On the path to enlightenment... (photo: Mitch Kline -- www.mitchkline.com)
Despite the cold and windy conditions, a strong contingent of racers showed for the first Psycowpath Series race of the season, held at Tranquility Park in Omaha. Kent McNeill showed us all why he's the Boss right now, and (from what I hear) basically rode away for the unchallenged victory. Nice ridin' Kent.
My initial lap of the race was spent trying to figure out how hard I could push myself in the cold. My achilles tendon has been hurting a bit, and I didn't stretch well prior to the start. About 1/2 way up the starting climb, I was feeling it. By half-way through the lap, I was sitting on the ground beside the trail stretching, watching the bulk of the sport class stream by me.
"OK, so I'm on more of a leisurely cruise," I thought to myself. So I got back onto my bike and started to pedal. I stopped to talk to Hoss about 30 seconds later, figuring what the heck... I've already lost this much time. So Hoss and I chat for a bit, until I recognize a familiar Dos Niner ride by. "Hey, I wonder if that's Bruce Brown," I said aloud. Hoss had no idea what I was talking about.
Now Bruce and I know eachother -- we have for at least a couple years. But we've never actually talked in-person. Our communication to this point has been on MTBR.com. So while I thought that might be him, I was definitely not sure.
So I tell Hoss, "dude, I gotta run and catch up to this guy," and I took off in hot pursuit. And after probably pulling my least graceful pass of the race on a mid-pack sport racer (sorry), I caught up to his wheel.
"Hey, are you Bruce Brown?"
So that's how we finally met in-person. We rode together and chatted for a while. I noticed how amazingly color-coordinated his Dos was. Amazing attention to detail... Nice. And as I rode along chatting with Bruce, I realized that my achilles was no longer giving me grief. Like, no pain at all...
So with a quick "on your right," I upped the tempo, bid adieu to my new old friend Bruce Brown, and set off to reel in as many people as I could in the remaining laps. I'll be interested to see how the lap times work out, but laps 3-5 were pretty good for me, with lap 5 being my strongest of the race. Actually worked my way back into the expert field. In the end, I think I finished somewhere around 10th place in my class -- and I had a big smile on my face at the finish, because it was fun.
A big thank you to all who helped put the race on this weekend. It was very well run, and every single person I talked to after the race was super stoked, despite the nasty cold and biting wind. Kudos.
As always, I'm extra thankful to Salsa Cycles and Monkey Wrench Cycles for their support of my riding and racing. My Dos Niner was flawless during the entire race -- wish I could say the same thing about my body. That'll come around.
Finally, Ryan Feagan sacrificed racing to step up to mic and play commentator -- and he was GOOD. In fact, it's not an understatement to say that Ryan was the reason I finished the race. On two of the five laps I was pretty much convinced I was going to pull out of the race and pack it in for the day, but each time Ryan said something that inspired me to continue on.
Ryan's one of the good guys... And while he may not always be front-and-center with the spotlight on him, Ryan is a big reason why the Psycowpath Series is at the heart of mountain bike racing in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. Thanks Ryan!
With races both days this coming weekend, I'm hoping the forecast of consistent rain this week won't materialize. We'll see...