With a 5th row call up and the course lay out I knew I had a tough challenge ahead of me at the start. A little luck would have gone a long way, but it went pretty standard. We started and I must have been around 40th position at the first pinch with my foot out standing still. Hopped on the bike again for 1 minute of climbing only to run into the back of more chaos. I did my best to use my cross skills and make some passes, but the leaders were already well out of sight. I stayed steady the entire race until one to go when I started to fade a little. Finished 18th.
Overall impressions...its really hard to be in a mind set of riding steady instead of racing and battling. I think I ended up having to work harder by staying steady, instead of racing hard and letting some speed carry me over some of the smaller climbs. I ended up pedaling way to much and was always afraid to go over the limit when I should have at select points in the course. AVG HR for the race was 179...pretty high! Would love to be able to start at the front with those guys and race with them instead of being 2:00 minutes down 1/2 way into the first lap. Not saying I would win and not complaining about the well known start procedure rules, just wishing I could give it a go at the front with them from the gun.
2 - Impreza Short Track
18th position call up...alright now I can race with those guys at the front because I'm not burried in the field. Legs were a little tired warming up, but once we started I knew I was good. I was top 15 after one lap. Each lap happened and guys would pop and I would move up. 1/3 of the way through the race I had made the lead group! I was pumped...the superfans were everywhere and my legs felt no pain. Then the course tape got ripped in the sand pit on the back half of the course. It was floating through the air in slow motion and I had the split second visual of it wrapping in my cassette. I look down and my cassette is clear! Sweet I pedal 2 more times and my back wheel stops...I look down again and the course tape is wrapped around my disc rotor 5 times and jammed in my caliper. I jump off my bike with some hope of spinning the wheel backwards to dislodge it, but no luck. I know my race is over, but I still try to take of the rear wheel and undo the mess...no luck the course tape had melted in the caliper...I got as much as possible out and jump back on the bike....I must have lost about 1 minute. Passed a few more guys in the next 3 rounds, but the course tape was still making my bike feel like I was pedaling through sand, while at the same time not allowing my back brake to function properly. END RESULT = RIM. It pretty much felt like this for you LOTR fans.
Overall - Majorly bummed out....I had the legs, I had the start, I was ready...guess I have to wait until Cross season to give it another go with the big boys...I'll be thinking about it on every training ride until then...
3 - Super D
After a long wait I think we were all hungry and sleepy. Carl 'Rocky' Decker was the only guy still warming up and I warned him not to bonk. We started with a 100m Le Man style run to the bikes. I was 3rd to the bike and 3rd into the woods behind an Australian guy and Decker. Decker made the pass half way through and put 2 seconds on the Aussie. 2 seconds in the super D is a lot...I passed the Aussie on the next pedaling section, but couldn't close the gap to Carl. 2nd place.
Overall - Wish I had a redo on the Short Track, but at least made up for it a little with some prize money and evened up the day with 200 points for the race within the race.
Final impressions. NORBA is still NORBA. With so few races to attend you have to be a supported pro to get UCI points and start in the front. There is no way I could afford to make 3 separate trips to Cali and one to TX to chase UCI points and have a shot at racing the guys in the front row. Plus why would I want to when I can attend WORS every other weekend and the triple crown races right in my back yard and race fast guys like TS, NG, and MP.
With cross racing the big races are in the midwest with OH, KY, WI, IA, IL, & WI again. There are plenty of opps for points and prize money(two or 3 a weekend). Once I get those points its worth it to travel because I am starting in the front and have a shot to race the big boys and win prize money to pay for the trip.
I think I have UCI mtb points now, probably not enough, but the next race is in ID...its tempting, but it would probably be a $1000 plus trip with no chance to win any prize money. Hmmm
Thanks to my sponsors to help me get to the best MTB scene around....the Midwest!