Sipping on my first cup of joe for the day, I begin to reflect on the 2009 season opener. Sunday was Race #1 of the Winter Short Track Series in Charlotte NC. This series has become a staple in my yearly start to a season of cycling. As usual the Renaissance Park was buzzing with pumped folks ready to rail some fresh new single track. The weather was the big ? for the day. The skies were filled with gray clouds and strong possibility of precipitation. It could come down as rain, sleet or snow.
The local trail crews have been hard at work with a new section of single track. The new section was alot of fun and really made the trail more like a XC trail. The new trail is probably a week old. So it's edges were still a little soft. Stay on the ilne or wash out off the side of the trail. (Note to self)
Goal for the series is to compete for the overall in the Single Speed class. In other words just stay out of trouble and keep the leaders close. Well the start was fast and super sketchy. First race of the season is always hairy. Everyone is amped and ready to rail. The race quickly bottlenecked going into the woods and we (Toby S., Eric & I) were stuck around 10th place. Traffic for the entire length of single track.
The laps were ticking by at a steady clip. Luckily the body was holding up well. Maybe the running has really helped. My heart never felt as if it were to explode. Nor did my lungs burn in pain. The only problem I was having was the fact that my gear was wearing me down. This 60" gear choice would have been spot on for the old trail. However this new section had some sharp turns that put a serious strain on the momentum. Peppered with lap traffic the track stands were killing me.
Gaps had formed early. From my view point I could see 1st & 2nd together killing it. Then Toby Selix, Ross D. & Noel battling for 3rd just a mere 5 seconds in front of me. I'd pull close to them recover then get gapped by lap traffic every other lap. Frustrating but it's the way this game is played out. More aggressive at the start and the gaps to the front wouldn't be as bad. Lesson #1 for the 2009 season. With a steady pace finishing in 6th place. Not bad considering I haven't really been on the bike in a while. I have high hopes of my fitness coming into riding form soon.
Also congrtas to Toby Selix on his 3rd place in the SS class. He mentioned that was the most exciting mtb race he's ever competed in. Also Eric new to the whole mtb racing thing. He won his first race in the Sport 40+ then jumped into the SS class for a top ten finish.