Sunday was the third event in the Virginia Derailler Series. I was going into this race with an 8 point lead in my class. I was very nervous about this race. Peaksview usually draws a large crowd. When I went to bed Saturday night, I laid awake for at least an hour with the track playing out in my head. I felt like there was a lot riding on this race. It's a hometown race and I wanted to prove myself.
It was a beautiful day. With no rain the night before, the course would be fast. We set up Camp Jolly Roger in the infield of the soccer field that we would be riding around. While I was out getting warmed up, Tyler raced in the kid's race. He easily won. Now he wants to train with me over the summer and race in the Novice class in Rock Mount! I think that rocks! I know that he can do it, as long as he commits to the hard work. I am very pround of him.
After a brief racers' meeting, we all headed down the pavement for half a mile to the start area. Soon the experts were heading off. Then the 18-35 Sport and the Singlespeeds. I was next. I usually like to sprint at the start and try to get a lead on the competition. So at the word "go", I was off and sprinting. There was someone right there with me. Eventually he fell in behind me. After the half mile road we had to circle the soccer field through the rough grass. As I curved off the pavement, I was surprised to see that there were three people drafting behind me. Believe it or not, drafting can play a big part, even on a mountainbike. Churning through the grass, all three riders passed me. My plan of being first into the woods, turned into being fourth. I had my work cut out for me.
The three rider were cruising fairly fast, so I made no attempt to pass until guy in front of me began to slow down. I passed him right before RockPile. Then there were two. I followed them into Steve's Bowl-a-Rama. Near the top, the rider in front of me mis-shifted, which gave me time to slip by. Then there was one. The last rider between me and the lead was the winner in Bedford. He is very fast, but not very familiar with PVP. We had pulled away from the other riders as we began the climb on Squeeze. Almost at the top, there is a choice to be made. Go right and have a smooth path around a fallen tree, or go left and hop over the tree that has many chainring grooves in it. The rider in front of me chose right. I chose left and merged back onto the trail before him. From then on I slowly pulled away from him. By the time I hit Cyclone, he was nowhere in sight. Now it was time to pass the younger Sport riders and some SingleSpeeders. I was riding hard and on Bottom-Out, I caught up with Brandon. He let me pass. Next I saw Allen. He was running a strong race. I knew that he was ahead of Warren already. The last thing I wanted to do was to make him slow down to let me by. All he had to say was "Shake and Bake! I'll go right, you go left, you know where!" I knew exactly what he meant. We were coming up on another short split in the trail with two quick dips and steep climbs on the other side. Going left would give me the shorter route, but would not make Allen lose any momentum. It was perfect, soon I was out on the pavement again, heading for the halfway point.
Heading around the field and back into the woods, I was feeling pretty good. I was still catching some Sport riders and some Experts too. Right before Steve's, I ate some of my homemade gel. On Squeeze, I noticed that my gel bottle had fallen off the bike. Luckily, Chris had given me an extra Hammergel before the race. Right before Squeeze, I caught the last of the Sport riders. This guy is very fast. He destroyed everyone in Bedford. He asked me what group I was in. Then I noticed that he had no seat! Apparently his frame somehow broke at the seatpost on the first lap. Now he was riding his second lap in a standing position. I stayed behind him for a while, then passed him on Cyclone. He was able to hold on to first place in the 18-35 group. He had to be hurting. It was pretty amazing.
The last few trails, I was going just fast enough to stay in the lead. When I hit the pavement for the last time, I put it in the "big" ring in the front, hunkered down to get more aerodynamic, and pushed for the finish. I knew that I had first place when I saw the finish and no one was in sight behind me. After I crossed the line, I had just enough energy to pedal over to Camp Jolly Roger and fall onto the ground.
Chris was already there. He placed sixth in Novice. Soon after I finished, Allen came rolling in. He pulled out an impressive second place in SingleSpeed. Then Jen came in with a third place finish. It was a great day! Everyone did well. None of it would happen for me though if it was not for the support of my lovely Pirate Wench, Jess! She is always by my side at the races, supporting me and all of the other Jolly Rogers. Not only does she come to all the races that she can, she always encourages me to go out and train. She knows how important mountainbiking is to me. Therefore it is important to her. Thank you so much Jess! I love you!
Now there is a three month break until the Rocky Mount race. I have a 12 point lead in my class. I want to find some filer races. Carvin's Cove is definately on the list. Crongatulation to everyone who raced on Sunday. The friendships developed at these races are very important to me. From all the people in the Jolly Roger crew to new friends like Warren and Paula, Colton, and all the others. See you on the high seas! HOIST THE COLOURS!
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