I came pretty close to heading down to the Darkhorse Gallop this Sunday, but ended up reuniting with my long lost friend "alcohol" instead the night before. Of course it seemed like a good idea at the time, but by 10 AM Sunday all I could think was "wow, what a wasted weekend" and "gee, my head hurts." Note to future self -- you like bike racing more than binge drinking, and you can write about bike racing without sounding like a frat boy, so you should do that next time.
Of course with all the rain the Gallop was probably miserable. Mike Festa "raced" it and had this to say:
As we entered arguably the most fun trail at Stewart "Major Mike" I realized the trail was gone. In its place was a ribbon of 4 inch deep liquid diarrhea. Now as this is a mountain bike race, I brought my mountain bike equipped with full knobby tires, which work well in mud. I did not bring my riding around in shit bike
As the proud owner of some Bontrager Mud X's with a history of riding well in slop, I'm actually even more disappointed that I skipped it after reading that. A mudfest would have been a great place to make my Pro/1 debut (oh yeah, did mention that?) because even if you end up miles off the back, you're still gonna beat the 25% of the field that DNF'ed and the 3 guys who had unspeakably horrible mechanicals but somehow finished, after rebuilding their drivetrain from mud,leaves and twist-ties in the woods or something.
So yeah, I think I'm going to race the Pro/1 race from now on. This is not because I upgraded to pro, because upgrading to pro is impossible. No, seriously, Kevin "faster-than-me" Sweeney has actually written an impressive tome on the subject, (for USA Cycling to ignore) but the quick summary is that probably less than 10 guys are going to be able to upgrade to Pro this year in the entire country, no joke.
But anyway, as a Cat 1 MTB'er with UCI Cross dreams (actually, I just bought the license, so they're hardly dreams now), it's time to get into the habit of getting my ass kicked by fast people (and learning to love it), since that's what I signed up for an entire fall of. I was hoping to win a Cat 1 race at some point, but there's always someone faster/sandbaggier, and as Kevin's been saying, it's not about beating the other Cat 1's, it's about being competitive in the pro field. So let's do it. Big pro fields are fun, even if they're full of Cat 1 posers like me -- and maybe an extra 2 minute head start will finally give me the cushion I need to hold off Jonny Bold for a race.
Let's see, anything else bike-related to report? Uhh, I put some sweet RISAH BAHS on my Trek to make me look like a freerider and maybe give my back a chance of lasting 2 hours. Initial tests were good, but I won't really know until Putney -- so that probably means I should shut up 'til next Monday now.