OK, let's get the wussiness out of the way first. I hab a code. I hab boogies ib by nobse. But seriously, i felt the joints starting to ache something fierce Thursday and Friday and when I woke up the AM, the throat was all nice and swollen. But moreover, the boogs were fierce. I mean, I had a veritable plate...not unlike an orthodontic retainer of booger...that I somehow extracted from my pie hole and shot in the sink which, when it hit the porcelain, created an audible klink!
Hell yeah I am racing today!
Today's race was in the land of God, Guns, the Air Force and Olympic Training Center: Colorado Springs. 2 hour drive there (and back) from Boulder for a 45 minute race. I've clearly got to love this sport.
With my sinuses pounding, I did some warm ups and ironically the legs felt responsive. I pushed a bit harder on the warm ups and still....good sensations. Game on boys! The course today was interesting. Classic CO course with lots of dry dirt paths, massively bumpy singletrack with bumpy apexed turns and run ups with potentially ankle turning pot holes. There was an opening loop they threw in from the start line that measured a 1/2 mile I'd guess which we'd only do on the opening lap. It was a long dirt path that I KNEW would actually set the order of the day (and it would turn out to be that way...) if you did not get good positioning before the loop finished ad threw you into the courses. I pre-rode my Challenge Grifo XS file treads but it was an absolute day for 34's...so I ran the Typhoons on the A and B bikes.
We had most of the hombres there today save for Pete, Whit, Jon, Jeff W. Hogan and Timmy. More importantly, my main man Karl Kiester, all around hard man and a guy I truly look up to, toed the line with us.
We lined up in lines of 3...literally Ward, JJ and Jared were the front row, then the Spike team's Brian M and David O and my main hombre Matty Opp....and finally me in the 3rd row. Oy. Upon the tweeeet, we actually had some rational thought up front with Ward set a sensible tempo around the start loop (which included quite a bit of elevation gain)....but I am STILL in like 10th or so around this large loop. Dennis Farrell is behind me and the guy is like a Jedi Knight. You ALWAYS pay attention to Dennis 'cause his race smarts are longer than ANYONE's and he gets it done. So I mark him and he jumps and I follow....essentially moving into the top 5 into the single track and essentially the 'beginning of the race'.
We all funnel into the singletrack and motor through to the first barrier. Dennis bunny hops this thing...on an uphill slope...and me, Ward, JJ follow and essentially get a gap right there and then. We traverse the whole course through the start/finish and I am with Ward and he turns around to see me and gives me the thumbs up. I am getting feelings of re-living Chatfield from a few weeks ago...replacing Whit for Dennis. 1/2 way through the 2nd lap an attack goes of... a punch of about 5-10 seconds and man, that was THE gap. For the rest of the race. EVERY lap I saw JJ, Dennis and WB in nearly the exact place at the exact ti,e...roughly 40 seconds by finish. By mid way through I am racing extremely clean and I am happy. I star to take chances through this massively bumpy apexes and madly 'burp' my tubular....by burp I mean roll this thing so heavily over that it makes that God awful....fraaaaap noise. Every lap after that I take it gingerly albeit carving smoothly and the Dugasts never fail (mainly BCS's Mike Doyle's glue job never fails!).
2 to go and Green Mountain's Ross D bridges up and like a pro punches it at exactly the right time and holds his 10 send gap amazingly. I was waiting for ANY slip or bobble and I'd attack but homie was smooth and kept his gap consistently. Again, when you race 35 A's, let's just say speed + experience = extremely tough situations to gain places.
Last lap and my good bud Stephen Oliver bridges amazingly. A great effort. We come through the start/finish together and I give him a slap on the back and let him pull through. We come through that up hill barrier together....we all by this time followed Dennis' lead and bunny hopped it lap after lap...but as we come n to this section, we are about to lap a rider right at the barrier. I get Dennis-like Jedi thoughts to not hop but run it as this was going to be dicey...three abreast. I hop/run through a clean line and Stephen t-bones the guy and I hear 'that sound'....frraaaarghooomph! Stephen gets the wrath of the barrier. So (sorry Stephen) I punched it. I try to bury it to Ross and he finished that EXACT 10 seconds in front in 4th, me in 5th.
Not a bad day considering the booger plates and sinuses. I'll take it.
Click on Matty Opp's picture below to see more of Ultra Rob's stellar photos. All photos above are also Ultra Rob's!
And Jim from SRAM was out racin' and shootin' and sent me these great pics!