Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shit happens

Where to I begin with this weekends Oregon XC Championship race down in Jacksonville, OR.  Let's start at the start of the race.  For starters their was only 5 of us that toed the line to claim Oregon's 2012 state championships   Sad, I know.  However, all 5 riders were strong enough to claim the title.  I didn't have the luxury to pre-ride the course so I went it the race blindfolded, so to speak.  I don't like NOT knowing what is around each corner.  As the gun went off (actually it was the race director saying "GO") signaling the start of the race, Evan Plews and I jumped to the front and set a good pace.  I took the whole shot into the first singletrack section, and this is where the "shit happens" begins.

As I mentioned earlier NOT knowing what is around each corner is not something I enjoy.  With that said, I continued at the front only to have my front wheel slip out from under my body, and before I knew it I was on the ground.  "What just happened", was my first thought.  Then instinctively, I picked my bike up and jumped back on to stay close to the rest of the riders.  Low and behold, as I mounted my bike and began riding again, I realized my handlebars/stem had been bent to one side.  I continued to ride this way and shortly after we popped back onto the fireroad, I stopped to adjust my handlebars.  I would have to stop once again later to do this because what I initially thought was straight really wasn't.

We climbed up a fireroad for a few miles and I worked my way back to Brig who was in 2nd while Evan was at the front.  I slowly pulled away from Brig but couldn't bridge the gap to Evan just yet.  With constant up-and-down riding (very similar to east-coast style of riding), we worked our way around the foothills of Jacksonville.  In the course description, there was a "monster" climb labeled Jed's climb (named notoriously for a local rider named Jed who rode his bike to/from work via this hill climb.  How bad could it be?  When we hit it I knew we were on it.  Fortunately, it wasn't that long, but damn it was steep; steep enough to have me on the tip of my saddle leaning over my handlebars.  I hope everyone else hurt like I did climbing that damn thing...thanks Jed!  With temps in the 90's, the sunscreen I put on earlier was dripping down my face and into my mouth.  Nothing like tasting salty sweat!  At least it was my own...

Brig and I would sort of yo yo back and forth with me pulling away on the climbs and him catching back up to me at the bottom of the descents.  Towards the end we rode on a trail that had huge banked burms, lots of deep ruts, and more steep up and downs.  Near the bottom of this descent we rode some freshly made trails that was pretty sweet but short lived.  More of this would have been nice.

More shit happens.  At the bottom of the descent, we had popped out onto Reservoir Rd, which we were to climb for a few miles, then descend to the finish on singletrack.  Well as soon as I was on the road, my rear tire got sliced by a rock and was instantly flat.  Stan's seal did no good keeping air in this one.  As I prepared  to install my tube, I realized the valve stem was not ling enough to go through my Enve rims.  So.........I was left hopeless in my attempt to chase down Brig and Evan with any hope of winning the race.  It was an unfortunate flat because I was feeling good on the climbs and felt I could have pulled back Evan on the final climb.  As it turned out Brig finished 1 minute behind Evan.  As I walked my bike back down the road to the start/finish (about 1.5 miles...ugghhh) I saw Evan and Brig both crossing he finish line.  In the time it took me to walk down the road they completed the remaining miles of the course.  I couldn't have flatted at a more worse time.

Congrats to Evan for taking home Gold.

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