Monday, May 4, 2015

Fort Custer Stampede

It was a beautiful day at the Fort Custer recreation area. Zack, Zoe, Chelle and I got there about 8:30 and helped Jay set up the tent. It was still pretty quiet but it didn't take long for the activity to start. While we were waiting of the race to start we went over and checked out the Kids race course. Zoe wanted to see what it was like. She walked a few of the hills....but was excited. 

We cheered for our friends racing Expert and Elite, then we headed over for the kids race. A pretty good group of kids were there so they broke it up into a few groups. Zoe was in the first group and they had to do 3 laps. I was following, but a little guy crashed and I was helping him out. I stayed with him to make sure he was good. When we got to the home stretch on the first lap there was another boy walking....pouting a bit. He had dropped his chain. I jumped off and got his chain back on and sent him on his way. Went back to following the little guy again. It was funny because as I went by all the parents and they CHEERED for me just as loud as the kids. lol. Zoe was the second finisher and she had a blast!

So, my start time was approaching. I went and did a warm up ride and then headed to the start area. I was chatting with Ross and Brian. We were trying to figure out who was in our class and who was in the other class that they combined with us. Not was time to go. 3, 2, 1....

And we were off. There were 24 Sport Clydes.....and the start didn't seem blistering....but we were stretching out pretty quick. I got in front of Brian and tried to settle into a pace. It was fast....probably too fast. I was just trying to hold onto the wheels in front of me. There was lots of passing and jockeying for position. We turned into Crazy Beaver and there was still a long line of riders. It was very cool to see because it was just a long train.....that was meandering through the woods. Normally we don't see many 30ish people all riding together was a cool thing to see. We made it up the first little climb and headed towards the trenches at the end of the red course. I knew there were riders behind me, and I heard "on your left" as a 15-18 year old tried to pass. I say tried because when he WENT...there was no ground...he went right off one of the trenches. About a mile later 2 more passed on the was clear...but they about caused a huge crash with the guy in front of me. Don't get me wrong...they were surely faster...but they were picking terrible places to pass....where there was zero room....and they very easily cold have gotten hurt....or hurt someone else.

I was a bit ahead of Brian...and then he caught me again. We pretty much rode together for the rest of the first lap. I was pushing as hard as I could....fearing that I would POP at any minute. At the end of the first lap I grabbed a bottle from Zack and took a gel. Brian gapped me and a few other guys got between us. Eventually I lost him. I had to slow down and just tried to settle into a pace. There were still a lot of people to ride I tried to just hang on if I could. It finally thinned out. I would catch a rider now and then...and another would catch me. In the Amusement park I saw a few guys stopped and realized that one was Brian. There was a log sticking out over the trail and it had smashed him right in the face. I asked if he was ok and he responded "I will be"....and I figured he was shaken...but I pressed on. I was slowing down...but I wasn't giving up. I was just going as hard as I could. 

4 miles to go.....keep going. Legs are fried. Is that Fred? Nope. Keep going. Surprisingly I was passing a few more people. They were running out of steam because we were nearing the end of the race. Knowing Brian was chasing I pressed on. I was worried about Ross blasting me right at the end too....but he had a mechanical and was forced to drop out. 3 miles to go....closer. I caught a Cross Country guy and drafted off of him for a while until the turn onto the pavement. I let it rip to get past him and shot back into the final stretch of single track. I saw Fred. Knowing for sure he is my class I tried to catch him.....but just didn't have the legs left to close the gap. I closed within 6 seconds...but he still got me.

My final time was 1:52. Good enough for 13th out of 24 in the Sport Clyde class. Zack did a fantastic job and finished 5th in Beginner Men 15-18. Lisa took 1st in her class and David W. took 3rd in the Sport Clyde class. The leaders were fast. lol. Brian wasn't far behind me....but thanks to a freak stick to the face I beat him by a small margin.

Next race for me is Lumberjack 100. Got lots of riding to do before then....

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