Today was the second installment in the Virginia Derailer Mountainbike Series. It was held at Falling Creek Park in Bedford. It is a great place to ride and race, with plenty of challenges. Last year after being in Japan for two weeks and having jet-lag, I thought this course would be the death of me. I found out this year that it was not just the jet-lag.
We arrived early, before 9am, so we could set up the pirate tent, get registered, and warm up. Last night, Tyler decided that he wanted to do the kid's race. There were probably 8 or 9 in his group. At the start, he was battling one girl about his size. By the second lap, he was struggling a bit. At the end he came in third. Jess and I are very proud of him. I think that he really enjoyed it.
Now it was time for our race, so we all coasted down the hill to the bottom of the field. The experts started first in three waves by age group. Then, for some reason, they started all of the Sport, Singlespeed, and Clydesdale class at once. It was a huge group, maybe 40 to 50 people. My usual strategy is to break out to the front and get a quick lead. It would be tough with so many people starting at one time. Not to mention that the first 0.4 mile. was in the speed robbing grass and uphill. As we started up the hill I was in the lead group. I stood up and pushed hard. When I hit the shoet paved section I was in the lead and entered the singletrack first. This is where I almost used up all of my energy. The first few trails have some tough short climbs that sap strength. About a third of the way in, I clipped a tree with my shoulder and hit the ground, not hard but enough to shake me up a bit. On the backside trails, I was hurting. I got passed by 4 people. I kept up with the last one and passed him around mile 6. Finally I was at the finish line, but that only meant that I had another lap to do. Time to climb the grassy hill again, only a little shorter. I had been following Josh Gilbert for about three miles. After entering the singletrack again, he pulled away and I could not catch him. the second lap was not as bad as the first. I was alone for most of it. The last few miles, I kept seeing someone behind me. A good ways back, but still a threat. I had to keep pushing. When I came into the field and saw the finish, I knew that he could not catch me. After finishing, I realized how bad my chest was hurting. It eased up after a few minutes, but it seems that this course hurts me every year.
The thing about racing is that someone has to win. Today, it was not me, but I did come in second in my class, the largest one. I am very happy with that. Allen had a great day too, finishing third in Singlespeed. Jen won her class with an exciting finish. All in all it was a great day. All of my friends placed, Tyler placed, and Jess was there too, giving me support.
Kenny Palmer always runs a good race. Now it's time to get ready for Peaksview in two weeks. Congratulations to everyone who raced today!
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