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Race Report: Farihill Classic 2005
maybe time to shave... sideburns are clearly not helping with the SPEED!

(reader's digest version)
the dried dirt and the race numbers were still on my geared Karate Monkey from that fateful race at Michaux where I broke my index finger
I had not been on this particular bicycle in months
the wheels rotated without hitting the brakes
the gears seemed to cover the full range
some air in the deflatted tires and some lube on the chain and I the bike was ready to go
packed up race gear and some race fuel (Red Bull, water, hammer gel... gatorade would be bought in transit)
put the loaded bags and the bike by the basement door

summer rain of monsoon proportions attacked the Washington DC area Saturday evening and on through the night
watched the doppler radar and the reports at Weather.com
tunned into the trailspinners.org site for cancelations
much to my dismay the race was not canceled
there was a claim at a 5:30 am update to the web page
looked deeper for excuses not to race but could not find them
before the alarm could go off I was already awake from the presence of my younger son Grant
with no real excuse I felt committed to the task of racing

rolled up to the race with fellow City Bikes Team member Joe Foley
arrived at the race to find things looking pretty dry
it had rained... but it was still pretty dry
the showing was a tad sparse
apparently the weather kept some racers away

was frustrated that the promoters had dropped the Clydesdale Class
was excited to race just the same
was feeling strong and confident

the course had been modified from years prior
as well as some changes to the release of the classes
there were several mass starts
each mass start was a mad dash on a jeep road leading into a hard left into the single track
each and every person looking to fight getting caught in the slow train
no one wants to be the last set of legs in a single track catepillar

after some words and some contact of the bikes on that tight left hand turn
I on the went into the woods with the lead guys of my class

as per usual it took a bit to find a groove
held my position and pulled away from much of the group
while there were times when I was the head of a single track catepillar
around mile 9 I was wishing that this was a 10 mile course
around mile 9 I was thinking that I may want to pull over and leave it as a 9 mile day
but... DNF (Did Not Finish) is not an option!
DFL (Dead Fucking Last) has more glory than DNF
so I accepted DFL as an option and kept pedalling along

around this point I saw Joe Foley up ahead in his Orange and Red City Bikes Jersey
rather than getting inspired to ride up on his tail I went the opposite direction (so to speak)
at this point I resolved myself to riding out the race
taking a non-competitive approach to things
allowing any and all that wanted to pass to get by
being far less agressive about passing riders as I approached them
there was no gas in the tank
24 miles was starting to sound very long

shockingly the miles did roll by
some miles harder than others
there were a few crashes and a few spills... but nothing serious
the heat was brutal
drained my camelback
sucked down water at each and every water stop
even slammed my water bottle filled with Gator-Rage; a Red Bull/ Gatorade mix
the humidity on top of the heat made things beyond brutal.... it was unbearable
this is a variable that all who were racing had to deal with

when passing the third and last water stop at mile 19 I was feeling pretty good
not strong
not fast
not fit
not energized
just positive that I was going to finish this race

around this time I rolled up on Joe Foley
we rode a few miles together
till I took another spill and let him roll on into the distance

a number of racers passed as I put my chain back on the bike
with the chain in place I was back on the bike
rode out the final miles feeling quirte glad to see the Finishline in the distance
rushed from the finishline without checking my time and going directly the nearest water hose
where I showered, drank excessive amounts of water at high volume, cleaned my bike, and showered again

felt humbled
my finger was not an issue
there was the standard fatigue to the upper body
but nothing relating to my finger injury or my finger's immobility
it was my legs and my lungs
my speed was not matching up with my fitness
the muscle is there but no endurance
it was a great wake up call for someone who just registered for the Shenendoah Mountain 100

great racing just the same
there was the question... on a tight winding course such as Fairhill.... would I be faster on a 26 inch wheel bike?
this is something I have been meaning to put to a test
similarly I have considered riding my geared monkey at this week's wednesday at wakefield race to compare Rigid Single Speed Times to a Geared front suspension time

results are in
I ended up 7th out of 22 in Men's Sport Vet II

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