Last year I reunited my love affair with the Pinnacle, and I've been telling everyone who asks me about MTB racing that this is THE RACE to do if you like your courses LEGIT, but in a fun way. Not LEGIT in an evil way (looking at you, Coyote Hill).
This year the promoters moved the Sport race to 9:30 AM, instead of with the expert/elite fields -- which was a good idea. Although giving them only 2 hours to finish the course before getting RUN OVER by the elites was not as good. And me getting up at 6:30 to get my soon-to-not-be-Sport carpooler (ahem) to the venue was a throwback to the old days of Cat 4 cross at 6am wakeups!
Good thing bike racing is super awesome so I was bouncing off the walls at 6:29AM anyway. I need to find a way to convince myself I'm going to a bike race on WEEKDAYS.
I used my extra bonus time at the race venue to HANG OUT with the Boston bike scene. And definitely not to warm up. Because warming up for a race that climbs 700 feet in the first 15 minutes is unnecessary.
Then out of nowhere (aka right on time) we got called to staging and it was go time. Twenty-five dudes! Cuz I told you the Pinnacle is LEGIT. Most excitingly, Sweens was back from THE MUMPS and Greg "I swear I'm not a roadie now" Whitney was doing his obligatory one yearly MTB race before Great Glen. Little did they know that while I pretend they are my friends and it ain't no thing, I am actually emotionally invested in beating them in races. OH CRAP DID I JUST TYPE THAT?!
So we started, and there were lots of guys going really hard on steadily climbing doubletrack. Kevin and Greg were amongst them, and thus I had no choice but to join the anaerobic party. At one point I said to Greg "@GREGWHITS WE ARE GOING TOO HARD" and he ignored me, because Kevin was dropping us both.
As the climb progressed, though, it turned out that some people were going even more TOO HARD than I. Some places were made. Then we topped out and started descending.
As usual, 5 minutes into the descent I caught up to Dylan McNicholas, after he crashed himself wicked hard. He was able to pedal and form complete sentences, so I was able to chuckle in my head and then flee his wrath on further descending.
Oh. OH. The descending. YEAH.
The descent was the EPITOME OF RADNESS. Corners, berms, braking, trees, roots, bridges... steep enough you were truckin' (especially if you were pedaling) but shallow enough you weren't just grinding your brakes pads to dust. And there was a ton of time to be made if you wanted to let it all hang out. Which I certainly did.
This year they added some four foot tall berms to a few sections, to expose how NOT RAD us XC racers are. Every time through I swore I was ripping it horizontal, yet my need to brake check to avoid flying off the top suggests otherwise. Nevertheless, my brain felt RAD, which is 90% of the battle (unless someone has a camera).
At the end of lap one I was so full of adrenaline from the descent that my memory basically went blank. I remember that Kevin was ahead of me, Greg was behind me, and I was having FUN. So I rode back to the top so I could get rad again. Greg was close behind me so I had to go fast. Fast enough that I caught Kevin and made him ask me why I was going so fast.
Then we went down the descent again and Kevin made motorcycle noises. He even let me take the lead when I asked for it, which is how I knew his sense of fun was overwhelming his sense of competition.
Then the race was half over and I felt pretty good! I was so surprised to not be a crumbling mess after 60 minutes that I started riding harder, to get back into my comfort zone of "cramping and wishing for death."
BUT IT DIDN'T WORK. I had (M)ENERGY LEGS. And I was really excited to try to hurt myself on the downhill again.
After three laps someone told me I was in fifth (!) and Jonny Bold was ahead of me (!!!). I figured if there was every a time when I could beat JB it would be on a course that finished with a sick downhill, so I rode the entire last lap at EUPHORIC SPEED trying to catch him. No one told me that he had a three minute cushion, so it was totally pointless, but hey, I was still going fast and I finally started to cramp, so it was a GLORIOUS final lap.
|The race is over and I'm not even flopping around like a dead fish, that's how well it went.|
|I don't get on very many podiums. Can you tell?|