long.  Meanwhile everyone is passing me; women, children, and people who accidentally entered the race thinking it was a charity ride.

I had some work to do, catch the flying man in the maillot jaune for one.  I manage to catch the children and the overweight guys in baggy shorts, basketball shoes and flat pedals.  Then I hit a root on a downhill and tumble ass over tea kettle I believe the term is.  I manage to get my leg caught in the curvy part of my handlebars while somehow still clipped in.  It took time to extricate myself out of this position, did I mention my bike is on top of me?   A feat the Great Houdini would be proud of.  Now I have to catch people again, I’m sure they think that the dude in the pink jersey who they keep passing while hugging trees is a total idiot.  At this point I would tend to agree with them.  Thank god there were no cameras to record any of this.

I finish the remanning several miles of the race without incident (not hitting trees, or people in yellow jerseys) with a nice stream of blood trickling down my legs and arm, somehow finishing in what I believe is 5th place.   I’m not going to complain, that’s better than I thought I’d do.

Badge of honor or biohazard?

Badge of honor or biohazard?

I found blood on the frame and break leavers when I got the bike home, I’m not washing it off!

Chicks dig scars, right?

ct

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