Wow. One would not expect to jump so fully into such silliness as racing a fully rigid singlespeed 29" wheeled clown bike, a week after building it, and hey! Why not race Elite too. Are you fucking kidding?
The short version - for those that may not know - is thus; I've raced for 5-6 years now, pretty seriously at one point, even garnering a few Nationals podium spots and the 2009 EFTA Expert Veteran Title - but as a full-time dad, training is not the 650+ hours a year it used to be, my svelte 160 pound frame is more like a lumpy 175 pound Muffin Top, and my threshold power is a shadow of what it used to be.
Racing is fun. This crazy clown bike makes it more fun. So there you go. I've always found the satisfaction in racing not in winning, placing, or showing - but in the internal personal challenge. You all know it - whether on a bike, at work, or at some other treasured endeavor. For me, I knew I was not going to be anywhere near the top spots in the mens elite race at Weeping Willow, but I knew I could build a goal around consistent riding and lap times, and trying to NOT be DFL. I was shooting for a "DF" (Did Finish!). That's pretty much it. Scaling ones expectations helps when setting these sort of goals - so aside from my silly crash near the very end, I was able to exceed my goal(s) here.
Not to say that having those goals / expectations can't fall in line with a hunt for a podium spot.
But honestly, in the Elite Category I'll try and simply minimize lap split time deficits and gauge endurance, effort, nutrition, and skill accordingly to race a consistent, longer race this group of hammers brings. Had I not crashed and made my arm/hand go numb for a moment and dropped a chain, I'd have had pretty consistent 53-55 minute laps.
The bike was not the limiter, really - as I ran a big enough gear to "draft" some geared guys on the dirt roads, albeit not the winners. My fitness was not a limiter either, again - as my goals were in line with a realistic target. In fact, there was no "limiter" here at all, as that does a dis-service to the exercise in simply challenging ones self, pushing ones limits physically and mentally, and having fun with a group of friends. THAT is what racing is all about, to me - that magic mix of pure sweet torture within, and the camaraderie that comes from a shared suffer-fest after it;s done and the dust settles, the blood dries, and the beer is done.
Was that really a race report? Sounds more like a meandering diatribe! 18th place out of 26 starters ain't bad! I slipped one spot while in the dirt shaking off that crash... but otherwise cn't wait to turn it up a notch next time!