Well let's just say it didn't go exactly as planned in any shape or form leading up to or during the race.
Going into the race I couldn't decide hard tail or the suspension ride. Garet said cracker race your Epic, there are rocks everywhere. So Friday night with his convincing argument "Rocks cracker" I started to prepare the Epic which I hadn't ridden since Sylammo. The cleaning process started, who wants to ride a dirty not me. So anyways I popped the rear wheel, chain and cranks off. It didn't take long and my mood changes with what appears to be a 1" crack inside the chain stay drive side "picture below". So that change my mind pretty quick on what I would now be riding.
My gears changed to getting the hard tail tuned and ready to roll. I popped the back wheel off it and my rear derailer falls off. I'm thinking really you got to be serious i'm down 2 bikes in 15 minutes. The good thing is it appears to be a simple fix. The Bolt head that holds the hanger on and basically broke off. So by Saturday evening the the bolt is replaced a beefy rear tire is installed and I'm ready to race.
It's Sunday morning Steve and myself are heading down to do some crushing or that's plan. We headed out for a warm up lap and to check things out and Garet was right there are rocks just about everywhere, nothing technique but just bumping along. By the finish of the warm up lap my back was already feeling it, I don't get how people can ride hard tails everywhere, the shit wrecks me. Maybe it has to do with how i've slipped a disc in my lower back a handful of times.
We head to the start line and there is a hand full of pretty fast dudes I'm sitting next too. I realize pretty quick I'll be working for this one for sure. And we are off the race started at a pretty fast pace on loose double track before it headed into the real stuff. This worked out nice because the top 4 guys popped the field before even hitting the single track. In JP Brockets case his tire popped before the single track one tire many on the day. That was is second.
Things where going good I went into the woods 3rd and stayed there for the first lap. I was maybe 15 seconds back but in a comfortable spot. My back was feeling the bouncing but I wasn't letting it slow me down, I just figured I'd deal with it later.
Probably a few minutes later I passed the guy that was in 2nd it looked like he was fixing a flat or starting too. So I put in a little dig I wanted to get back up to Dan Miller and not but a few minutes later disaster hit and the Stan's I don't seal sidewall tears was spraying everywhere. The front tire is flat and I'm retarded slow and fixing them, but today I'm on it and 3 minutes later I'm back on the bike. I think 3 guys had passed me. I hit the tire with air and did notice the tube was pushing out there the tire like a hernia. Damn it man this wasn't good one wrong bump and that would be it.
I started back up and it clicked if I don't finish the race I don't go to nationals. So I let back off the gas realizing I didn't have another tube and this set up wouldn't handle much punishment. I tried riding everything super smooth and basically stopping when I was turning. The race turned into a bike ride, a gingerly one at that.
O well that's racing I did finish 3rd in cat 1 30-39 and will be heading to nationals next month. Colorado Springs is next up.