Thursday, May 6, 2010

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

So last fall I got this idea - that it would be the winter of the mountain bike. My slightly neglected, probably lonely mountain bike would finally be back on the trail. It would be happy and fulfilled. I would be fit.

But then this winter struck - and Bent Creek (where I habitually go, since it's soooo close) was under snow. For weeks at a time. But I didn't know this was going to what the *whole* winter was like back in February when I talked Emmie into signing up for 6 Hours of Warrior Creek as a duo.

So we were excited to be doing the race (my first mountain bike race since 2004, and my second mountain bike race since 1993. Seriously.) But we weren't feeling quite as prepared as one would hope.

Nonetheless, eaaaarly that Saturday morning, Emmie, my mom (for moral support, and because she doesn't like to miss a party), and I set off for Wilkesboro.

Here we are pre-race in the tent village (also known as the pit area.) We came up with one firm strategy - have fun, don't stress.

And here I am about to head out to the start. Note Big Bertha - my bike. She's a big girl. I actually had people marveling at the fact I was out there doing the race on such an old, heavy bike. Don't listen Bertha! Don't listen!

The start. You might notice it's just a big, fat mass start with about 300 people. Hmmm. I quickly developed a strategy for this also - stay out of the way. Considering I wasn't really trying to race hard, it seemed best to stay out of the scrum at the front. So I was in the back quarter of the field, and it worked out swimmingly. That also meant that I spent a goodly bit of the first lap at the end of a loooong caterpillar of riders in the singletrack, which caterpillar would sloooow down going up hill (when otherwise I might be semi-likely to pass someone), and speed up going downhill (where thank god a little bit of space would open up, since I'm not the best going downhill.)

But even with the congested first lap, and Emmie's flat from hell on her last lap (hole in the spare tube? check! crapped out co2 thingy? check!), we still had a great time. We definitely weren't the fastest team, but that wasn't the plan. We had a great time, mountain bike people are incredibly nice and cool, and now we're going back for more. That's right - now we've found two more friends and we're signed up for 12 Hours of Tsali. I'm telling you, we just can't get enough of this stuff.

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