Brian Ellin and I rented a car Saturday afternoon and floored it to Bend, Oregon for the Chainbreaker mountain bike race last Sunday.
Long story short, I rode from our hotel out to the race course and got a little lost, I did however get a great 1.5 hour warm up and then barely made it to the race registration. The start was fast and painless, I remembered last year going out too fast and then totally blowing up with an hour to finish.
This year, I paced myself. I actually wore a heartrate monitor too. I sat in the first ten for the fast start loop and started moving up on a couple riders I knew I could hang with. Then I got the first flat, in this silly snaking whoop-dee-doo (bet you never thought you would see that spelled out) section.
I figured, “Hey, it is early in the race, I’ve got 2 hours to make up 5 minutes. No problem.” Well, I broke my pump and got barely enough air into the tyre to start riding it. I hopped back on knowing that I would likely flat again and…
… I only brought one spare tube. I hoped I would make it to the staging area and be able to snag a pump and tube off of someone at the finish area. But I flatted again. Racing to make up time and babying a soft tyre does not equate. So, I triedn shouldering my bike, that hurt and was pretty akward. So, I ran on the trail, asking every rider who passed me for a spare tube.
And then, a tall masters racer actually stopped, pulled out a tube and gave it to me before jamming off to latch back onto the group he was with. “I hope someone does this for me sometime!” were the only words I heard from him.
Whoever you were, thanks a million! My DFL would not have been possible without you!
Another round of thanks goes out to all the expert and masters racers who let me sneak past them during the race. I know it is super annoying to have some jerk racer who thinks they are fast trying to blast past you on single track while you are working hard. I tried to be super polite to everyone I passed. So, thanks. Really! I kinda felt stupid chasing what I figured was a huge time gap, knowing I would likely not catch even the tail end of the semi-pro race yet, not wanting to sit-up and give up the chase.
So, in closing, I am bummed I forgot those “anti-heat-cramping” pills Matt Slaven gave me like a year ago. I have never ever had on the bike cramping before. I passed 2 riders in the final few miles and then, just after the 1K sign, they roll past me bowled over on the ground punching both my legs, trying to get them to unseize! It was hilarious. I felt strong but, my legs were locked up! I must have drank 3 water bottles too! So, here I am laughing at myself, yet kinda in pain and punching my thighs and these 2 guys just roll past me swearing and laughing.
I finished and the official Veloshop tally looked like:
Patrick Wilder in 3rd, Expert.
Steven hunter, 2 flats.
Brian Ellin, 1 flat, 1 bloody nose.
Erin Playman in 4th, Sport.
I rode back in to town and enjoyed some pizza with the team before hammering back to Portland in the rental. A poor result, yet a great day of riding.
Basso will win it. I predict the double.