If I could have gotten my helmet cam working, I would have pointed it at myself to record how terrible I rode. Then I would post the video on YouTube, so everyone could tell me how much I suck, even though I wrote a caption and a title that said “Check out how much I suck.”
Saturday’s practice and Team race was a delight. I’m becoming especially fond of the dust that seems to be plaguing each race. Frankly, I like it when my mouth looks like the inside of my airbox, and getting water from my Camelbak is like trying to siphon a Wendy’s® Chocolate Frosty through a swizzle stick. Who wants to race with perfect vision and clean fresh air anyhow?
Luckily, my trusty KX450F fired on the first kick and I got the hole shot in the Team ‘A’ race, which allowed me to lay down a smoke screen that would have made James Bond envious. I fully used the conditions to my advantage, deliberately dumping the clutch in every bermed-out silty corner—effectively blinding my opponents and filling their lungs with the fine silty powder. It only gave us a slight advantage as team Madd Racing eventually caught up and passed us—beating team Skid Mark by over 3 minutes. I tried to convince Brett they were closet pros, sandbagging the A class, but he just flicked my ear and told me to quit crying or he would move me back to the C class. We would just have to settle for second place. But having three riders on our team and only two trophies presented a problem, so I gave my trophy to Ryan because he rides a Suzuki, never wins, and I felt sorry for him.
Later that evening, the rain gods decided to show some pity on our lungs and presented the venue with some of the most violent hail I’ve seen in a while. Huddled in our tiny trailer, the hail stones pinging off the tin roof sounded more like four inch cobblestones being dropped by a Cat® 994F Wheel Loader at full extension. The result was just enough moisture to beat the dust down, and turn the tree roots into nasty little surprises lurking in the shadows.
Sunday’s race went okay, but I felt could do better. I got a great start and was in second place behind #324 for almost half a lap, when I stalled the bike in a boulder garden. I tried my hardest to knock over passing riders and block the trail while furiously kicking over my bike. I even attempted to act hurt to get someone to stop—I thought I might be able to talk them into letting me borrow their bike so I could finish the race, but I didn’t have any luck.
There was a point where I vaguely remember giving myself a mild concussion during a frightening downhill, when my throttle hand flew up and punched me in the jaw after deflecting off of one of the rocks that lined the course. It was difficult enough to ride the downhills completely coherent, let alone with my helmet and goggles on sideways. I think I spent more time riding the course backwards, trying to get a run at the technical sections that I had just blown, then making forward progress. But I was determined to push on…
By the fifth lap, I was happy to see the lead pros pass me, as I knew it would all be over soon. I was energized as I came through the finishing corral and saw Tom wave the white flag—ahhh, last lap. With visions of riding like Juha Salminen, I put my head down and charged hard for a solid 100 yards before hitting the wall. The sweat from my goggles had begun running into my eyes, I was out of water, and my blisters were screaming at me. I had forgotten my knee brace socks in the dryer at home, and I had worn holes on the insides of my knees from gripping the bike. My arm pump had given way to extreme fatigue, which left me hanging on with objects that resembled arms, but had the support of two wet noodles, and my saddle sores had past the point of painful about three laps prior.
All in all I guess it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t run over myself, or anyone else—although I was loosely associated with a guy who accidentally roosted a woman spectator with her young child, and she threatened to ‘kick our asses’.
I think it will take me until the next race for my blisters and saddle sores to heal, but I figure as long as I keep doing my Jazzercise videos, I should be fit enough to give #324 a run for his money. I’ll just make sure I remember to check the dryer before I leave house next time so I don’t forget my knee brace socks.
Happy Trails – Chris