April 23 – Loretta’s minus 3 days

I am on the plane on my way back from a trip to Taiwan. Although this GNCC racing thing is a huge dealeo for me, I still have a family and a job that has to be attended to. This week I was in Taiwan for a few meetings and then home on Thursday. Friday, on the plane to Atlanta to head to Loretta’s race. I have gotten pretty good at avoiding the jet lag thing over the years, and keeping my biorythems on the US schedule. I know I will be a little bit tired, but I have 3 days to recover and be physically ready for Loretta’s.

You may know by ready Scott’s blog, that Scott cannot make it to Loretta’s. His damaged wrist from Big Buck, will keep him home. Hopefully it will be healed and ready by the time of the Penton race in Ohio. For now, I will head down to Loretta’s on my own. No one from home can go with me either, as both of my daughters have soccer games over the weekend, and my wife will need to be there as well. None of my friends are interested in going to the race, just so that I can have some company.

I will miss Scott at the race. He is my teammate and racing buddy, and on top of that we are just really compatible friends. We have similar habits as far as sleeping, eating and prep before the race etc… He even tolerates my need for a cup of coffee in the morning, although I know that he thinks I am being stupid over that. So I will miss all the shared experience of the GNCC scene together.

But, what I am really not looking forward to is the post race packing and cleanup, alone. I can handle the travel down to the race alone. I can handle the shopping at the store, getting supplies before hand alone. I can handle the finding the race and then finding a campsite alone thing as well. I can handle the race alone, after-all we have been doing our own pits etc… alone during the race. I can even handle the nearly 800 mile drive home alone after the race (Loretta’s is the last commute down race until the fall. The van and our bikes and gear will be back at home for the first time since February).

The part that I am dreading is the packing up of the campsite and my bike and the tents etc… at the race. OMG! Normally, Scott and I are both so worked after the race that it is a major major ordeal to get things packed up after the race. Sometimes just getting out of my race gear is a multistage, take something off – sit down and rest, rinse and repeat, affair. Getting the bikes loaded normally takes both of us, and a rest between and after. Hopefully I can find some other person near by to give me a hand with that. I imagine that I will get it all done, then drive a couple of hours to a KOA campground and get some sleep in the camper. Monday after the race will be a big drive day.

I kind of enjoy driving across the country. I love seeing the scenery, listening to music and the time to think on my own. It has been a while since I did that.

I think back now to our drive down to Florida at the end of February. Everything seemed so new and a huge adventure. Something that I don’t think Scott and I have felt for a long long time in our lives.

Enough of that. Loretta’s is coming! This is the oldest race in the GNCC series. It also uses the MX track from the amateur nationals. I get a few chills just thinking about it. Someone at Big Buck told us that Loretta’s has hills like Steele Creek did. I am not worried about that now – can it really be worse than Steele Creek?

It is normally hot and humid at Loretta’s. That would be a big change from what we have experienced with this GNCC thing yet this year. It has been generators with heaters running all night, fleece jackets, rain gear and mud boots at every race since Florida. Florida was warm, and I still remember that one night of sleeping in the camper there. If we get the traditional Loretta’s weather, it should be fun.

I hope/think I have finally figured the GNCC race out. Racing at home is all about the woods and maintaining a heads up pace in the woods. You stand up a lot and work your bike through the trees. Usually at a 2nd or maybe 3rd gear pace. GNCC racing is a lot different than that.

Last year I went out to California and did a WORCS race with Ty Davis. I thought at the time that those races were just long MX races. They covered all of a really technical MX course and then had a lot of wide whooped out straights in the woods and out in the open. I remember at the time thinking that GNCC racing wasn’t really like WORCS racing. And in the end, they are different. But, GNCC racing has a lot more in common with WORCS racing than it does upper Midwest HS racing. GNCC racing is fast, it is whooped out and it requires riding it a lot like an MX race. GNCC racing doesn’t have a lot of jumps, but other than that the pace and the courses are similar between GNCC and WORCS. Certainly the bike set up is similar.

But, GNCC is still harder. There is always mud and a GNCC race is 3 hours long. WORCS does have a manmade log pile/tire/rock section to get through, but only for the pros and there is never any mud. ALL GNCC races have mud, ALL racers hit the same obstacles as the pros AND pros/AA/A/B riders all race for 3 hours. It is grueling.

I cannot wait.

See you at the race.

Joe

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