Well, you can't, unless you built a course perfectly suited to your skillset, and you're driven by the perfect mix of relief and adrenaline. You know that feeling you get, when you walk out of your last final of the semester, and no matter how little sleep you've been getting you're SUPER AMPED, just because the albatross is finally gone? That's how I felt lining up for the 1/2/3 race. Don't get me wrong, I loved putting this race on, but there's a lot to be said for not waking up in the middle of the night, wondering "what if X goes wrong?"
For a month straight I'd been worried it might be 34 and raining at Ice Weasels. Now I was lining up on 2 inches of packed snow. Flippin' perfect. Let's rock this thing.
Of course before any rocking could happen, we had to get staged, and the stupid promoter was using crossresults.com points! Al Donahue successfully convinced me that he should be allowed to start on the front row because he had a UCI point. Toby Marzot also charmed his way into the second row because "he scored a UCI point a few seasons ago." After a day of yelling at people to line up by number, I was pretty sick of it, so people staged roughly... wherever.
As it was, eventual 2nd-place finisher Toby lined up with me at the back, so it really didn't matter. Of course, when the whistle blew, Toby took off running (with comical results), while I went absolutely nowhere. My shoes had gotten wet and then packed with ice while I was running around staging.
It took me all the way to the first barrier to get clipped in, and it turned out that I was only sort-of clipped in -- when I went to hop it I came flying out of my pedals and landed half on the seat, half on the ground. If I could do a real bmx hop this would never happen....
But it turns out that riding through the 1/2/3 field when you're the promoter and it's snowy is actually a ton of fun. I had an hour to sort it out, anyway, and this way I got to make sketchy passes on a bunch of people.
First up was Jeff Bramhall. We came into the turn before the barriers and I was passing a bunch of guys, I got up behind Jeff, and realized there was no way I could possibly make another pass cleanly before the turn. Then I rememebered that I was the promoter. So eff it! I went anyway.
The result was definitely the worst dive-bomb I have ever done to someone in a race. I basically hit the stake and Jeff at the same time, since the gap was smaller than my bars. I put a foot down, he put two feet down, the suprisingly-large assembled crowd went OOOOOOOOOOOOH. Then I booked it outta there before he could pay me back.
Next up was trackrich. I tried to pass him on the "long climb" in the house area that was a runup last year, but once I got off the good line it was to hard to finish the pass. We ended up sprinting full out up to the next 180, and since I was on the inside and he's huge, I just bounced off him around the corner. He also put a foot down and yelled "bastard!" as I rode away. Success!
Those were the worst two offenses, but I definitely got pretty close to JD on the next lap, and I rode all over Mike Wissel's wheel while he almost crashed several times, until he finally just gave up and let me by. Anyway. I was having fun.
Much of the fun was coming from the fact that there was all of ONE power section on the course. Even I can drop the hammer when there's only one power section. And even though the lap cards still said, like, 7, I didn't care because the course was so fun. Whoever designed this is a genius!
It was just feature after feature, you were never bored enough to really feel like you were suffering. It went like this: Power section/180/euro-chute/runup/icy turns/barrier/ice/berm/really icy turn/barrier/beer garden/double barriers/snowy house section/beer garden again REPEAT.
Anyway, I realize that half those features are snow-based, so I won't pat our backs too hard. Can we get 2 inches of snow next year, too?
The barrier placement was tough because it was SO FUN to dismount at speed, go flying up the barriers, and drill the remount -- but that's also where all the PARTY was. Every time though I passed up beers and cupcakes.
Finally I caved a took a mini-cupcake. It was perfectly bite-size, so it went down without a problem. If anything, the sugar was helpful, because I hadn't eaten all day.
Unfortunately eating a cupcake without incident is not very crowd-pleasing, so soon after I was looking for a full-on cupcake handup. I got one from a kid who didn't take the wrapper off, something I only noticed inches before it went in my mouth. I frantically threw it under my wheels. Turns out that cupcake had been previously dropped on the ground, anyway, so TAKE THAT, KID!
Next lap I got a wrapperless cupcake handup and it was ON. And by "on" I mean "a huge, regrettable mess." I tried to put it all in my mouth, but it didn't fit, and I needed to breathe, so half ended up on the ground and the other half took about 2 minutes to finally swallow.
Uhoh. Can't breathe. [tasha]Then I noticed that I was gaining ground on public enemy #1 (who had, admittedly, already raced that day). So I stopped eating cupcakes and started focusing on closing down the gap to Dave, because I hadn't beaten him on a bike in over a month, and I had a feeling he was probably just out having fun instead of riding WICKED HARD like I was.
So I caught Dave. And immediately attacked him and opened up a gap, because like I said, I think I was trying harder than anyone else in the race. But then I threw my gap away when I crashed on one of the ice-sheet corners. I was lapping JD and thinking "do I dare take my hand of the bars to try to slap his ass here?" and it turns out that if you even think about taking a hand off on those icy corners you're going down. So Dave caught back up.
But I was motivated! And he was tired! So I attacked again with 1.5 to go, and got enough of a gap that I could even take a beer feed on my final trip through the barriers. Small victories!
As you can tell from the length of this writeup I had a ton of fun. Promoting a race and encouraging everyone else not to take it seriously is a roundabout way to get a good result, but hey, that's about where my fitness is at these days. Whatever works.
Is this not the happiest barrier running picture you've ever seen? That's how good my day was. [lodri]