So we got our one hit of crack this season at the norba national race in Scottsdale, AZ. Our friend Dara refers to the series as being like crack or coke. It’s not really that great, but for some reason you get easily addicted and keep going back for more. And it tends to get quite expensive. The NMBS series also gets references to Brokeback Mtn. “I wish I could quit you” is heard regularly by the racing junkies in the parking lots and pits. Enough of that crap. The races cost 2 to 4 times as much as anything else out there and there are no prizes. So this season, we decided to do only one nmbs race.
Since Titus is in Tempe, it’s fun to travel there and see the craftsmen at work on the jigs as well as pick up needed parts. It’s also fun to go up there and put the wood to the truly local Titus riders. The smackdown came on Sunday.
My goals were: 1) A single digit finish 2) Go out easy but be in the mix with fast riders 3) Finish without cramping. I think I accomplished # 2 and 3. I ended up 10th. I was pretty cooked and about 4 hours afterwards, I had to mount up on the SS for the Super-D. I got caught on that, but finished in 3rd. Not that the Super-D mattered because the morons at Team Big Bear/Bluenutwolf Events failed to put together a true stage race with results for the single speeders. I got to spend Saturday doing some recovery riding and a good gear check on the XC course. I decided to run a 32×15. It was the biggest gear I had and was a bit worried about what might happen near the end of the race.
Saturday I also watched Jen suck dust in the Short Track. She hates those things and it was frustrating to watch her. As a former short track dominator in the old guy class, I try to help her as much as possible, but you gotta have power….and a power rider she is not.
Sunday morning I lined up with about a dozen single speeders…right behind the semi-pro category. Our race was the same length…3 laps. From the gun those guys were killing it. I tried to stay in touch, but I wasn’t cornering well and when I followed them up the climbs, they were going too slow for me. I kept getting bogged down and used way too much energy to crest the climbs. So I let the leaders go and rode my own race. During the second lap, I rode in 3rd and made sure I wasn’t behind many people when I went into the climbs. That helped me go quite a bit faster and maintain a good spin over the crest of the climbs.
Going into the third lap, I started to feel really good. I was catching sem-pros left and right. Some gave good drafts, but they’d always pull over just before I got fully rested. So I kept flying and about half-way into the last lap, I caught second place. I could see the leader in a few sections. With about 1000m to go, I saw that I was only about 6 or 7 seconds down. Going into the finish straight with 200m to go, my leader was only about 100m from the finish. I sprinted like mad and right as I entered the finish chute, I passed him! That had to be my best finish ever!
For the SS, I ran the new WTB Prowlers. They hooked up really well and were large enough to provide good rim protection in the rocks and good flotation in the sand. And this year it was rockier and sandier than ever before.
So my hit of crack was pretty good. Jen’s….well…it wasn’t so good. After rolling up into 15th place and closing the gap on about 4 more riders, her sweet carbon XO derailleur gave up the ghost. She walked the last 3 miles or so….and still didn’t finish last.
Other good things about our one hit of crack…..
- Having soon to be super mom Dara give me my feeds during the SS race
- Feeding myself during the marathon and being able to make it out of the feed zone faster than they guys I was riding with.
- Meeting a few new friends.
- Seeing old friends like Kevin T., Dusty, Ben, James V., and many others.