Raced at the rustic Coyote Hill venue this past Sunday- a day with two faces. We arrived to rain and 55 degrees, damn chilly when standing around in a T-shirt. Hmmmm, muddy conditions splattered the faces of Cat 2 racers and the guy who lost his vision while racing - heard he had a stroke - thank Godessence for ambulances. BY 1:30 pm, the day had swung to full on humid sunny conditions. Heat, eh? As I'm staged, Alan Moats makes a prophetic comment - "Hmmm, Al. That rear tire looks like it should be going the other way for the muddiness." I know he is using some sort of Zen like Obi-Wan Kenobi whammy on me. "Phft! Whatever."
The pros go off to a holeshot clusterF, some standing still while waiting for the weird to clear. Watching, I make a decision to keep the same from happening to me and when we go off, I'm out front making the holeshot and popping out the other side into a... field? Hmmm, note to self: pre-ride dummy! Yep, I hadn't been on this course-ever. I follow the likely leaders up the road climb and into the woods. "I'll just stay on their wheel and find the lines - kind of a learn as I go strategy. Smart." This works until I bobble at the end of the lap on a water hole with a muddy uphill exit. I'm cursing my over pumped fork and slipping rear tire... an extra 3-4 inches of over rotation accompanying each pedal stroke on the all the slight uphills. OK, I'll just get back on and that's when I realized I didn't have the juice, the mojo, the goods to do the do. I proceeded to hope that the others would come back to me or I'd speed up over the next two laps. "It'll dry out and they'll falter." Riiiight. That didn't happen and I was, well, humbled. Humbling is good for the soul. It kinda kicks cocky in the mouth and leaves you wandering around in a vague cloud of murk. On this day I gladly accepted my fate, bashing my head against assorted walls and finally consulting with my staff of scientists who monitor my body daily as part of the ever expanding knowledge base of Al Raine, MTB Racer.
Scientist One: "Our power tap montoring shows 700 watts for 2 minutes and then a gradual taper to zero watts by the finish line. Highly unusual!!!"
Scientist Two: "My review of heart rate montoring data reveals a spike at 30 seconds in and then gradual rising to double spike status by the end. The last reading of 574BPM is remarkable!!!"
Scientist Three: " The study of our GPS device exhibits usual magnetic activity which appears to have caused your bicycle to run backward for half of the race, which combined with your forward progress, means you actually rode for a distance 50% longer than the other racers. Astonishing!!!"
After hours of collaberation by the various scientists involved, the results were released, which stated, and I am not kidding here: "You didn't go fast enough to win, place or show, or maintain any semblance of dignity." Now there's science at work. How succinctlly put. MIT and RPI grads rock.
See y'all at Bear Brook. I'll be the guy with bells on.
2017 Vermont 50
3 weeks ago