Against nurses orders, I stopped taking narcotics just in time to go out for this week's Short Track race. The main goal was not to fall on my face (or any other part). As I rode out to the course, I saw a guy pushing a tall/chopper bike who seemed to be headed towards PIR. Hmmm, strange place for a freak bike, I thought.
I arrived nice and early so I could pre-ride a couple of times. For once I didn't have the sensation of freaking out before the race. The course was surprisingly sane this week. The back field was too wet to use, so no extra start loop and no gravel hill. Can't say I missed it. It was a fast course, with long gently curving grass sections, the usual tight twists, some bumpy descents but nothing really hairy. And they even left one of the logs in for the beginner race. This was no big deal, unless the person in front of you didn't clear the log and you weren't ready for it. The infield was pretty fast too. No huge ruts like last week and only one hair-pin downhill turn. All in all, a perfect course for someone who recently had teeth yanked out.
Before the race, I loaded up on some more Ibuprofen and my post-surgery antibiotic. If I do well, I'll give the credit to doping. If I do poorly, I'll blame it on doping. At the start line, there seemed to be a lot of women who had either never been on a mountain bike or were very very new to it. Beginner doesn't necessarily mean slow, however, as the woman who had never been in a mountain bike race, left the rest of us in the dust. I assume she'll be upgrading next week...
The race itself was even more fun than last week. I didn't have anyone directly slowing me down like last week, until I started passing juniors (and a few men, whoo hoo). I just took it as an opportunity to rest. I started out well, but a couple of women got ahead of me and I couldn't find another gear. I did however, finally stay ahead of Sharon (my neighbor). She already confessed to having spent the weekend doing epic rides though, so we'll see if I can repeat my performance next week (when I will be zonked from three days of MTB Oregon).
I also met my other goal, which was to get air at the finish line on every lap. Last week, the announcer started a big air/style contest and even laid down across the finish line for certain riders to jump over him. Now that's trust. The section just before the finish was a perfect lead up, down hill and then a long straight away. I couldn't really tell how high I was getting, but I was pretty sure my wheels left the ground every time. Despite this effort, I could not get any love from the announcer! I was so annoyed. He had a lot of trouble getting any air from the women last week, so I think he was just not looking, not expecting any air from the women, especially in the beginner race. I had a little chat with him after the race, and I think he'll be giving me a little more love next week.
I'd especially like to thank Rick from Seven Corners/Team Beer for yelling at me to go faster on every lap. I didn't always obey, but it's nice to have a cheering section. I made sure to return the favor.
Just before the final race of the day, there was an exhibition lap by the Zoo Bomber crew. Pictures say it better, so check out the video below: