With a lingering head cold, I wasn’t sure until Thursday or Friday if I actually wanted to do this race. However, I figured as long as I wasn’t coughing or feverish that I’d be alright.
So, I woke up at 4am Saturday morning and got on the road to Gallatin, TN (on the NE side of Nashville) to go ride in a race that I hadn’t trained for much at all. If anything, it’d give me a good benchmark so I’d know where I stand fitness-wise before embarking on my epic training schedule this December at the Syllamo trails.
Thanks to Cyclocrunk, I can now nail a LeMans start to the M.F.ing WALL! Because of that, I had good placing going into the singletrack. I started out quick, but was sure to not burn too many matches on the first lap. The course was fun- it featured a few rocky sections, drops, jumps, some wide switchbacks up & down some hills, and a couple of short, screaming descents. It was a 29er dream course for sure.
Speaking of… the new Air9 frame was great! I forgot to write about it, but I sealed up some new Maxxis Ignitor tires on Thursday, and they prettymuch rocked. For a sub-600g 29er tire, they’re nice & knobby! Personally, I’ll take a hit on rolling resistance for better traction any day. Bonus- my bike now weighs in at 23 pounds, 7 ounces…
Laps 1-3 feel great. I could see going in to lap 4 that I’d put some time on Laureen Coffelt (super endurance chick, also from Memphis). At that point, she was just emerging from the woods as I was re-entering. However, about a mile in, my back started to hurt really bad. I’m not really sure why- bike fit, camelback, hardtail, fitness… combination of all those? Most likely.
I had to slow down because every bump was sending waves of pain through my muscles. Somehow, I finished that lap. When I arrived back to the pits, I grabbed some asprin and slammed a Redbull with part of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. While I was stopped, Laureen passed me. After a quick stretch, I was just glad to be able to continue.
My last two laps were good. Good enough for me to hold on to 2nd place (about 6 minutes behind Laureen). I was a little dissapointed in myself, but didn’t worry too much about it. I think Laureen’s been at this since before I knew how to ride a bike, so to finish just 6 minutes back from her without any specific training is not a bad spot.
After the awards ceremony, I packed up & headed back to Memphis. BTW- driving 3.5 hours after riding for nearly 6 is Hell.