It was cold overnight. I went to pee at 4am and shivered myself back to sleep afterwards.
Race day today. We listened to the kid’s race on our battery powered radio while we ate breakfast then hurried over to see the sportsman classes battle for position after a typical GNCC serpentine, grassy field start.
The turns in the grassy fields do a good job of stringing out the riders before the course narrows so I can see why the courses start that way. After checking that out we looked for a mud hole that was reported to be a nasty one but never fount it. The creek jump was something we wanted to witness too but the sportsman classes were diverted around it. I took a good look at the ramp and felt comfy doing it again. It looked like it might get rutted in our race but I could opt out if things got bad.
Here’s a shot of a sportsman racer coming out of the creek crossing. That’s steam coming off his hot engine after riding through the cold creek water.
New lunch food today due to how much leftovers we had from the night before. I was a little nervous about that but it all stayed in and I felt fine during the race. I put my new in-race nutrition plan together right before the race and was still excited to see how that panned out. As I mentioned, I really wanted to feel better in the last hour of racing.
Race time. I got a decent start but benefited big time from a crash that happened in turn 2 where I slipped by 3 guys that were lying on the deck. I entered the woods in 5th and could see all four guys right in front of me for the first 15 minutes of the race. We went into a very narrow, no-quads-allowed woods section that limited how fast you could go. I was comfortable with the pace and started thinking I was in for a good day.
Near the end of the first lap had a whiskey throttle moment that sent my bike and me into the woods at a high rate of speed. I recall wincing, curling up into a fetal position and cursing all at the same time. I tumbled back out onto the trail and stood up. My right wrist hurt and I had mud on my gloves and left side of my goggles. After taking inventory of my body I looked for my bike. I took several steps back the way we had been traveling before I found it. My front fender had broken off. That was a pisser because the timing transponder is mounted to the front fender and I paid $50 for the damn thing. I got the bike out of the woods and stuffed the fender in behind my front number plate. I was only 5 minutes from the start finish and when I pulled into the timing tent I heard the beep that signals I was scored but there was no way I was going to ride with that fender stuffed in there all race so I yanked it out and tossed it to the side near the scoring tent.
In the two minutes that I rode from the scoring tent to where the van was parked I realized how crooked my front wheel was. Without a fender to block the view of the tire I could see everything that was happening up front. When I got to the van I stuffed my front wheel in between the van’s rear wheel and the wheel well and straightened out my front end. Because I had stopped anyhow I took on some food and a drink then rejoined the race.
Much to my frustration I had another crash in the second lap. Again off my bike and again having to check to see that my body still functioned. I going again but this second crash got me thinking about why I’m making so many little mistakes in these GNCC races. It’s a bummer to list fewer mistakes as one of my goals when Joe and I discuss our hopes for the weekend. What’s going on? Some of it is physical because I don’t have any practice time on my bike at all this year. I’ve raced four, 3-hour races and haven’t been on my moto between any of those races to keep or get sharp. But more worrying to me is the mental aspect. Do I get intimidated by the faster guys? Am I just a number in this big school of fish whereas last here in local D16 races I was the fast, consistent guy? Not sure but it will be something to think about over the next few weeks.
The rest of the race was hit and miss. I had no idea where I was in my group because my transponder wasn’t with me anymore. Parts of the course I was confident and fluid and other parts I stumbled. But my nutrition study was a huge success and I feel much better now (several hours after the race) and I had energy in the closing minutes of the race. All good news.
But that creek jump got the better of me on the last two laps. All the traffic had carved a pit out of the face of the jump so when I hit the pit before launching the bike pitched ass of tea kettle and had me worried I was going to endo into the creek or opposite bank. I gave the jump a pass on my final two laps.
Here’s me after the race. Note missing fender and snot on face.
When I crossed the line I was told I was 6th. That’s not so bad as far as points go but what if I hadn’t crashed and come undone mentally? Things to work on.
This round was by far the best course we have raced. A long lap, great dirt, fun challenges, tight woods – all enjoyable. Joe said the same.