Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #1 Merrit College
Category: 35 As
Place: 17/50ish starters
Teammates: Just me (TED BURNS) but BB drove with me and did the 35 Bs
Threat level was LOW today. I had planned this one well. BB's race was an hour before mine so by heading over at 7 AM, a time i am usually dealing with breakfast for two wildebeasts, or walking my dog we were loading the car and arguing if we had time for coffee. My race was not till 11 so I was going to be totally dialed in.
When we left the weather was cold and when we entered the Oakland Hills where this race was located it seemed to get worse with drops of rain staring to come down. This was a pretty big event for me since i was moving up to race with the 35 As which contains several Elite, Masters, and even former MTB World Cup winners like Don Myrah. I was hopping just to come in the to 50% so that by showing up each week i might get a call up at the end of the series.
I got in a few warm up laps and was boggled by the course. there were three straight sections none of which were over 400 yards. The rest of it was windy, rocky, dusty, and twisty. Tire pressure was going to be tough. There were so many turns and 180s and off camber turns you'd want low tire pressure but there were so many rocks that flats would take out the low pressure tires pretty fast. I opted to go with my back up bike on clinchers pumped to about 30ish. Probably too low but had to chance it.
At the start I didn't get a call up. So i was about 6 rows back in 40-50th spot. Total crap start but I had low expectations. I had a good warm up so was ready to go. I got a decent start and took off. Right away guys were popping out with flats. I was keeping an eye on my friend James Badia who also had a bad start spot so i figured he would be a good benchmark since he's talented in the dirt and fit even when he's not riding a lot. My mid first lap i saw former MTB Pro Myrah and former National CX Champ Justin Robinson out with flats.
I had the course dialed in okay and was over taking the occasional guy. I'm not sure how many I passed in the first lap but i must have made up some ground. Cause I could see the leaders at the beginning. It was confusing because I actually thought that the leaders were catching up to me, but i think the reality was guys who had flats were trying to chase and not catching back up. By lap 3 I must have been close to the top 10, I actually must have been in the top 10, as I came around the corner and saw James bloody and trying to fix his bike from a crash. That lap i flatted on a downhill 180 on rocks. It was retarded but hardly surprising. I lost 5-6 spots there but it was right by the pit so my change only took 30 seconds or so. My spare bike tire pressure was pretty low so i was going to have to be careful not to hit the rocks to hard so i had to ride more conservative.
I found my rhythm was screwed up after that but i got going again. James passed me as did another guy as i started to make a lot of mistakes on some of the run ups and failed to find the right line in some of the 180 sections. I think i got psyched out then fatigue just started to make me to stupid stuff.
By the last lap two cal giant guys caught me and i figured i was lapped. Turned out they were casualties (S. Reaney -National Elite Crit Champ who would go on to win the A's race on a mountain bike) from earlier in the race. When the results came in, the chip timing seemed to be a llittle off, i was in the top twenty which was one of my season goals. I suppose i can retire now. I'm hoping i can parlay that top 20 into a call up position the next race.