Just did the first race of the Kenda Cup West series and Im really happy with how it went. On the podium with a 2nd place finish in the cat 1 35-39 bracket! sweet. I was really nervous coming into this race for a few reasons. I’d done well at a couple races before this one but they were smaller and shorter. Sagebrush Safari, the name of the event, is a long oldschool format with a lot of climbing and a big crowd. Plus I was sick this week and hadn’t been riding. I figured I would either do really well from all the rest or just die withing the first 30 minutes. The only way to know was to do the damn thing. With a big field, I really just wanted to make the top 60% so I’d lock in an invite to the invitational Unification race and get that monkey off my back.
The course starts on a paved road with a long steep climb. I stayed mellow and just spun in the top 10 trying to warm up since I got there late and couldn’t warm up before the race. Feeling good, but not confident it would last, I kept in the top 5 ’till we hit the climb and a guy took off. No one responded so I figured I’d better throw down… Grabbed a gap on the group and kept the guy in sight. For a little while.
The race was game on the entire time after that. No rest. It was hard to know who was in my division since there were so many guys and gals out there. I just raced ’em all.
Which brings up a couple observations: First, it was rad to see so many people out racing mountain bikes! I really hope that enthusiasm for mountain biking sticks around. Second, I could tell it was a lot of peoples first race of the season with their new bikes. Lots of people making adjustments on new gear along the trail. You think you have your bike dialed until you race it and that’s where you find the details. I was glad to have done a couple “B” races to sort my new bike out before Sagebrush so I could go into that race knowing at least my gear was gonna be dialed even if I wasn’t.
Also, now that the Sprout is getting older (3 in may!?), traveling to and being at races is getting a little easier on us (er, mostly my wife…Thanks!). The Sprout is so interactive now and independent. It’s a huge help, plus it’s amazing to see this little person becoming more and more of a person. Now if we can just find the secret recipe to avoid the hour of meltdown we get upon our return from a long day of racing. I think the combination of playing with a bunch of new kids, being out in the sun and weather all day, not getting a good nap in the car, and not eating enough (she is such a distracted bird about eating) contribute to her just completely unwinding in the known environment of home via total disintegration. With all 3 of us exhausted from the long day, that hour can be tough until we all get some food in our stomachs. After she eats and we chill on the couch together for a bit watching Elmo, things are right as rain again.
Also, I brewed a new batch of beer the night before the race.
Sweet! Except I came home from the race to see the yeast had really gone wild and was shooting up a fine misty geyser of sticky fermenting beer all over the walls and ceiling! Oops. I removed the bubbler and replace it with a large tube to allow the kraeusen to drain into a separate container rather than spray all over my walls. I’ll rack it into a secondary fermenter tomorrow and load it with a handful of oak chips and dry hop it with some more cascade hops for aroma. The house smells really good!