I haven't raced a mountain bike in awhile. The last time I did that was at the Circumburke. That was a pretty high note, because I won. In fact, it's memorialized on their website in a pretty funny way (I'm lying there because I tweaked my back, not because of exhaustion. I swear!). I really like mountain biking, but back when I was a Cat 2, it sort of sucked: drive to race, ride on mediocre trails for and an hour and fifteen minutes as if it were a 'cross race with some rocks and go home. Circumburke was cool, because that took a long time. Racing for over five hours means you got your money's worth. I upgraded, because I had some good finishes awhile ago, but I hadn't really done anything with it. The entry fees had also gone up, which wasn't particularly attractive. Also, I sort of suck and didn't want that to be further proven by getting my ass kicked by all those fast guys.
But lo! A race that was only $25 and it was on those weird New Haven trails I rode with Marko a few weeks ago. And, I've finally started getting up the gumption to ride a singlespeed bike in public. I should enter that one. So, I did. The start time wasn't too early, but it wasn't too late. It was 20 miles and for $25, that seemed like a reasonable deal.
Preregistering didn't have too many people registered and no more registered day of for singlespeed. It was a field of four. One of whom, Gary Hoehne, I have raced the cyclocross bikes against and two I didn't. One guy was older than me and friendly and the other guy was wearing jorts. I like riding in jorts, but not when it's so muddy.
The start was on payment and we were spinning at our crazy maximum speed of ~17mph right quick and then dropped into the woods. I was in second, but all four of us were tightly packed until the little ascent, where I took the lead. Then we crossed a road and there was some more ascending, but there was also a bog, so there was some walking for a minute, then back on the bike whereupon it turned into stone steps and then there was a guardrail where people were helping lift your bike over said guard rail. Afterwards, there was a climb on the road for like a half mile, then a little bit of rocky single track to climb and finally a this nuts rocky, steep descent. I think it dropped like 400 ft in a tenth of mile. The rest of the course was mostly gravel paths with another rocky single track section that had one mildly steep ascent that caused me to drop a chain on laps 1 and 3. On lap 1, I got passed by the guy who was older than me and friendly. I didn't realize that it was him at the time and thought it was the leader of the 50+. So, when I caught him at the beginning of the second lap, I was all confused and he said that he passed me when I dropped my chain. Then I felt really bad for having sort of accused him of cutting course.
He never caught me again and I kept on doing my thing. The course deteriorated and so did I and I ended up walking a few more steeps than I would have liked on lap three (well, really just one more than the previous laps).
So, that was that. It was a good race and I was really impressed that the New Haven parks and rec people came out and opened up their facilities for us: two hoses, a bathroom and a little spot for me to stash my messenger bag (I parked really far away) in the nature house.
Apparently, CT singlespeeders haven't been doing great this year, because winning one race also made me state champ. I wish I could do Winsted Woods, but I have law school graduation that day. Stupid law school ruining my life some more.
Photos stolen from the Root 66 facebook page and taken by Geno Esponda.