To the winner goes the sparkling cider!

Well, just racked up some more scabs on the shins at the final Rim Nordic series race #4. Oh yeah, I won the series in the expert 30-34 category and am now “XC Series 2008 1st in Class Overall” as my cool picture frame award says. Schawing… It was a cool way to end a nice weekend in Big Bear. We spent a long 3-day weekend up there with some friends at their cabin. These “bike race vacations” are typically anything but relaxing, with the racer (me) usually so stressed out about messing up his/her (not naming names here) performance on those last critical days before the race that they do nothing but stress everyone else out around them making sure “the racer” (again, no names please, it’s not important who) is not disrupted. But that was pre-baby. Now I’m sticking to my guns. I just wanted to have a good time and not get all hyped up. And it kinda worked.

P1000208We loaded the Prius and drove up Friday, only 30 minutes off schedule. I had to have my egg sandwich from Pipes Cafe. The sprout only cried the first hour before she fell asleep and she didn’t barf at all while we were driving up the twisty roads to Big Bear this time. I should note The Professor was driving.

We met our friends Captain Epic and his family up in their cabin in Big Bear where they had been for a couple weeks already.

I had met them on a camping trip in the spring before I’d given much thought to getting back into riding. I noticed his mountain bike hoody and we ended up getting along pretty well, eventually doing some rides together. I quickly realized I needed to add at least an hour to any hypothesized ride time Captain Epic told me, maybe two. That’s just my style. Of course with the sprout at home, I’ve gotten in a bit of hot water a couple times. I’ll bet that’s been covered on the professors blog… but I digress.

The sprout really loves them and she enjoys staying up at their cabin. Maybe it’s because it gives her a chance to hone all those danger baby skillz I try to teach her when The Professor isn’t around like this or this.

Either way, when the baby’s happy, we’re all pretty happy.

Captain Epic tried to lure me into the den of distance but my brave wife fended off his advances (I am too weak to resist) and we only rode for 2 hours on Friday on some dirt roads and some fun singletrack. After the ride, it was time for some booze and bread. Sometimes life is grand.
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Saturday we had a leisurely morning followed by a fun 2 hour ride on some loosey goosey singletrack. Because the trees had all burned down in one of last years fires, I could feel the sun starting to sear my body in the open spaces. Sunday was going to be hot hot hot. I could feel it. Crap.

That afternoon we took a pontoon boat out and the Sprout got her first boat ride. Also got her first chance to hate life vests. Luckily I was able to divert her attention with the aid of some wind in the face… P1000153

I got the bikes ready for the big day that evening.

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I was really worried about mechanicals ’cause I almost lost #2 with a flat and this time around I had made a lot of fit adjustments that weren’t totally dialed yet.

I should have worried less about that and more about my own technique…

The big day, race day. Have I mentioned I really like the Rim Nordic course. It has a good mix of roads and singletrack so at least if I’m sucking ass, the trail is fun. But F&$% was it hot and sunny. I think all the sun from being out all weekend was starting to get to me. Did I drink enough? Remember, stick to those guns, good time. That’s better. And it was a good time. I don’t know the guy that beat me, I hadn’t seen him before, but it was a fun cat and mouse. I shot ahead the first lap. He bridged on the second. I caught him after the switchbacks, he crashed. I waited for him to get up because it seemed gentlemanly. I got ahead and he was out of sight, guess he broke something. Shit, there he his again. Had I known he could catch me at will, I would have kept going. That guy was a bridging genius. Then I crashed pretty hard on the swithcbacks of the final lap trying to stay on his wheel and had a hard time getting out of one of my pedals. Note to self, time for a new set of cleats. I get going again, spitting out the dust… and hit the same tree I hit in the first lap. Whats up sketch? Every once in a while I got a teasing glimpse of him in front of me but never managed to bridge. He beat me by about 20 seconds. He was the faster rider. It was a really fun race, being pushed outside my comfort zone like that. I think getting 2nd is usually the most painful result because it makes me wonder what I could have done differently. Someone asked if this was one of those times or if it was a “good” 2nd. I think it was a good 2nd. Plus I won the overall, which was a very nice consolation.

We packed the gear and the sprout and headed home.P1000211

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2 Responses to “To the winner goes the sparkling cider!”

  1. […] While we were there, Ben won his bike-race overall for the season. He’s got his own description of it here. […]

  2. Sounds like a good time. I am not sure that I got all of the technical stuff about the race, but I still enjoyed the description and got the excitement. Nice pictures, as always.

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