Race Report: Wednesday at Wakefield #3

a few days have passed
the wednesday night race is fading as a memory
this morning's ride and this sunday's race are more on my mind
yet, I want to try and sort out some ideas just the same

Race Report: wednesday at wakefield number three

this week there was the third race of the four race wednesdays at wakefield summer series
trying to mix things up a bit I decided to race with the single speeds at six
trying to get a little more of a workout I decided I would also race with the clydesdales at six fifty-five on the geared monkey

the finish time of the early race and the start time of the late race would be close
but the idea of doubling up the races is nothing new
the one race is twenty bucks
the second is ten bucks
as I am sure the first few that considered this argued that twenty and twenty was too much

doing the early race involves the getting to wakefield early
which means getting out of work early
not sure... but I think that the single speeds are unemployed
that is why the do not have gears
as they can not afford them
there is no other explaination how the class with the greatest numbers of entrants can start while most people are at work
silver spoons? guess that nulifies the notion of single speeders can not afford gears
any way...

got out of work early
loaded both the rigid skid mark brown
single speed surly karate monkey
and the geared army green karate monkey with front shock
with both bikes riding high on the roof rack of the already tall and boxy honda element I took 14th Street out of town
it is painful for a bicycle commuter to rush head on into car commuter traffic
it is always a good reminder that I could not exist as a car commuter

the traffic was its northern virginia best
the dangerous mix of people moving aggressively fast
along with the people moving foolishly slow
my heart rate went up when the traffic slowed to a crawl
I got aggravated when I saw that traffic was slow and dangerous due to never ending cell phone conversations about nothing and blackberry emails from a job that they just left and will return to the next day
there was question if I would make it in time for the early race

in the end I got to wakefield pretty much within my forty five minute estimate
which was just enough time to change and run up to the registration
just enough time to arrive as scott scudamore announced that registration for the early races closed in forty five seconds
I paid my money and filled out my forms at the same time

arriving late did not offer for much socializing or much warming up

I gathered some gear and stowed it along side my geared monkey
the geared bike had a number for the clydesdale race
the single speed had its own number
normally I race against the clydesdales on the rigid monkey
on this day I was going to mix it up with the single speeders
so I brought the geared bike with shock so the beating would not be too brutal on the second set of laps that night

as I ran about getting ready slamming free energy drinks (XS calorie free energy drinks) I learned that the PVC promoters were mixing things up this week
they were going to run the course backwards
I chose to race a double on backwards day
luckily they shortened the course... as common sense would say that a course that is all burmed out and flows so well one direction... this same course run very different if taken the opposite way around

arriving late I shamefully got myself into the second or third row of racers
the single speed is a big class
the hole shot is vital for top five
I was not shooting for top five, but
I was not looking for getting stuck behind a pile up fighting for the single track

so I lined up at the side of all the starters not far off from a few familiar faces

greetings and questions were shared with various people in the seconds before the start
there was no time for anything more than a smile and a hello
the air horn sounded and the gravel started to kick up
the racers mashed forward up the the course in the opposite direction
going up sections they usual go down
while going down sections they usually go up
in case you could not figure it out... that is what happens on backwards day at wakefield
when you run any course in the opposite direction

the race up the first hill in many ways decides the race
too far back...
you will never make it forward
the lead guys were burning up the riderless course in front of them
I accepted my position as I saw who was pacing right in front of me
familiar racers whose speeds and times are often similar to my own
chris redlack and jason stoner entered the second section of singletrack right before me

things seemed right

just a few yards into the woods and redlack dropped his chain
which scooted me up to stoner

there were times where I wanted to go faster but accepted that there was no place to pass and that the pace of stoner was more than likely a good pace for me

the course revealed to be quite a surprise
it was fun for the course to be switched around
it did seem like more work
lots of efforts to accelerate halted by sharp corners and hairpin turns
the familiarity was there
but it was more of a tip of the tongue phenomena than actually knowing what to expect
yes, it was familiar
but not familiar in this direction other than site
not by feel or anticipation

lap one went by quickly
the removal of some of the creek trail had a shorter course and sped up the times
then lap two began to flow as things got more familiar
managed to pass stoner and got passed by another
pretty much held that place
the third lap I was on the tail of another single speed
was waiting for an efficient place to catch his tail and make the pass in one move
but he pulled a tad ahead after a few passing opportunities
unfortunate inability to pass juniors and beginners let him sneak away
energy had to be conserved for the clydesdale race
having strength for the next three laps was more important that bursting myself for one or two more places

came across the line
left the celebration to the others and headed for my other bike
while fueling up with more heavily caffinated drinks I went ahead and changed my shorts, gloves, and glasses
filled my tool-less mini-camelback
put my helmet back on and cautiously rolled down towards the start finish
fearing the whole time that the expert class would be released causing one ugly game of chicken

arrived thirty seconds before the expert release
just in time to finish my can of XS ENERGY drink
free energy drink that is calorie free
I love free!
with my drink finished it was time to go

the horn sounded and we were off
I had gears
and ya know what... I used them
the little roller climb that started things off
I switched gears and enjoyed it
hit the gravel road then into the woods again
felt a clydesdale racer right on my back

tapped my front brake
had to grab my front brake
did a little polish wheelie but was able to correct and get back on trail
the following clydesdale was forced to do a little panic stop himself
the aggressive stop knocked something loose with his disc brakes
I could hear him on my tail through the woods

in no time at all we were catching the tail end of the sport class
one by one
group by group I tried to make a pass
some were good in granting me a path
others made me take it
there was the usual joker that raced me as I tried to pass along side off trail
that is to be expected

two laps through the race I was feeling pretty good
was getting a feel for riding with gears and shock
also getting a feel for my control with what seemed to be a slow leak in my rear time and my less that powerful braking in the front

not far into lap three I hit something
not sure where or how
could have been on an aggressive off the trail pass
it could have been just a standard hit with my fat ass on a tire that was quickly losing air
maybe it would not have happened with a fresher less worn tire
how or why?
who cares?
it happened
two weeks in a row I flatted out
again I was riding without tools, tube, or pump
so... like last week I tried to run it
just like last week I ran it for a hundred yards
only to remember that I am not a runner
I am a mountain biker

so, just like last week I mooched a twenty six inch tube for my twenty nich inch wheel
even borrowed some CO2 from a mechanic from the Pro Shop who had pulled off due to a mechanical
sure enough everyone passed
everyone passed
all the sports I had passed
all the clydesdales that had been behind me
all the women sport racers

with heavily sweaty hands I tried to finish the tube replacement with outside assistance
then put the wheel back on the bike
wrestled with the monkey nuts
only to feel the tire rubbing as I took off
dismounted and remounted the wheel straight... ignoring the one monkey nut that was not doing its job

with what little energy I had I tried to catch so many that had passed me
the course is not passer friendly
I passed what I could
I rode the pace of those that were before me
I pulled over for the leading experts
and I tailed them as best I could
made a number of passes
enjoyed the flow of some of the other racers
accepted that I was running out of course

finished pleased with my efforts
felt good about my energy levels
felt like a fool about my flat and my lack of concern for the performance of my bike

fell from first to fourth in the Clydesdales
managed to finish 12th in the Single Speed
would have liked top ten
but felt pretty okay with 12th

WAW# 3 Photos by Gary
photos of #1 and #2 from Pete
waw#3 results

XS Energy Drink

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