The Bradbury 12
Where to begin? I knew going into the race this year that winning for the third time in a row would be tough, especially given the competition that was toeing the line for the fourth installment of the Bradbury 12. What I didn't expect was for the race to go as poorly as it did.
My game plan for the race this year was to start off a bit easier than years past so that I could finish stronger at the end of the race. With that in mind, I lined up 3 or four rows back in the solo field for the start. Bad idea. While I wanted to start slow, this was much slower than I anticipated and spent a good deal of time on the first lap trying to get around folks on a 99% single track course. Not easy.
The first lap was mostly uneventful (other than some well hidden fits of rage) other than the bridges (of which there are many) and roots being extremely slick with morning dew. There was lots of sliding out, fishtailing and all out headers being taken by folks in the corners. I was being cautious while trying to maintain a semi fast pace. Near the close of lap one, I caught up to my buddy Mike who was in the solo expert class and we settled into a pretty nice pace.
Near the beginning of lap two, while still riding with Mike, I slid out on one of the many bridges. I don't know how it happened because it all took place so fast but all I know is that I was still holding onto the bars as I was sliding (quite quickly) off of the side of the bridge towards a pile of rocks. Thankfully, I stopped at the edge of the bridge and only my bike hit the rocks but when I got up to ride, I realized that my left leg was in a world of hurt and totally unable to push a pedal. I decided to take a minute to compose myself (and change my gearing to a more maintainable 34x20) and headed out again when the pain had somewhat subsided.
Unfortunately, during that third lap I noticed that my neck and back had taken a hit from my fall and it was causing a nasty headache. I tried riding with it for a lap or two hoping that it would go away but after 5 laps it was clear that it wasn't going anywhere. I have a bad history with pain meds during races so I wasn't going to go that route so, instead, I tried hitting some caffeine to see if it would help.
I headed out for my sixth lap with a raging headache and no will to race anymore. The caffeine did nothing and I felt like a danger to myself on the course so I pulled the plug after about 5 hours of racing.
I thought I'd be more bummed than I was after the race but I guess I realized that things were going to get better so why not bail while I still had a chance of salvaging the rest of the day.
There's lots more to talk about but I'm out of time. More tomorrow.