CVO was rippin' like a madman today. While he didn't ultimately win his grudge match with JP, he came pretty darn close! Nice racin' brother!!
On a perfect April day, we raced at Lake Manawa today. The first race of the 2007 MetrO Mountain Bike Series. The guys at Highgear and Trek Store Omaha put the race on, and by all accounts it was a resounding success. Great work to all involved with the race.
What made me most stoked about the race was the awesome turnout for the kids race and the beginner classes. It was inspiring to watch kids with big smiles ripping up the singletrack. They handled the kids race so that a parent got a free race entry with each kids race entry -- an awesome idea. In addition to the number of kids, I couldn't believe how many moms it seemed were also racing. That was without a doubt the highlight of the day for me.
The 'Advanced' race went off at 2:30pm, and we were in for two laps of the super fun Manawa course. On my El Mariachi and in Team MWC all-black today, I took off from the gun, leadin' it out. My bike was dialed -- the fast Manawa course and sandy soil loves 29ers. Soon, my GBs KW and the smooth-riding Nate Woodman pulled up on my back bumper. It was a three horse race...
Or so it was for 3/4 of the first lap, until I landed hard and burped air from my rear tire (yes, I was running too low pressure for the airtime at Manawa). Crap.
Now with about 18psi in my rear tire, I continued to lead for a while, which was sketchy to say the least. The rear end was all over the place. I had to stop and give 'er a blast from my trusty CO2. So I stopped, fumbled around for the CO2, said a little prayer, and pushed the head onto the valve. Pfffffssssttttfffff...... it worked.
So at about 60psi, I wasn't in any jeapordy of burping (I started the race with 30psi in the tire), but man, does a 29er ride different with 60psi in the rear! It was cool tho, the rear tire was stepping out, flattrack style with my 30psi Ignitor in the front confidently leading the way. Fun, fun, fun.. but as I rode alone in third place, I could often catch glimpses of Nate and Kevin ahead of me. I had counted off 15 seconds during my little rear tire debacle, so by my count, that was what I needed to make up. Except on a singlespeed, on a super flat course, sometimes extra speed is hard to come by. So I pedaled my ass off and did my best to keep as much momentum as possible in the corners...
It didn't work. I got to being able to count them off at ten seconds, but couldn't get any closer... Oh well. Third place is good. I like third place... Wait... What's that? Shit, Woodman's on the side of the trail wrestling with an innertube. All the sudden I'm bummed for him. He was riding so comfortably on KW's wheel. All I could say as I passed was that I was sorry that happened, and that he was riding like a fucking stud. Have you ever seen that guy corner a bike? It's like poetry in motion. I love riding with Nate. It reminds me that I can still aspire to be a better, smoother bike handler.
KW knew what was up. He'd won the war of attrition. There was no catching him. It was fun to watch him ride by going the opposite direction to me near the finish, jersey zipped up with his signature big smile spread wide across his face, powering to the line. All that was left for me was to hit the jump at the finish with plenty of speed, and Adrian O. from Team Fire was able to capture it (above). Thanks Adrian!
Unfortunately for Nate, his QR skewer threw him some hijinx and he had to search around in the dirt for a bit to find it... Talk about crappy luck. But that's racin'. He'll likely school us next week. Because that's how racing is. I love it.
On a completely unrelated note, Laura and I spent some time at Tucker's grave last night, and while I don't know if the pain of losing him will ever fully cease, we are also remembering all of the incredible adventures we had with him during the 11 years he was with us. Our other pets are clearly missing their fearless leader too, but their need for extra love right now works well with our need to give them extra love right now. Thank you to everyone whose thoughts were with us during this time -- it is very much appreciated.