Peppy. Chipper. Zippy. No one would have used those words to describe how I felt on the morning of Day 2 of the Wildcat Epic 100 MTB stage race. I did, however, feel ready. Ready to ride and to squeeze out whatever remaining adenosine triphosphate my little mitochondria could generate.
My morning started by checking out of the Super 8, grabbing some pre-race coffee at Starbucks, and waiting for Pete--A.K.A. "Sprinkles," at the parking lot. Most people looked about the same way I felt, tired, but looking forward to another fun day on the bike.
There was another pre-race meeting where 50 miles of trail facts and warnings were described. Seriously, there's now way I'm going to remember, "when you pass the ice cream stand you'll turn down what looks like a driveway, keep going down to your right, then look for a trail on your right, cross the gravel road and head back into the woods on a short uphill and look again to your right, and then..." You get the idea. I heard "blah, blah, blah, get off your bike when you cross the paved roads." Got it.
course on day two was VERY different than day one. We again started with a neutral, rolling start through town with police blocking traffic. The pace was a little more than "neutral," in my opinion, but I wasn't redlined. We turned off the road and on to a crushed stone/gravel rail trail. We were all still in a paceline formation, and like day one, we were going fast.
We used the rail trail to head south, out of town, to get to some huge apple orchards and farms. Then, things got a little dicey. We raced through fields and on farm "roads," and the deep grass hid the ruts, rocks and irrigation pipes. It wasn't bad, but it kept you on your toes. Having done many cyclocross races through farm fields, it was familiar territory.
Oh, and by the way, I mentioned that one of the things that DID register with me at the pre-race meeting was that we were required to dismount on all road crossings (I'm NOT complaining--it's for our safety). Well, there were, I think, 876 road crossings. Maybe that's an exaggeration... maybe not. In any event, I've got all of my cyclocross dismount & mounting practice done for the year!
Despite our efforts, we were not able to catch anyone ahead of us. We could sometimes catch a glimpse of a rider ahead, but he was always just far enough (and fast enough), that we couldn't bridge up.
Williams Lake was fun, but on the way back towards town, we had to do a S-T-E-E-P hike-a-bike up a hill (wall?) that was probably 7 miles long. Okay, not really, but maybe 100ft? And did I mention that it was steep? Did I mention that every step was quad and hamstring cramping threat? Oh... it was evil.
It was another fast day, and I finished in under 4hrs. Boo-ya! Tom came in just after me, and Sprinkles a couple of minutes after that.
Of course, that meant it was once again beer & burger time!
I washed up, fueled the body, and hit the road.
All in all, the race was 100% fun, and I'm definitely going to be back next year!
|I snagged this pic from the race's FB page... thanks! For some reason though, it looks like I'm riding a 96'er... I'm not! It was bad enough for my OCD to ride two different 29'er rims (I need symmetry).
|At lunch, Sprinkles asked me if his face was still that dirty, it was... at least it gives him some color!