(photos have captions)
Well my planning for the beginning of this race season has been poor. I initially thought I would be racing the early season endurance races with the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series but the first two races were circuit endurance races, six laps on a short course, not really any fun. Combine that with a lot of spring snow, giving up on training outdoors for a few weeks unexpectedly, I just had no interest…
I was a little worried about skipping these but my coach over at CTS actually commented that he was glad I wasn’t doing them just because they were there. Some think that doing a race is like taking medicine, sometimes you need it to get better. Unless you are good enough to be winning something, I call BS! Too many people take this sport too seriously! Outside of my day job that has me at a computer 50 hours a week, mountain bike racing is my hobby. All the riding and training I do is to minimize the suffering and maximize the fun out on course. If anyone ever catches me not returning a smile or laugh or lending a hand to someone needing help out on course, and especially not cracking a smile for a photog, yank my off my freakin’ bike and slap me around please!
So off the grandstand… I signed up for the RME Indian Creek race last minute. It is a new venue that I was looking forward to. I did a preride the previous weekend at a very low intensity (I had raced the Firebird40 the day before) I thought the course was very tough but also very fun. I figured I could manage three 18.5 mile laps with a total of nearly 12,000ft in elevation gain (somewhat disputed, but several clocked 4000 ft per lap and running it against the Garmin elevation correction 4000 ft is close to correct).
Well the race was this past Saturday. The start was stressful as this was a brand new venue some of the logistics were not hammered out. Race sign in took a bit longer for many, parking was tight, and the start was moved. The neutral start was not neutral, unless it was neutral in the sense that the pace car was supposed to do 30mph the whole way up the hill! I had not ridded the first part of the race since it had been rerouted and I’m not good at riding descending single track fast for the first time. The upside is no one asked to go around me, so I guess I was fast enough!
The first lap was a little shorter and went by fast at first, but the last 4 miles took the majority of the time as this is where most of the climbing happened. There was much more hike-a-bike than my when I did my preride, just too much traffic and trying to go around people walking was a waste of energy. I got through lap one without incident and headed out for the second lap.
The second lap was a full lap and covered a really fun descent, I think it was 1500 ft over less than five miles. Tons of fun! Then there was a section of fairly level but twisty single track through a big grassy prairie full of blooming flowers, beautiful! Then a challenging old service road climb to a descent into Roxbourough State Park where I came across a racer who had a bad crash. He was already being helped by two others but they requested I try to call for help, so I raced up the next climb to find cell service. When I got there another racer just made contact with 911, so I stuck around and tried to help explain our location.
I got going again trying to not think of the agony the other racer was in, he was messed up badly, and had to be airlifted out by mountain rescue.
Anyway the second time up the hike-a-bike climb out along the Colorado Trail, I started to have a bad feeling about the effort I was putting in and the plans I made to race the Gunnison Growler this next weekend. There were a lot of matches being burned… at some point I decided to pull the plug. I had not thought of or even prepared for this race, and it was definitely not one I could just walk up to and expect to survive. This is a no BS race, totally a legit MTB race.
So with that I finished my race after two laps and 8000 ft of climbing. Next year I’m planning on this one though!