Tuesday, July 31, 2007

NMBS#5: Sugar Mountain National, Banner Elk, NC: July 28-29, 2007

Well, I finally made it to Boone, North Carolina where we were hosted by the marvelous Dave Frye, whom we met in the Trans Rockies last year. Unfortunately his wife Beth was off road racing, but it was still amazing to finally make it there almost a year after the initial conversation of "you'll have to stay with us when you race at Sugar." After my hellish travel day on Tuesday, Dave and I headed out for a ride around Boone, just to spin out the legs. We got caught in an amazing thunderstorm and downpour that would rival any rain we have in Portland. It was pretty amazing and I was soaked to the bone. Dave actually had to head out Thursday for a sales meeting in California, so I had the run of the house and had the watchful eye of Angelo, their somewhat neurotic dog who really likes no one. We never did become friends.
Emily and I headed up to Sugar Mountain on Thursday to ride the course. I don't know if you could actually call it 'riding' the way we descended the slick rocky, rooty singletrack. It was challenging, but the only interesting part of the course. The 30+ minute climb was quite benign and nothing to write home about. The descent would keep you honest, however.
I headed back to the course on Friday with Cass, another teammate, and Rich, one of Tim's competitors, to conquer my fears and learn to ride. Rich was helpful in reminding me to relax and just look forward. I was feeling much better about the race. And Tim would arrive late afternoon and find out what he was in for on Sunday.

RACE DAY #1: Cross Country, Saturday, July 28th
I probably had the worst night of sleep I have ever had the night before the race. Not because of nerves, but because I felt like a punching bag for Tim, who seemed to have been boxing in his dreams. It wasn't good, but oh well. I can ride my bike without sleep. Just not as well. And today was our 6th anniversary. I told Tim I would ride fast for him.
I had a great line up and an o.k. start, but somehow on the climb, I let my group get away. I decided I had to climb that hill three times and I would settle in. I think I settled too much. I rode well. No major crashes. Walked the 2 sections I intended to and kept the rubber side down. A little sliding around, but I did look forward to the climb. Things were going well, but I found myself riding alone until the third lap when I let myself get passed. At one point I looked back and saw orange (a Bear Naked teammate). Who was that? It was Cass and she was coming after me. I kept pedaling and managed to stave her off to the top of the climb and was afraid she may catch me on the descent if I didn't ride clean. Well, when being chased, you don't ride calm and relaxed. A minor head into the tree in a slide out, but other than that, I put some time back on her and finished in 20th. I needed a little kick in the pants, so thanks Cass!

Emily & I hamming it up prior to call ups in short track, the 20 minutes of pain!

RACE DAY #2: All about Tim and my Short Track: Sunday, July 29th

I love having Tim at the races, but I don't really like his start times. And he had 3 races today. An unprecedented event! Cross Country at 8:30, Short Track at 1, and Super D at 4:30. It was going to be a long day. I had Short Track at 3:00, but my day started at 5:45 when I selflessly woke up and made Tim (& his buddy Rich) some french toast and coffee. Once my job was done, I tried to go back to sleep and would attempt to get to the race just before the first lap was over. With little success of sleep, I left the house at 8 and just missed his start. I headed to the feed zone and waited for Tim to come through. He was doing great and had a great race, finishing 2nd behind his buddy Rich. Then the podium was at 11, so no nap. I was the photographer. Then I had to watch his short track. It was exciting. Only the 3rd national stx this year, he had a great call up and it was 'open men', which meant all ages. From 15-65. Tim ended up 6th, which was pretty awesome just a few hours after his XC race. Then it was my turn. I readied myself, got in the zone and tried to turn out a great result, but for some reason it just didn't go that way. It wasn't my best race, it hurt a lot, I felt like puking afterwards and I ended up 24th. Hmmmm? Perhaps one does need sleep prior to racing. But there was still Tim's super D. Would this day ever end? It did and Tim got 6th in Super D and some excellent war wounds. But it was time to celebrate, so stinky and dirty, we headed back to Boone, met up with others at the Black Cat and had burritos and beer. A great way to end the weekend.

Tim & Rich on the podium for XC: at least someone in our family is a winner!

Cass, Tim and I after a really long day!!! Always having fun.

Race afterthoughts: Initially I was really disappointed in myself, because I didn't do as well as I had wanted to. But I have to realize that some weekends you have it and some you don't. This didn't turn out to be the weekend that I was feeling the best, or maybe lack of sleep played into it. I really don't know. But, I did have fun and always enjoy spending time in new places with new people. I can't say STX was really 'fun', but it is over. And I get to look forward to the next race and try again. The season is winding down. I can hardly believe it is almost August and in less than 2 weeks I will have completed my first season as a pro. Time really does fly when you are having fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice that Tim is short all the other guys on the podium and he is on the second step. Stubbs strikes again.