Best and Worst of 2011!

Wow.  Another racing year gone by.  (I’m not actually getting older though. I am a bit like Merlin, getting younger all the time.)

We have always played a game with the family at dinner time.  It was called Best and Worst.  Everyone had to tell what the best part of their day was and then what the worst part of their day was.  You know, kind of a conversation primer, like you prime the snowblower.  It helps it all get moving.  Otherwise, we sit there and no one tells anyone about things or brings up topics or stops slurping their soup long enough to engage the fam.  As you can imagine, there are some serious Facebook pages that need to be updated.

So, I thought I would do a list of a few of the best and worst things to my racing year.

Worst. (I like to start here.  Save the good stuff for last, I like desert at the end.)

1.  I came a solid 2nd place in the +40 class.  I was 2nd overall last year as well.  But, last year was a better year for me.  Last year, John Buechner and I split the local HS races nearly right down the middle.  He won 6 and I won 5.  We finished on 5 separate occasions literally right on top of each other.  We were banging into each other at the finish chute.  It was super exciting racing a 2 hour race right on top of each other.  For most of that season, John and I were so evenly matched that it was coming down to who got the start.

This year, John stepped it up a notch or I got old.  (Not sure which)  Where we were evenly matched last year, it is not so anymore.  This year, he was clearly faster than me.  He won every race and I was either 2nd or 3rd.  I have work to do for next year.

2.  I cannot start any more.  I was dead last into the 1st or 2nd turn at least 6 times this year.  Somehow, I cannot get my bike started on the line any longer.  I used to be 1st off the line.   hmmm…

3.  Scott got hurt riding his MTB bike early in the year.  I became a 1 man team after that.  I still had fun going to the races and seeing people there.   But, part of our fun has always been training together, driving to and from races together, sharing race stories, working on bikes together etc…  Looking forward to Scott being healthy this year.

4.  I only did 3 GNCC races.  Mat did not go to as many, Scott was hurt etc…  It is hard to drive halfway across the country all by yourself.

5.  On a training day in May, I smashed my little finger on my right hand really hard on a tree.  It burst open, busted up some tendons etc…  It hurt like hell, and probably should have been stitched and operated on.  It wasn’t.  Unfortunately, that means I have limited mobility in my little finger on my right hand.  Makes it hard to hold small things in my hand, hold on to the bars etc…

6.  My race at Byron…Bonehead.

Best

1.  I had 2 really exceptional races and they were at GNCC races where it counted.  I was 4th in the +40 class at the Ironman GNCC in Indiana.  If you are going to do well at a GNCC, that is the one that you want to.  It is the best course of the year, has the best crowd, the best dirt etc…  It was a fantastic day.

The 2nd of my really good races was at Loretta Lynn’s, where I won the +40 class.  After trying to be competitive at GNCC races for years, all of a sudden I had 3 top 5 races, one of them a win.  On the strength of that, I got into the top 10 overall for the year.  I would still have a long way to go to winning my class overall, but I would love to try again.  If you missed the original Loretta story, you can get it hereHere is a little video from it.

2. Perry Mountain 24hr Challenge.  Scott and I raced a Duo team at the race the first weekend of June in Alabama.  Yep that is right.  We ended up 5th out of 27 duo teams, and came very close to being on the podium.  We felt really good about that, and know where we messed up.  So of course we are planning to go back to try to do better.  I cannot wait.  Here are a couple of stories about it.  First story is here.  I got fascinated with how much I consumed during the race.  It was a lot, read it here.

3. In April I rode the citizen race at Paris Roubaix in northern france.  It was crazy fun and hard. 

4. In February, I made a trip south.  Rode at Randy Hawkins place, and did the Sandlapper National enduro.  Read about it here and here.  For a Wisconsin boy, getting to race and ride in the winter is a big deal.  And, I rode at Randy Hawkins place.  If this is not a charmed life, I do not know what is.

I have alot of great things in my life, hard to say what the best is, but racing my motorbike is pretty high.

Here is to a great 2012.  Cheers.

Joe

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