|Tats and cheap beer - that's mountain biking|
A couple of weeks ago Sam and I drove over to Riverside Park in Spokane for the Round and Round 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race. I was joining four of my Cucina Fresca Cycling teammates in the five-man 250+ (combined ages) group. The 250+ was the oldest age group, yet it was one of the most competitive categories, who says older means slower.
|Dave coming in hot|
We had a prime spot (quiet, good view of the course) next to the Grouphealth women, who had fielded five teams for this event. No wonder they are the number one women’s team in the country.
Matt Nuffort, the top age group finisher at Ironman Canada last summer, started us off with the LeMans start, and despite a major mechanical he finished the first lap in the money and we simply continued turning in hot lap after hot lap. All of our lap times were consistently at sixty to sixty five minutes – not bad for a fifteen mile technical course.
The course was dry and fast, with a lot of gladed riding between rocky ups and technical descents. My Santa Cruz is geared for long cross country rides with a triple in the front; this proved to be a major advantage as I was able to spool up those 29 inch tires and really lay down some speed. I don’t know what I was doing, but I was doing it right, I felt unstoppable, I just kept picking up more and more speed.
I rode from day into night, and night came instantly – like a light switch had been turned off. My eyes hadn’t adjusted and I found the dark half of that lap a bit disconcerting. I was able to get a little sleep – maybe an hour – before it was time to get up, get dressed, eat, lube the chain and get to the handoff area. At a few minutes after two in the morning Peter rolled through the transition tent and I was off into the chilly darkness. This time my eyes were well-adjusted and my two headlamps provided just enough light for me to ride without concern. This was my first time mountain biking in the dark and it was strangely calming. My senses seemed overly acute and my mind super focused; my nighttime lap was only slightly slower than my daylight laps.
|Pro shot of Peter making the hand-off|
In the end we took third place behind two crazy strong teams. The first and second place teams were super competitive with everyone on their squad consistently laying down sub hour laps. This was my first time on the podium, and it felt good.
|You want some wine with that third place finish|