Me and Kirt role into Wawayanda at about 7:45 am, for those keeping score at home this is my 9th race this year. They park us along the road heading toward the beach area. This makes for a very convenient pit as you make the turn of the lap. Not having to drag my 500 lb. cooler two miles up the road made me very happy. Also it gives you the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, when you're done your race and changing out of your bib shorts you can stand there bare assed and cheer other racers on at the same time.
The warm up is more about trying to calm the jitters before the race
then about getting the legs ready to tear into the single track. We are
gonna be on our bikes for over 5 hrs. After some race instruction by
Jeff we line up by category and start the 50.
The open men go off first and then us 45+ guys start 5 minutes behind
them. Me and teammate Clapper stay together with the plan to keep it
dialed back at tempo on the flats and fire road climbs but push a little
in the tech stuff to flow through the rocks. This worked until about
pickle were the course began to get gummed up with guys off there bikes.
With Clapper behind me I was riding aggressively yelling UP UP as I
approached people fumbling through rocky sections. UP UP is my nice way
of saying get out of my way and it seemed to work. I made it
through pickle and rattlesnake cleanly but when I looked back Clapper
was not with me any longer.
Kris Weber became my riding partner up rattlesnake, he made an Aerosmith
reference when he mumbled rattlesnake shake. At the time I just heard
him say Aerosmith rattlesnake. Aerosmith Chip Away at the Stone would
have been more accurate at wayway. For the record Mama Kin is my
favorite Aerosmith song. Ok lets move on.
So me and Weber are trading places back and forth for like the next 10
miles. Coming into sitting bear I decide to thrown it down, its so much
fun bombing down into it in this direction. I've done this section
enough times to know the lines but still dab in a few spots. Coming out
of sitting bear and heading toward the aid station I put a gap on Weber
and a few others that I was riding with. These guys find me again on the
climb up red, my chain popped off when I downshifted and they pedalled
I put the chain back on the ring and continue the climb up red behind
Weber and crew. At the top I decide to pull out ahead and bomb the
downhill, another section I know well and feel confident with carrying
speed. As I take off Kris stays right behind me all the way to the
bottom and as we make the hard right to the punchy climb I hear Weber
yell from behind me have a good race Chris I'm out. But at first I
didn't know what the hell he said. After I continued on and realized he
wasn't behind me my brain pieced together Weber's message. After the
race he told me he double flatted, bummer.
Alone again I roll the rest of the way solo and finally come to the
start finish. The last few miles of the lap seem to drag on forever, its
always more fun when you're riding with someone. At the start of the
next lapped I rolled along with one of the VTC/Bike tech guys, I didn't
get his name. But it made the time go quicker and we pushed a good tempo
pace to keep from lagging on the second lap. We stayed together until
the climb up to lookout, at the top my VTC friend was not in sight so I
bombed down and headed toward pickle.
This time this section hurt more, I didn't have the energy to power
through the tech stuff and had to dial it back. Pickle then the climb up
rattlesnake took a lot more effort then the 1st lap. Despite the
fatigue I felt no cramps and was still passing people along the way.
There were sections on the course that I saw no one for awhile and I
would panic until I saw an arrow indicating that I am was going the
right way. Occasionally I encouterd hikers that seemed befuddled. One
woman asked me inquisitively as I rode by Is this the end ? Not knowing what to say I shot back just as inquisitivley of the world?
Finally I caught up to someone in team colors, Santalucia. 26er is a
real good technical rider but his tank was running low and I ended up
passing him. As encoragement he gave me a heart felt fuck you as I
passed. This seemed to work, passing 26er made me feel good. He also
told me Kirt was about 1 or 2 minutes up the trail and he didn't think
there were many 45+ guys up ahead. Suddenly there seemed like light at
the end of the tunnel.
So with thoughts of placing well in 45+ in my head I continued on
through fisherman's with renewed vigor. Coming out of the turn I hit the
gas and my chain just went clunk. I looked down and saw my derailleur
dragging on the ground and in and instant my strong finish was smashed.
I walked out to the fire road and wished 26er luck as he passed me and I
stood there with my useless bike. I took note of the time and waited
for the next 45+ guy to come through so I would be able to reference
myself with his finish. Clapper rolled by me 9 minutes later, which was
good enough for him to get 4th place at the finish line.
So I guess I would have finished 4th if I didn't break my derailleur,
but I guess a lot of other guys who had mechanicals could have also said
the same thing. oh well. The funny thing is with very little endurance
training this year I was pretty much putting in the same finish I had as
last year, 4th place. The thing that helped me this year was I felt a
lot more comfortable in the tech stuff. I really enjoy the big 25mile
laps as well, it feels like your going on an adventure when you start
the lap. I wish they had this race again in the fall, it sucks that I
have to wait until next year to do this again.