W@W #1: Race Report 2010 Wednesday at Wakefield #1

days have passed and the memories of the moment have blurred... there have been multiple unsuccessful efforts to get down some thoughts... the passage of time has definitely blurred things... details have been forgotten...

a few images from the event may stir some memories... as of yet nothing as surfaced... not finding any photos from wednesday at wakefield postings on the web
there are a handful of photos on the memory card that may aid in jarring my memory


no lap split... times... but no lap times

splits would aid in better understanding my efforts on the course
it is also interesting to compare the sensation of an effort and the actual results of an effort
results but still no photos from wednesday at wakefield

Race Report 2010 Wednesday at Wakefield #1
W@W #1

Sunday... Father's Day the Sunday before W@W#1 I decided not to drive south to race the Massanutten Hoo Ha
there was too much to do... my life is not my own
Father's Day Fun with the family and a number of pool parties to attend took priority over dad racing his bicycle
I woke up in my own bed rather than in my tent
I was greeted with the surprise of a unicycle for Father's Day rather rolling out of a tent and lining up to race in the George Washington National Forrest
no... instead of racing my bike in Virginia I was in the alley behind my house going head to head with my nine year old son to see who learns to ride a unicycle first

after a cautious approach to the slow learning curve that is the unicycle Lisa left out with the boys for a bicycle ride on Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park this freed me up for a quick session at Schaeffer Farms
I loaded the Jamis Exile Single Speed into the car and drove out of town
at Schaeffer
I was not shocked to see the parking lot full of cars on this wonderful summer day

fueled with a mixture of excitement to get on the bike and a can of Red Bull I took to the trails with high intensity
off the pavement of the parking lot and onto the dirt trails in the woods I was already pushing things hard
aggressively I attacked each corner... thrusting over each logs and log pyramid in front of me
nearly sliding out on one corner I spoke to myself to tone it down
but before I could take my own advice I decided to launch the set of logs in front of me


not sure how it happened or didn't happen
all I know is that I was lying face down on the trail then my bike landed on top of me
my chain ring tearing a gash into my forearm and my wheel landing on my head

quickly I was back on my feet

at first glance it looked like my handlebars were tweaked
then a blink of the eye made it more clear
my front wheel was taco-ed
the bike was not rideable

game over.

no more then 10 minutes into my ride and I was limping out of the woods
walking out rather than riding out
the front wheel was taco-ed to the point it could not make a full rotation without making contact to the fork

to my pleasure there was a bike demo in the parking lot
I walked over to the EZ UPS and signed a waiver and took a PIVOT CYCLE into the woods

there were no XL 29ers available so I got on an XL 26er
my confidence was down due to my crash
while my sensibility was high
I knew the bike was diminutive and unfamiliar
so I tried to take the trails at speed without crashing

it was my goal to ride fast and hard without any more injuries

a few minutes into the ride and I had somewhat adjusted to the unfamiliar bike
the brakes and gears were spot on
the small wheels felt strange
the bike seemed to lag a bit
clearly the 29er is my native language

although I dwarfed the Pivot Cycle with its small frame and small wheels I still rode with confidence
perhaps foolishly so

a series of right hand turns and then a quick loop around the open field and I was hammering back to the parking lot
the bike felt good... I was excited to do a comparison between 26er and 29er

back into the woods pointed back to the parking lot my right foot caught a root of a fallen tree and like Icarus I crashed down to earth


nothing bruised on this crash other than my confidence and maybe my toe

bringing my tempo down a notch I rolled back to the Pivot Cycles base camp
still no XL 29er to ride
I drank water and shot the shit with the Pivot Cycles Reps
then decided I could wait no longer
the events of the day were calling me... it is not much of a Father's Day celebration without dad!

as I walked back to the car I started to wonder about my wrist
my left wrist was feeling a little off... I was sheltering it... cradling it... protecting it...
the crash on the Jamis Exile Single Speed had been pretty ugly...
that crash had taco-ed my front wheel and left some bruises and scratches on my legs and arms
this crash may have done more

with the car loaded up I accessed my situation as I started my drive back to town

anxiety swelled up inside me
the wrist did not feel right there was no swelling but there was intense pain
I drove towards the hospital...
a wrong choice at the 495 split sent me to American Plant to get some Butterfly Bushes and some Milkweed as a donation to my kid's school with money earned from The John Eaton Bike Swap

then back in the car I continued my way to Suburban Hospital
it had been decades since I had been to this hospital in Bethesda
I could remember my last visit to this hospital... it was a visit to this hospital that gave me a cast on this same wrist from a motorcycle crash
it shocked me that this information that was pre-computer was in their system

X-rays and review showed no break
it was just sprained
I left out of the hospital with nothing more than a splint and the recommendation to take it easy for a few days

arriving at the pool party a few minutes later than planned
the splint came off for swimming in the pool with the boys
but no rough housing... no tossing of the kids... no wild jumps off the diving board
there was pain... but not much more

a few days into the week and the pain had subsided
by Wednesday the splint was off and I was ready to resume regular activity
which meant... W@W #1
there had been a short discussion
but more than anything it was decided that my boys would be racing at Wakefield as well
so... when my wife Lisa got home from work we as a family drove out to Wakefield Regional Park for the evenings events

school was out so I hung with my sons Dean and Grant
our day was pretty mellow
we woke up slow with no rush to make anything happen
after some breakfast the boys went between Wii and Plants and Zombies while I walked the dog

before the day could slip away we left off for the pool
on the way to the pool we grabbed some new goggles for the swim season and some carry out Chinese for lunch
after splashing and swimming and eating it started to look like I should alter my focus to the bike

we drove back home and the boys rushed back to Plants and Zombies while I started to load up the car

the Honda Element would be loaded down with bicycles for all... including mom
when momma Lisa got home from work we would all head to Wakefield as a family

we got their early... plenty early for my Clydesdale Race at 6:55
but this did not offer the time for the SINGLE SPEED-CLYDESDALE BACK TO BACK
no... the kids were brought so that they could race in the Juniors Under 10 Event

with numbers on the bikes the boys lined up
I went to various parts of the course to cheer them on and snap photos

a little gap between 9 year old Dean and 6 year old Grant was enough that Dean left the Finish line looking for his family
which of course then became a panic for mom and dad
so... rather than warming up... I combed the area for my older son

luckily my friend Joe Coleman spotted what appeared to be a lost boy and helped him to find us

once the family was reunited I lined up with my group
there were some familiar faces but I was not sure if their were any HEAVY HITTERS in the Clydesdale group on this evening... GregP was not there... Koch was not there... Redlack was not there...
there were some unfamiliar faces whose threats had yet to be known

all the 6:55 Classes were unleashed before the big boy class... ah... the pleasure of passing

the race started at its usual base of the gravel road start
only... the gravel is deeper and looser than usual
which made for an exhausting effort for all the classes
I lined up to the far right to avoid any shouldering or elbowing that would take me down in the first 30 seconds of the race

there was a minute warning... then a 15 second warning... then a five second warning with a silent countdown
then we were released
at the sound of GO! everything stood still
no one left off... everyone remained dormant
then all at once... everyone lunged forward
it was a strange stoppage of time that often happens at the start line

the sound of tires kicking up gravel and cleats clicking into pedals
my heart and lungs started pounding and my legs started pushing
I raced for the gravel hill in an effort to try and select a hard packed line
although the race is not decided by the hole shot... it is nice to try and take control of the race early

on the hill I was in the lead
I could feel that there were wheels around me
at the crest of the hill I toned it down and avoided a mini-van doing a three point turn
then pointed for the singletrack
I had won the hole shot and could drop my pace and allow my body to regroup

my heart and lungs were working hard in the heat
I knew I would need to find a grove or else I would blow up

on the dry and dusty trails we rode the boardwalk bridges and ducked into the woods
it had been some time since my last ride at Wakefield things were not that different
different... but not crazy different
on lap one I went around the now easy to clear log as I worked to find a groove
not far into the woods and I was already catching up with Sport Women

one by one I passed the Sport Women
always trying to be respectful of everyone's right to their race
while also trying not to be slowed so much that my efforts to break away from the pack are not erased
there were times where I slowed my pace early so that I would not have to tailgate at a slow pace but rather intersect with the racers at a point where I felt I could pass them with momentum

on each lap the double track by the creek was a good place for passing
always asking the racer ahead of me if I could enter the woods before them

the race course unfolded and revealed itself as classic WAKEFIELD
in and out of the woods... up and down some sweet singletrack turns... blazing below the powerline
business as usual!
until they rerouted us towards the PHASE ONE BMX S-Curves

not unlike the "dippity doos" this sort of riding does not really suit me
the turns in the trees are where I am most comfortable
I appreciated the notion of mixing things up
but this addition did not flatter my riding style

on each lap I nearly crashed on the dippity doos
on each lap I was only able to rail the third and fourth banked turn with any speed
and even that was not so speedy

I felt that the climb leading to the banked turns was a greater factor in racing than the bank turns themselves

at the end of lap one I was feeling that classic Wakefield Wish
wishing that the race were only one lap
it was hot... it is always hot at the W@W
I tried to hydrate as I moved
water was in the bottle... it was vital
the dust filled my mouth and I was losing water fast

half way through lap two I saw what appeared to be two of the Clydesdales from the line
when the trail double backed upon itself I tried to get a better idea of who was chasing me and how far behind me they were
yep... sure enough... there were a few Clydesdales following close behind
maybe two or three turns behind

I knew I would have to pick up the pace

I would have to race smart... avoid the crash... avoid the technical malfunction... avoid the flat... and of course... pick up the pace so that there would be no argument on who crosses the line first in our category
there was a race... those other Clydesdales were challenging me

having crashed the Jamis Exile days prior effected me in a number of ways
there was some fear of crashing and getting injured
but there was also the issue of the bicycle
the notion that this is the wrong bike for this set of trails
too much travel and too big of a bike

the Niner Rip Nine may be the wrong bike for Wakefield
the long wheel base made it tough to arc the turns fast
I even crashed on the climb leading to the bank turns on my last lap when my pedal contacted the ground on a tight right switchback turn

the bike wanted to go faster... but the trails were not straight enough for the Rip Nine to just LET IT RIP

the trails may be too tight for the flow that the Niner Rip Nine enjoys
this is a better bike for Patapsco... or better yet The George Washington Forrest... or even courses like Greenbrier... but Wakefield... Wakefield may be perfect for the single speed

my unfamiliarity with the Rip Nine contributed to my anxiety
on laps two and three I cleared that very clear-able log with ease
but on no lap did I make the dippity doos look pretty
in fact... some of my approaches were ugly... Polish Wheelie Ugly... near ENDO UGLY!
too fast with no flow

it felt good
it felt good to be on the bike
it felt good to be out racing
it was really what my mind, body, and soul needed

even with my lack of control over my bike I felt good

the experience of seeing my boys ride and race was a joy
then to top it off with a solid execution of racing on my part gave me great sensation
I came across the line and was greeted by my beaming wife and my smiling children
it was a great reward... it was a wonderful moment

exhaustion and elation
all while being out of water

then a minute later the chase group of Clydesdales came rolling in... 2nd Place... 3rd Place... and then 4th
all of them closer to each other than they were to me

it was a race... the were there... not far behind me... not quite nipping at my wheels
but threatening me just the same
it was a good day of racing
I pushed myself and I was challenged by others in my class

Potomac Velo Club once again delivers the pleasure that is Wednesday at Wakefield
A Mountain Biker's post work softball game... a four game season... a great gathering of mountain biking friends
a good time for sure
everyone had their tales to tell
most everyone was walking around with wide smiles... even the ones with flat tires and broken bicycles

ah... Wakefield
I will definitely try to make it to a few more of the PVC Wednesday at Wakefield events this summer
and... maybe I will be able to bring my boys out for another night of racing!

No comments: