Made my way up to Buckwallow last night with Lee. The big reason was the chance that there would be no preriding available on Saturday because there is apparently an excessive amount of rain coming. Of course it will rain.
The plan, ride their weekly series race along with a prerace tour lap. Got up with lots of time, parking lot was packed with O-cuppers. Guess I wasn't the only one with the idea. We started down the long start loop, will get to this part of the course shortly. Cruised the first single track section fairly smooth. Because of the prediction of rain, I've already changed tires in prep for it. One step bellow studded tires? Close, lots of grip for those possible wet roots.
So far so good, cut into the next section of trail to see 5-6 riders standing around. Oh wait it's a bunch of Trek Store Jerseys. There is a rock, are they checking out which line to take? Wait, Awww shit it's Jeremy on the ground. He is smiling, sorta when he said he went over hard and slammed his knee. Sean From Chico along with the Mike the Owner of Buckwallow were splinting up his leg when we stopped.
Hmmm 2nd attempt to ride a lap, 2nd time I've helped a broken rider out of the trail. Is there some sign I'm seeing??? I feel really bad for Jer, Last I heard he was sent by ambulance to the hospital. He did get a standing ovation when he went through the start area on the back of the ATV. The shitty thing is that he and his wife leave for Trans Rockies in a couple weeks. Fingers are crossed buddy.
Back at the start line, no I didn't get a lap in to this point, the group of racers was huge for a weekly race. So big that they did an age cut off to break the pack up. Good thing as I really didn't want to have to physically push a few 10 year olds into the push if they tried to pass me.
We're off. Every race always has a long run out or a climb to split us up. This place was no different except the run out seem to be forever. I was planning on staying very aerobic for the race. Of course this got kicked a bit to the back seat going down this section. There were a ton of riders that you knew were going to pop by the end of the run out so the attempt to stay ahead of them did push me a little higher than planned.
This start run is very long and control is important. There will be a lot of experienced riders going to hard on Sunday here and blowing up early. Hit the first singletrack in a good spot and cruise through it. Next section comes in and a riders from Cycle Solutions is right in front of me. Up the rock right turn he went to the inside I was on the outside. I then watched him stall, lean, lean more, stall more, then he moved but the bike didn't. Straight down face first. This was the exact same place that Jeremy fell and probably the exact same thing he did. As I said about watching for signs. Is this telling me something??
After a quick are you ok, are you ok, I was off. No ambulance needed this time. Kept things back to the right pace, barely. Buckwallow is a place that tempo riding is pretty much impossible. Nothing really exciting happened till right near then end of the lap. I was in a small pack which included a friend's father. I had followed him a good chunk of the lap when we happen to come across Courtney. "You can't let my Dad beat you Matt" Great, my competitive side kicked in for about a minute. We happened to be in double track when I heard Courtney scream this. Slammed the big ring, looked at her Dad, smiled and let'er rip.
Yep I can still get the heart rate up there. Into the singletrack smart Matt took over again and got back in the rhythm. This was after seeing 193 on the monitor, Spun out the rest of the lap with no incidents.
It's a fun course, very fast, less technical than last year. One of the best sections is not in this year. A tough rocky trail, too bad. The course currently is very dry, almost slippery but all the fast switchback sections are bermed.
So here is how I see it. I'm a "things happen for a reason, watch for signs, believe in fate" type of person. My decision to race will be done on a coin toss Sunday morning. This is partly on the rain also. If the coffee looks like it might taste better on my couch than in the car, well you know. Why am I thinking this, 3 bad crashes viewed in 3 laps. Heads I race, tails I don't. Currently I'm racing. The one that counts is on Sunday morning. Either way I have a 4 hour ride to do Sunday it will either be including the o-cup or it could include the vomit comet ride with the local roadies. They do a crit just down the road from my place.
It's Friday, it's work time. Need more coffee.