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.
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.
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?