It was a 72 hour interval of sorts…squeezing a boat load of work into a Thursday AM, boarding a plane that afternoon for Vegas, doing my thang with my company then getting back on the plane Friday evening and getting home at the crotch of dawn only to wake in a matter of hours to somehow summon the racing mojo.
Breath…lay back…feel your wife next to you in bed as your ears ring and finally the sleep comes…
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
The alarm clock registers, my eyes flash open, sunshine already outside, and I jump up thinking I am late for my meeting. But I see where I am. I smell the coffee being made downstairs and I smile. I’m home. I made it. And while waking was near heart attack-instigating, what motivated me to put both feet down on the floor was the most exciting day in Boulder for me personally since moving here:
The Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Valmont Bike Park! Oh, and a cross race…<wink>
I spent the AM with the fam fueling up on home made pancakes and thinking about the day ahead. I’d just got in from a trip, have this huge day ahead of me and then need to flip it back to the homestead to immediately get showered, dressed up and out the door with my lady for a surprise night out in Denver.
The DBC Events crew, Chris Grealish, Brook Watts, Joe DePaemelaere and an army of volunteers spear headed by Pete Webber, Bobby Noyes and work crew chief John Bevans slaved for two days to assemble the exhibition course we’d be racing on. I rolled in later in the morning as the activity was already under way and simply looked around. I could not believe my eyes. Even while under construction, with bald mountains and tons of dirt still needing to be placed and shaped, I could see it. I could see just how magical this place will be…
Pre-riding the course we all had smiles. If you were a mountain biker you were in heaven on this fairly technical course. Big tires were a necessity and this past week I had Mike Doyle at BCS dial in a pair of Tufo Dry file treads in 34 for me. Balloon tires! They felt like they were made for Colorado and this course in particular.
After my warm ups I sat silently in the BCS tent and just took it all in. The people were happy, kids were everywhere, we were crossing on ‘hallowed’ ground. Life is good. I sat back in a folding chair and popped open for the first time ever…
OK, typically I’ll have a gel, maybe a bar before a race. I literally had this can of Monster collecting dust in the fridge for months. One of those artifacts from an event in the past that I never used and sat neglected out of site in a tray in the fridge’s nether regions. I popped that beast open and put some back. It…tastes like….burning. By 10 minutes before the race I feel like I am on meth, not certain if I’ll hear the official say ‘go’ off the line let alone if I’d do a simultaneous vomit/diarrhea while waiting for the whistle. Heed my advice: this is the devil’s elixir.
I line up with all the boys under the Clif start. It’s a big field and everyone is amped to go. There I am on the start line like an addict. Head humming, leg twitching due to the green poison I’d ingested. Friends are talking to me and I’m responding like a coked up fiend with quick answers, laughs and general idiocy.
We get the whistle to go and I have one thing on my mind: Go! I’d been complaining incessantly of having cleat/pedal contact issues on remounts and occasional starts and well whaddya know, it happened again…
I thankfully recovered pretty instantaneously and give it a go. The course was a mixture of freshly dug out trail plus sections of bush whacked forest. It made for a hard yet twisty course albeit with tons of bumps and the continuous need for control and flow. On the first lap, Moots strong man Glen Light took a flyer and strung us yet I could feel the hounds on us. I decided to up the tempo and pulled the group around for a lap. Fairly instantaneously it was me, Ryan, Dennis, Brian, Mike and Jeff. We were gone.
And then I got stupid.
Lap 2 it’s the same order. I am still pulling. Lap 3 same thing. Nearly all of lap 4 the same. I feel good and turn around to take stock. No one is coming around. What I fail to realize is that this is Colorado. And the guys I race every weekend are…fast. And more importantly…smart. I’d put in an effort, turn around see heads down suffering and attack again. These guys would claaaaaaw back every time. Regardless how hard I’d hurt them, they’d bridge back. Bulls.
By the beginning of lap 5 I suspect Dennis had had enough of the interval session and got out front. We all were a giant train sitting fairly OK until some new and significant attacks came and I paid for my earlier sins and faded. Jeff was with me and we traded work on lap 6 and he put in a punch and with it a gap. I clawed back got back to him and push passed with Jeff saying “…Nice!”. That was rad Jeff.
Last lap Jeff and I converged on the run up, crowds cheering and we both gassed it trying to scramble for that precious inside line. Jeff squeaked passed and got the gap when I freeeeking bunged the remount with another slipped pedal! ARRGH! That little gap was it. The group of 4 (Dennis, Brian, Mike and Ryan) pushed it to the line with
Dennis taking a hard earned “W”, Jeff floating in for 5th with me trailing in seconds thereafter for 6th. What a rad race.
I sat afterward and could feel the effort and my head swirling with the green crap still floating in my veins. Not sure if I’ll ever do that again. Moreover I though about all the little pieces that have to come together. It’s amazing to think of all the little tiny parts of a race when you decompose it afterwards…especially those parts you contribute. Each little mistake adds up and those that make the fewest win. It’s an awesome game we have.
This park is going to shine. It is going to be the place I get to do hot laps with my boys. Where many Wednesday Worlds will be held with no hiker.dog walker conflict. It is ours and we pushed hard for it. Racing on it was so sweet.
And yes, I made it home in time to scoop up my beautiful wife wife for our Denver night out. And it was gooooood. I knew you were keeping tabs.