I have not previously had any interest in Texas. Not really sure why, it just never registered to me as a place to visit. That has changed after spending a week there. I'll be taking a couple posts to go through it though. I took over 500 pictures while I was there, so there's lots to look at.
We started by going to the Flat Rock Ranch near Comfort for the second TMBRA race, the Stormhill Classic. This was really the first test of my 'racing' skills for the year. In previous years, I was a racing hack. I'd do a few races a year. Maybe three at most, and revel in the mediocrity that resulted. I always finished mid-pack. An occasional foray into the top ten, and a rare top three was always possible. This year, I want to change that. With Eric's prodding, I'll be racing a whole lot more this year, with an aim to improve through to the year.
As this first test, I felt I did pretty good. Its been a while since I've lined up for a race(last July for a MTB race), and it caught me off guard when the SS Cat2 class was called up first. Guess they figured we'd catch most every one else anyways...So the called us up and yelled GO! Both Eric and I have not really ridden that much yet this year. An occasional Pusgley ride, and a ride a couple times a week on the trainer in the shop.
So that's where I/we were fitness wise coming to the start line. Not really well prepared. I mean, we're racing guys from Texas here, they've been riding all 'winter', right? We'll see.
Life has taught me that when racing, start quick, but start modestly. Aim for the front of the mid packers. There's always rabbits that take off and are never seen again, but there's also a group of riders that like to THINK they're rabbits. These guys are the targets. They go out and with in a mile or three blow them selves up. And just like the theory goes, that's what happened. Before I knew it, I was top ten, and flying back through the spectator area. Over heard were comments such as, "who IS that big Singular guy?", and "Where did they come from? He'd flying!" Flattering, really. I was just having fun. For the moment.
That picture was taken about mile 12 of 23. At mile 15 or 16, I started feeling a bit crampy. No problem, I say. I'll just coast the rest of the way in. There's only one tech section, then its mostly downhill. No problem!
Pah! Right after thinking that, on the new techy rock section probably, I picked up a cactus thorn. Just like that, a slow leak. Over the course of the last 4 miles or so, I lost 6:30, or at least 6 spots. Oh well. I still finished. Sure, I should have just changed the tube...Sure would have been easier. Even easier yet would have been if I used Stans. I know. I know. I heard from Eric the rest of the week. I know I'll hear it from you lot of readers too. I'm still not gonna convert. Not a bad way to begin the racing season. Next up: The Decorah Time Trials April 25. See you there!
Enough with the racing. Lets look at the course. I really have to give props to the team that built these trails. I have not ridden anything as good as these trails for a good long time. They hit all the good stuff about mountain biking. Long, snaky switch backing climbs. Long, gradual, flowing down hills that just get faster, and faster. Flat, rocky technical sections that tested anaerobic riding skills, and super fun, ledgy down hills. Easily the best trail I rode down there.
I love the Live Oaks. Such character in them!
And I'll leave the first Austin report with this shot. My favorite from the trip. Fireside, sipping a beer, grooving on the fire watching a group of night riders coming back in from the trail. Can't get much better.
Listening to: The Current, the Spring Theme Show! Riding season is upon us!