No. 1 In The Books
It seems like forever since I last threw a leg over my mountain bike to race (8 months actually) and it was high freakin time to throw down. Anybody who comes here regularly knows that I was having an internal (ok, not so internal) debate about which race to do over the weekend. Do I do the local race that MadMike puts on that is sure to be fun but is likely to have a low turnout or drive to hell and back (RI) for the Glocester Grind? In the end, I opted for the family friendly local race. The Maine Mayhem course is tight and technical. Over the years Mike has been able to work somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 miles of sweet singletrack into an area the size of your local Wal Mart's parking lot. It's a great venue for spectators since if you hang in one particular spot you can see racers pass five times on each lap.
The turnout, as expected, was low with only a handful of experts on the line. My main competitor for the day would be Mike Roy, a local bud of mine who knows the trails well and has been getting tons of hard road miles in (at least compared to me).
rockin the new kit
Mike leading the charge
The next time we passed the fam (5-ish minutes later) I had reeled Mike in and was dangling just off his back wheel. He seemed to be a bit faster on the first part of the course which is a bit tighter and I seemed to be faster on the faster second half of the course (maybe that's a 26" vs. 29" thing). We finished up lap one exactly as we had started it with Mike in first and me right behind.
B cheering me on when she wasn't paying more attention to the dog that was there...
hitting the berm at speed is super fun
When lap four finally rolled around I had what I figured was a good enough lead to win if I didn't do anything stupid and if my drivetrain held together. The combination of mud and a shit ton of pine needles had made my drivetrain sound like I was grinding granite into pumice. Things seemed to be working fine but the noise was horrific and unnerving. Thankfully, things held together though and I rolled across the line in first and claimed my $60 prize (6x the measly $10 race fee!) for the day.
I TOWER over my competition (or at least it looks that way in this picture)
Single chainring jambed completely full of muddy pine needles