I'm all backed up. I'm racing tomorrow, and I still haven't written the race report from last week. And I've been hearing about it. Much like the flack I once received from my high school English teachers, fans of the squirt gun show have been demanding a Harding Hill report. Well, my public is fickle, and entertaining them is the burden I must bear, so without further adu, or procrastination, I present the Harding Hill race report.
I killed it. Done.
No really, you deserve more. By now you've probably noticed that I'm not too into the "this happened, then this happened, then this happened" type of race reports. There is no shortage of race reports on the wide web, so if you're looking for course conditions or layout, look elsewhere. Today I want to talk about the one thing that I took away from this race.... I am really fast. All modesty aside, I'm serious. Ever since I've started racing against the pros, I've held down the back of the pack and pretty much felt like the slowest guy in the race. I've been watching the back of Colin's jersey since the beginning of June (I know, right?). Well, not anymore, let's back up a bit...
Goal for the day.
I had a pretty tough goal for this race, I had to bring back respect and honor to the International Bicycle MTB ninja platoon. It seems that last week, a certain teammate of mine was out making our team into the laughing stock of the New England bike racing scene. Our street cred was at an all time low.
Why I raced expert.
This expert race cost $28 to enter. The elite race costs $45. I have been racing the Elite Root 66 races because I feel a bit guilty riding off the front of the expert race, and you get extra training for the same price. I did not want to pay $45 (+$4 for a one day EFTA license) to get my ass whooped at a small local race. Plus, my career nemesis Brian Wilichoski was pre-registered in the expert class. Cheaper price, mixed with the chance to tie up some unfinished business? Easy decision.
I like to arrive fashionable late to the start line. Harding Hill used a mass start. These two facts do not play well together. I didn't realize all the experts were starting on the same whistle until I was standing at the back of the pack. Thankfully, the start line was about 50 feet long, and I was on the correct side of it. TWEET! (that was the starting whistle, it has nothing to do with twitter) The group sprint starts, it was a blur, but I remember threading the needle, 3 times, moving up through a tight field. I was kind of on autopilot, going where my instincts took me. I attribute these skills to years of lining up at the back of gigantic killer b fields for cyclocross starts. Only difference is, cross racers go for the whole shot like their team sponsorship is on the line, mountain bikers can't sprint, and don't really care to. Due to this, we are flying down the single track and I'm third wheel. Alec Petro takes off down the trail, not to be seen again until the award are handed out, and I'm left bird-dogging a Claremont Cycles singlespeeder. I feel fast.
Through the first sloppy section, we're cooking, and I'm following way to close to pick out a line. I end up going down pretty hard, thankfully the ground is like a sponge, and I'm back up and running immediately, trying to stay in front of the gigantic, fast moving pack. First guy that moves up past me? Brian Wilichoski. Awwww shit. That flipped the switch. From then on it was hammer time.
I am much faster than beginner and sport racers.
At the end of that first lap, I caught some of the elite racers. On the second lap I caught up to the beginners. On the third lap I was catching sport racers, on the forth lap it was madness. I literally passed over a hundred racers. On the climbs I was weaving between slower traffic. Left, left, right, left, right. I felt fast.
Harding Hill by the numbers.
After the entry fee, one day EFTA license, veggie Sub and chocolate milk I got after the race, gas money for Thom, I was exactly $50 poorer. First place expert payout? $50. Sweet.
It sucks to try and write a race report a week after the race. But I am done before the start of my next race, so that means I pass right? Lamest race report ever. You think I'd at least throw some clip art in there or something. Hold on, I'll run spellcheck, but then I'm done.
Oh yeah, I won. And I beat someone I've been trying to beat for 4 years. Sweet. I feel I should mention that I've always hated Mt. Snow. Just putting that out there.