15 July, 2012

Point to Point 2012

Well kids, mentally this race was kind of long in the tooth coming.  I busted a PR (that's not saying much) on the Firecracker 50 and I guess mentally it was getting dull.  I mean, the Firecracker was the mental destination of where my fitness should be and now it's done?  My intrinsic motivation to put the evil-stinky on my fellow human is waning y'all.  The freshness of anticipating an event with giddyness wasn't exactly there.  Fun in competing is there but when i was registering for the Point to Point it almost felt like a chore.  What is going on?  Where's the newness?

What I needed to see was an improvement.

Some carry over from the Fiddee obviously was endurance, becoming more aware of nutrition and hydration, but did I increase leg strength for this event's shorter distance (by .5)?  Strength/power and endurance are on opposite ends of the cycling spectrum o'fitness.  I had endurance (well kinda) but I needed to crush peeps on the climbs.  Click on this to see the map; and click on this to see the profile.  No more vacillating between the leaders and the mid-packers otherwise I better take a mental break for a while; or see if Dr. Ferrari makes housecalls (you know which Dr. Ferrari I'm talking about road freaks).

My attainable goals for this year was to bust some single digit placings in XC races or road races.

My road racing placings this year was 16th (out of 33) at Deer Trail, 19th (out of 55) at the Denver Federal Center Criterium.  Not exactly lighting up the RR scene but I was having fun and it was kicking the living shite out of me physiologically (I love suffering because it's mental-that's also why I hate it too).  Road is fun but the fitness it confers to me translates nicely for XC.  Not doing the technical stuff, but the base fitness I arrive in in order to perform in XC races.  Basically an XC race is a mass start time trial.  You need fitness sure, but if you descend riding your brakes, or can't flow in tight singletrack, or can only tear up courses your six year-old finds challenging, all that sweet, suffering-inspired road miles are for naught.  I know some mountain bikers who only get miles mountain biking.  I find that might be a tad boring.  In fact that's what I'm realizing now, hence my blasé-ness registering for the Point to Point.  Now I'm aching to do a crit but it's been months since I've done the Meridian circuit practice loops here in Denver Tues/Thursday evenings. 

I woke up early not that motivated.

Went and ate a lox and bagel for breakfast on my way out of town.  I love eating lox and bagels and I would marry it if the State of Colorado recognized it as a legal union but alas they don't.  Had the usual butterflies in my tummy rife with angst on my performance, who would show up? would trail ninjas abduct me and tell me my arse looks big wearing these bib shorts? would rogue bonobo monkeys dry hump my non-drive side leg on the trail?...etc.  What is good about this stress is like what happens when a goose freaks out-they go poopy uncontrollably.  Unlike a duck though, I go poopy with intention so before I ate the lox and bagel I had a pretty durn empty digestive tract.  Gotta show up to the line with food digested and slightly sweating from an adequate warm-up.

15 seconds!....................5...4...3...2...1, GO!!!

Before we actually left, I lined up next to a competitor who helped a friend of my friend who crashed on a trail we were riding two days prior to this race back out of the steep side of the mountain back onto the trail.  He recognized my kit (orange and black-eternal Halloween) and I recognized his bike (Specialized, hardtail carbon).  My friend's (Kevin) friend (Karen) hit a water erosion barrier and tumbled on some poison ivy and a bush broke her fall as she fell and rolled.  She was a trooper but now she has a wicked case of poison ivy all over her.  She's fortunately getting better as the days go on (rash hopefully diminishing).  Small world.  He asked if she was okay and I said that she was.  What a nice guy.  I would learn later that his name was Ken.  Too bad I had to put the evil-stinky smack down on him on the singletrack today.  Oh yeah suckah!!!!!  Okay, I'm talking trash now and I will stop (but I would eventually put the evil-stinky smack down on him except for two people...).  So we're off and like a freaking novice I am having issues putting my non-drive side foot into the pedal.  The same side I have issues about rogue bonobo monkeys doing inappropriate things on said side.

I'm third behind pole position.

We're sprinting from the beginning and I line up third.  Number one-whom I would learn later's name Marcel-flew out the gate.  It pretty much stayed that way the entire race.  We all lost contact with each other mid-race but we were all diligent in looking at people's marked calves with their ages.  We didn't care if we got passed by another category but if a dude was in your race you better make it a race foo'!  For what seemed like an eternity I was in no-man's land riding by myself.  Then on this particular downhill a 37 year-old on a hard tail passed me like I was stationary.  I slapped it on my largest gear and fought to get onto his draft as he was picking the sweet line down.  We were flying!!! Left to my own device I'da never attempted this part of the course at this speed.  Holy Mackeral his skills were impressive and all I had to do to hang on was a little monkey-see-monkey-do chameleon adaption of his line and his weighting and unweighting floating over pinch flatting obstacles.  Once it leveled off I thanked him for his descending skills and he replied, "I wish I could climb as fast as I descend!"  Pretty much after he said that a climb started and out of the corner of my eye I see number one!  At that point, J, the guy who beat me last race caught me.  Just the sight of number one rounding the uphill bend motivated me to catch him.  I dropped it two gears and did my best imitation of Jan Ullrich.  Marching the largest gear possible but always increasing rpms.  I even locked out my front fork and slammed down the pedals as I stood and danced on the pedals.  I'm not a good dancer but I can mash nowadays.  From this I was able to distance myself from J and the 37 year-old descending savant but I could barely keep Marcel in my sights.

Deem!  Number One's riding away from me!

There was a technical, long descent after this climb and every now and again in the trail I would see number one through the trees descending.  I swear whenever I could I would sprint out of corners, on the flats, to try and close this gap.  Hard work pays off and letting Penelope (my Airborne Guardian who absolutely loves this kind of abuse and course profile) run twin-turbo I was able to glom onto him!  I ask him are we one-two or two-three.  He said we're two-three because he got passed by number two (I said number two).

I pass him.

So we're bobbing and weaving, he's on my tail and we're talking and by mile 23 I am absolutely dying but I can't let Marcel telepathically catch that vibe so I pedal harder (which increases my deathrate).  We look back and there ain't nobody behind us but we pedal harder so that no one ninjas a space before us at the finish.  Now I'm really dead and at a wide point in the single track he passes me.  I always have something in reserves for sprint finishes if I'm not cramping and I do intend to attack one more time because we have to be getting close!  The profile is slowly turning downhill and Marcel drops it into his largest gear and we're off flying.  We are CRUISING in this tight single track and I hear the announcer's voice in the distance-we're getting close.  I quiet down my mind and visualize putting Penelope in her largest gear and jumping and cranking the handlebars with all my might should an opening occur to go for the evil-stinky pass.  We're at warp speed at this point and the queue I'm in stays like that all the way to the finish line-so we finish 2nd, 3rd.  

I get rained on.

Point to point means you start in WinterPark but finish outside of town, so I have to ride back to WinterPark because I'm not logistically hip enough to park here earlier and ride to the staging area.  I'm pretty much toast and now it starts to rain at about 9,000 feet.  So I'm getting pelted as I ride the 5 miles back into town with this frigid arsed rain.  This absolutely takes all heat energy out of my body and I'm getting hypoglycemic climbing back into WP wet and cold (boo-hoo, poor baby!).  Once I get back to the staging area there's Vitamin Waters, cookies, and fruit for the racers!  Thank you Epic Single Track Race Promoters!!!  I drink several Vitamin Waters to get glucose back into my blood stream and kill about a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Samer gets 2nd and Danielle his lovely wife gets 2nd too!

At the awards ceremony I finally get to stand on the podium and I'm so tired and cold after I get my coffee mug and bronze medal I go home.  I didn't have dinner with Samer and Danielle this time but at least I got to hangout with them for a wee bit, post-race to enjoy their company. 

Wow, finally I podiumed.  Thanks Airborne and thanks Natural Grocers Cycling Team and thanks legs!

05 July, 2012

Firecracker Fiddee 2012. Happy 4th!

L-R, Brian, Kenny L., me
 Man, the fourth year of doing this.  Other than the first year being memorable, the other years stunk.  The last time I did it I triple flatted and course officials had to use radiometric dating to exactly figure out what time I actually finished.  This year was different.  I actually trained.  It is amazing how much a little support for one's endeavor can do for results (that is another story as well).

The Natural Grocer's (unofficial) Dirt Team had a good turnout for this event.  Let's see, there was Bill  Herwig, Dr. Timothy Bauer, Tim Fandrich, (the irrespressible) Kenny L, (new guy) Brian Link, and moi (not to be confused with a moa, a flightless bird found in New Zealand).  That's six (and I kept my shoes on too for accuracy!)!

Bill and Tim B. were obviously on another plane of fitness.  They rode all fiddee miles as individuals. Tim F. pardner'd up with a long time friend and did it as a team (one lap for each).  The remaining three-we-stayed together on the first and part of the second lap.

Each lap is 25 miles long with 3300' of climbing.
Gnarly don't you think?  We did this twice.  
The promoters made slight course changes for the better (i.e. no more two-way traffic on a screaming downhill!) and I think they cleaned up the super-rocky descent back into the finish area.  Either way it made for a smoof day or at least as smoof as one can be in a 50 mile off-road race.

The beginning.
E(xpert), 46's my age, and a bad looking ankh above my ankh-el.
We got there early enough to get our race plates, t-shirt, socks, (and the pint glass filled with beer, post-race).  They mark your calf with age and category and for the sake of aesthetics I had the girl put an ankh on it for luck.  Kenny had a pentagram and his number had horns and a pointy tail.  That girl was cool.  The guy after Kenny plagiarized Kenny's idea-the bastard!  The socks are black, Wooly Booly 3/4 length sock so I wore 'em for the race because I want the extra cush-cush for when my feet get wet during the creek crossings.  The creek crossings-once on the course-were a trickle this dry summer.  As we're dressing from the side street, an old racer teammate and good friend back from Tejas comes up and we hug and say our mutual salutations.  Right before that, I asked Kenny, What are the chances of meeting a co-worker up here?  Well he's no coworker but he was a good friend.  Rob tells me he's volunteering at Aid Station number 1.  How cool is that?  Later after Rob leaves, Kenny asks, Hey man, you some secret weapon stuff?  It's from one of our sponsors-Cliff- it's a Cliff Shot Turbo (Double [sic]Expresso) Energy Gel with 100 mg of C8H10N4O2.  I take three.  After we locate Brian (through my magical powers of echolation), it's off to stage in our respective category-Expert Men.  I'm no expert ('cept for maybe belching really loud, long, and baritoney), but dammit I'm a Man-or at least that's what your Mom said...LAD NIGHT!.....I'm sorry.  At the staging area, I ingest the secret weapon (bwahahaha!). 

After the promoter counts us down we roll out neutral for like a mile because all the racers are part of the fourth of July parade in Main Street Breckenridge, CO.  We're rolling down Main Street separated by barriers from the spectators and the kids stick their hands in between the fencing to side-five (or high-five) us as we begin the race.   It's pretty cool and inspiring seeing all these people watching and cheering you (and flashing us their boobies-c'mon there're families here!!) on before you begin the pain.  No. They don't flash boobies here.  This is a respectable town.  Incidentally between Brian, Kenny, and the flightless NZ bird our number plates are 89 (Brian), 90 (Kenny L.), and 91.  We would finish in reverse order today.  That's a good omen right?  For a man who teaches science, I sure am superstitious about my race day rituals.  To name a few examples, I don't shave my face two days prior to event (legs are different) and I ALWAYS wear black, 3/4 length crew socks from our sponsor.   I don't carry food nor water for this event because the Aid Stations are plentiful and the promoter's left no stone unturned for feeding and hydrating the racers while actually racing.

Lap 1.
Jeez.  You'd think there's a race going on with all these people pedaling so darn fast!  Kenny, Brian, and I don't match their speed (and they are cooking!) up the long-arsed climb.  We have to conserve for the last lap.  We climb as a trio and once we get into singletrack we pretty much stay together too.  On the climb there are usually some fun loving criminal spectators that setup a ramp where riders, if they choose to, will get up to ramming speed and get airborne.  Hey!  I'm riding an Airborne!  A Guardian to be precise.  Once they land, after a boisterous show of appreciation from the peanut gallery, they are rewarded with a shot of Wild Turkey.  Unfortunately, they didn't wake up in time for our category. The singletrack was WICKED!  I was thankful at the SCREAMING downhills where I could follow a pack of riders and not ride the brakes because I had no reference of the speed handling capabilities.  The highest point 11,000-ish feet or so you had to climb a scree field that crossed a creek a couple of times.  Since it's been a dry summer my feet weren't too soaked.  At the top, the single track was so narrow you had to be careful on the leeward pedal stroke so as to not launch yourself on the downstroke sending you careening down the steep embankment!  It was almost like a tightwire act.  Made a mental note to be more smoov with no deathgrip on the handlebars here on the second lap.  Last 1/3d had the new singletrack cut.  It was in a relatively clear patch where the singletrack was super dusty.  They cut the trails with berms so you can keep it fast while carving.  Very cool as well as rocky.  On any given part of the course-especially the downhills-you'd see riders patching flats.  Not me, I run tubeless.  The only thing I scan for is tallish rocks with sharp, side-wall cutting edges!  Then a roller-coastery tight singletrack with a wee stiff climb that dumps you on the technical descent into the finish line to begin the second lap.  We had a pack descending into the park when a group of Pros asked us for a pass rather politely so we pulled over.  These guys have to be hitting 40 miles per on the super screamers.  First lap done with a time of 2h 20 mins.  Hey I can do this is less than 5h!

Lap 2.
If you've been around awhile and watched Greg Lemond win his Tours de France you might've notice a guy before the scene named Bernald Hinault (aka The Badger).  His pedaling strategy was to always ratchet it up a notch (increase wattage) the closer you got to the finish line.  It didn't matter what the terrain was but you could not let up, or diminish intensity so within meters, or miles, or whatever measuring units of length you use you had better be bleeding out your ears near the finish line.  That would be my strategy because I survived lap 1 and my tank wasn't empty.  On the climb, I ride a bit quicker to make up time.  What do I see ahead?  My fun loving criminals with their ramp set up and the Wild Turkey flowing and applauses and screams for the suckas that get tempted.  I see the ramp!  I increase my wattage and boom I'm airborne in my Airborne.  Applause and cheers for this sucka!  Seconds later a guy gives me a professional handup.  Instead of a musette bag it's a plastic cup with Wild Turkey (aka the Kickin' Chick'n!!) in it.  Strangely enough, I like the heat when it touches my tongue and the heat following my esophagus's path as it passes onto my gullet (c'mon liver, process those toxins!).  Soothing it is.  At Aid Station number 1, I see Rob and fill up the tank.  I'm walking the scree field to the apex of the course and time's a'tickin.  Probably not going to get a sub-5h time with this.  Kenny's riding like a fiend and passes me but Brian (after I learned his situation) is starting to cramp and has to ratchet down his intensity.  So after hanging onto groups, getting dropped, passing groups, I settle into a group and I have to have the tenacity to hang because I lost so much time walking the scree field.  I see dust flying so we're near the finish.  My group passes a Sport girl and the singletrack gets tight so I get gapped from my group.  I am cool and not a road snob so I say, can I pass when it's safe?     O my God!  After an eternity she's still on Sunday driver pace and to slyly show my sense of urgency and annoyance I calmly say, Can you PLEASE pull the fuc* over and let me pass?  She pulls over and I'm riding like a possessed, twin-turbo charged, v-12 diesel motor hoping to catch my previous group minutes ahead by now.  I am pedalling at every opportunity to close the gap.  The dust is flying so they must be in the open field.  I hit the open field and I see the last guy in the train duck back into the forest.  Not too far.  I increase the watts...
Now I'm in the forest and after 10 or so minutes of roller coastery, tight singletrack and threading the needle through the tight stuff I'm on the back of the group.  We begin our last climb, and now I'm wearing horse blinders because I'm so focused on staying in this group while climbing technical stuff.  With my 10x2, I notice the guy's cadence in front of me isn't synched with mine.  Why?  Because my mind is now wandering from being tired, anxious for the finish, and getting a smidge hypoglycemic (I didn't fill up at the last Aid Station).  I have to dismiss this and focus on increasing watts applied smoofly to the pedals, or else I might lose it mentally and implode.  Roadies call it cracking as opposed to bonking aka hitting the wall.  Although a source of cracking could be bonking.  I wasn't going to bonk.  Not today at least.  We pass Kenny on the climb.  His rear tire got knicked by a sharp rock so he had to get off the bike and pump it up while his sealant plugged the cut.  By this time this choo-choo is in for the kill.  We're sharks looking to eat and spit out the chum!  I notice my legs are fresh and I'm ready to go around people on this climb but it's so narrow I have to bite my tongue and soft pedal to maintain the line.  Finally we climb the last steeper part of the narrow fireroad and pass the slower climbers like Moses parting the waters.  From our group of 8, 5 get around.   We settle in after the initial acceleration and my legs still wanna go so I pass another rider.  4th!  I see the right hander singletrack where it's near impossible to pass in the descent to the finish so the order is going to stay like this if I don't go for another pass.  I punch it (don't bother to lock the fork), get out of the saddle and I pass one more.  Years before, in this particular descent to the finish, I was fighting my bike and riding the brakes because I was so exhausted.  Now, my mantra is, DON'T TOUCH THE BRAKES!  The two in front of me have dual boingers but I am so focused that there isn't but a three foot gap max I maintain from second rider.  One more look at my top tube for Eric's (Eric from Airborne bikes and kindred spirit) words of inspiration FLY OR DIE to increase my wattage via the placebo effect....As we're flowing like water on this screamer of a downhill, I swear Penelope is screaming, WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!  Bam!!  I get Stan's sealant spewing all over me.  Second in line shears/burps his rear tire on these sharp rocks littering the downhill on the apex of a switchback.  I offer my condolences and try to hunt number one.  He's gapping me ugly so I assess how far the next guy is behind me.  They're not too far so I keep it pegged.  The last four switchbacks, you can see clearly who's behind you (and in front of you).  The guy behind me has his missile sights radar locked on me and he's pedaling like a fiend.  Probably 5 car lengths?  So I pedal with a little more desperation.  With the finish line coming up, I check my six and even though he's possessed, he's not going to pass me before the line, so I ease up, zip up my jersey and pump my right fist in the air as I cross the line.  I hear the announcer say my name correctly and one second later, homeboy behind me crosses the line.  Booyeah!  5h and 12 minutes later I finished.  A PR for me.  What I do know (sadly it's not a lot) is this:  I am humble and thankful for a plethora of components-whether organic or inorganic-harmoniously and synergistically coming together in this cosmic mish-mash (although training probably occupies a large piece o'dat pie) for the event known as the Firecracker.  Take that other years of extreme lameness!  Happy days!  Now it's time for free food, slaps on the back with my competitors/teammates, and beer in my new pint glass....   
Stick a fork in me.  I. Am. Done!

01 July, 2012

Superloop 2012

Today was my first XC race of the year with Penelope making her 29er debut too.  All I can say, after dialing her in after three weeks with elongating the stem and seatpost and narrowing the bars...etc. it's what those components are mounted on that makes the difference.  When I threw my leg over my first Yeti hardtail it was like mind connecting to a Banshee (James Cameron's Avatar reference, not of the supremely lame Last Airbender avatar).  Now I have Banshee 2.0 and she's an Airborne Guardian named Penelope.  She's red with sexy lines and dare I say tubeless (blush!)?

Hoo-wee, she was FAST (too bad I ain't).

The course starts at a very low elevation of 9,000 feet.  33 in my category showed up-Mens 45-49 Sport.  After the marshall counts us down with 5 seconds to go we're off and Mr. Lactic acid shows up for our sprint out the gate.  It looks like geese flying south.  The supreme badass is on the leading edge while I am echeloned out in seventh position.  We worked up a gap on the rest and that's when I stopped counting.  People passed me and I'd mentally correct for passage, then I'd pass some and this is the first 20 minutes of the first of the next countless climbs on this badass course!  Once I settled in and I know longer noticed my legs burning, it was time to move up the food chain.    Remember I'm 5'7" and not too good at any one cycling discipline (I'm exceptional at resting if that counts) but I can sorta climb.  So climb like Satan's what I did.  I'm probably pretty average at climbing but I like to think I can climb.  So we climb and climb and the first descent hits and I'm raring to go.  I quickly get in the flow-zone of this really serpentine downhill and actually pass people kind enough to give me room when I ask to pass when it's safe.

Can I pass when it's safe?  Thanks brah.

On the first plateau, I pop it on my large chainring (my Airborne's a 10x2) and crush it.  There's a guy in front of me whom we would introduce ourselves later and we take turns taking pulls on our 29ers and there's no 26er in our group leeching a train freebee.  Why?  Rolling inertia (creating that flywheel effect) and we're more efficient covering ground per pedal stroke than their smaller diameter wheels AND we have rather manly legs.  The 26ers try to hang but we're locked and loaded at this point.

That's the truth, Ruth.

So it's off to the races with Jay and I picking off people.  He has a dual suspension 29er and once the road points down he pulls away slightly but I'm right there.  At one particular technical stretch of downhill he's screaming and I can't hold on because I'm being jackhammered by the hardtail.  I say to myself, "Self, there's a boat load of uphills. I will have my time yet just be patient and don't blow!"  Sure enough these uphills are grinders.  The first singletrack climb, my cadence goes buzzsaw and I say to myself, "Self?  Why are you spinning like a loon?"  I drop it two smaller cogs, and I roll just enough to pedal in efficient circles where the legs are pistoning.  This slowly accelerates me around my climbmates.  In fact, I pass people but don't get passed myself and I'm saying to myself, "Self?  That ride you went on with Kenny L. is just what the doctor ordered because it occurred on a grueling, hot, windy, long day."  The lack of pain was the from the physiological adaptations of these nutty training rides, now paying off in spades (whatever the hell that means).  It was almost unreal as I was passing these people I was not feeling like I was in the red zone.  By this time though, J's gone.
On the next to last uphill I see him and I pass him.  Being the non-elitist competitor I am I say to myself, "Self?  Say something encouraging when you pass."  "Job brah!"   Is what I end up saying to Jay as I cruise uphill.

Elegant wasn't it?  Yeah, I thought so (it's a truncated version of Good job kind sir).

After climbing, we're on another fireroad plateau and I see a group of 5 riders (35-38 age group, I can tell because all riders are marked on their calves by their respective age) and a hoss of a rider's leading them (looks like a track rider).  As an XC racer, you can't get lulled by drafting of a pack to rest, if you have the gumption you gotta roll so as not to give the leader in your group a freebie of increasing distance.  So roll's is what I do.  This time Jay's caught on my wheel too.  So I do a roadie maneuver and pass 'em kind of fast so's they can't catch my draft;  in fact, they have to accelerate rather abruptly to get on my train thereby disrupting their rhythm and hopefully putting some lactic acid on their legs for their acceleration.  The hoss doesn't like it and he punches it, out of the saddle rocking his bike (damn roady).  He doesn't accelerate very fast, so while sitting (saves precious kilocalories), I slowly get back in his draft.  He punches it again, and like his last result, I'm glued on his wheel.  The left hand corner into the singletrack's coming up and the minute his buttocks contact his saddle after another one of his poor accelerations, I kick in the afterburners on and get the holeshot into that lefthander singletrack.

Take that sucka (and Mr. Lactic acid says hello dere to my legs)!

He's rocking a dual suspension so I have to cherry pick my line on this downhill but since it's not too technical I put it in my largest gear ratio and actually pedal on this singletrack.  He's breathing down my neck but he doesn't have the speed to pass.  Another long-ish climb and I put some distance on him.

He's 38 and I'm 46 so I feel good and strong.

On a rather technical descent he passes me (I don't clog the trail if there's a safe place to let people go around me) but before when he announces the pass he does it On Your Right dickhead style.  So I say to myself, "Self?  You need to put a smackdown on this beeyatch."   I follow his line because he is a good descender but on the last long climb I'm basically this guy's enema.  On a particularly tree rooted, stiff uphill, I don't bother announcing my pass instead I quickly and oh so smoovly thread the needle between him and the roots we're climbing on and a tree close to the singletrack.  I did it quiet and ninja like too so V-crotch didn't even see it coming nor could he respond but I did see him flinch when I passed just centimeters from his handlebars.  From there I buried myself in the climb and put quality distance you can measure by car lengths between us.

Buh-bye dickhead hoss.

The last part of the downhill was just cut a week ago and it had the characteristic of true mountain, XC sadist.  It was super narrow, dusty/chalky, with baby heads and tree roots abounds.  People in front of me where hitting trees and going down and cussing in such a way that would make a nun blush.  I again was in the flow as was Jay.  The last kilometer or so was flat and it paralleled railroad tracks.  With about 200 or so meters left, I jump and Jay slowly comes around me and I run out of finish line.

Awesome.  I towed that savvy sumbitch to the line.  Rats!

At the end, 2nd-5th places were separated by mere seconds- it was that close.  Our winner put in 3 minutes on us.  That is what's called sandbagging folks (our winner, not me).  I was fifth, Jay was fourth.  Fun.  In two weeks the next XC race is on.  I think I wanna do it if the Firecracker doesn't break me.


PS.  If you don't believe me here's the link showing the final placings (click on "link").
PPS.  Click link for course profile.
PPPS.  On a sadder note, my younger teammate Samer-the Hammer, sheared his sidewall, patched it, and still managed to be 2 minutes faster than yours truly.  I hung out with his family (his wife raced it too-came in 4th) post race and they're a class act.
PPPPS.  Samer-the Hammer-3rd; Danielle-4th, me-5th.  Coincidental don't you think?
PPPPPS.  I met a former student of mine and his lovely wife Krista.  'Tis a small world...
PPPPPPS.  Got in a 4h road ride the following day, 60 miles worth of climbing for one more practice run for Weds.