Thursday, April 10, 2008
I had the itch to race my MTB this past weekend. So, when my friends Amanda (Fisher 29er team/Trek Store Columbus) and Joe (Trek area 106 regional racing team/Trek Store Columbus) decided to head down to Bryson City for the SERC AMBC race at Tsali trails I decided to join em. I did the 12 hour race down there last year and I knew the trail would be nice this time of year. Amanda was chasing down some points for her pro upgrade and I was just itching to ride my Superfly.
Well, Amanda and Joe drove down from Cincy and we headed off for the long drive to Bryson City. Along the way Joe and Amanda thought it was hilarious to make fun of my pasty white Irish, lack of sun, skin. What can I do? The drive down there is always long and it seems like there isn't a shortcut through those twisty mountain roads. After 7ish hours in the car we finally arrived at our hotel. We had 1 small room, 3 bikes, and tons of food and gear. We barely fit all our gear in the room. After we unpacked we headed over the course to do a pre-ride. It started to rain, rain, and rain. We decided to just return to the hotel rather than face a slow, muddy pre-ride.
We ate dinner at the hotel room and carbo loaded on pasta and whatever snacks we could put away. I didn't get much sleep that night. It was still raining when I went to bed and I was thinking it was going to be a long, muddy race. Well, the next morning it had stopped raining and the sun had come out. Thankfully, we were not racing until 1:30. Just enough time for the trails to dry out. The trail was surprisingly dry, a few large mud puddles here and there but nothing like the midwestern tacky, stick to your wheels mud. My nerves subsided when I realized I hadn't REALLY ridden my MTB since September of last year and it was pretty realistic that I'd be lucky to just finish. My new Superfly was out for her maiden voyage. Between selling off my old bike and our wedding last year my road fitness has greatly improved while my MTB fitness has been lackluster. In addition we had a long snowy winter followed by a super wet spring.
Amanda and I warmed-up and then headed to the start in what is the biggest field I have ever raced in, 17 expert/pro women. I got a crappy starting postition and ended up getting into a early bottle neck and hitting the singletrack 3rd from last. Oh crap. It was kinda game over for me then. I was hurting, my handling skills were just not there, my speed was slow. My Superfly was amazing and I was embarrassed to be riding something so light & fast, so slow. I passed a few women then they would pass me. I ended up finishing 11th expert & 14th overall. If not for my road fitness I don't think I'd have survived the 30 mi. race. Joe had the similar feeling I had after my race that we both just wanted to forget the race and move on. The trip turned out to not be a total bust, Amanda finished 3rd in expert women/6th overall. Now she is really to race with the big dogs. That is a dream realized for Amanda so A - take this moment to be proud of your accomplishments. Way to go A.