Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Finding my place

Saturday I set off for Mid-Michigan community college with my bike and a few teammates. This event has been both a HIGH...and a LOW of my Sport Clyde career.

The event: Sweat Shaker

2014 Highlights

It seemed strange to race on a bike I had only ridden one time. Stranger yet, I picked up the bike the night before the race. I hit this even solo. Strategy was to start hard from the gun. I wanted to test my luck in staying with the lead group and holding on as long as I could. Not exactly sure what place I was when we hit the singletrack but I was with the leaders as we started to string out. 5 miles in I was alone again.....but still riding strong. 1st lap was a blur. I remember going through the finish area and thinking...that was quick...I wonder what place I am in?!?

A few miles from the finish line I caught a guy that was in my class. How do I know? Well, I recognized him...and I heard him say "awww shit" as I flew past him. I was still riding super strong and he was stalled on a tough climb. I crossed the line and timers wouldn't tell me where I finished. It was a surprise I guess. So I waited until the awards.

now to sport 3rd place.....Sean Evans. Huh? I actually hit my first sport podium and there were 8 people in my class. Sweet.

2015 Highlights

The week before this race I had just finished Lumberjack 100. Surely the top accomplishment of my cycling career. Heading to Sweat Shaker I was confident. Strong. Relaxed. Ready to take another podium on a course that favors me. 

.......shit shit shit shit....boom.....

The deer incident less than 2 miles from the exit ended my race before I even started. Jay's mirror gone. Doors on the driver side caved in. 3 race bikes mauled. Bike rack destroyed. Lisa's bike had a damaged fork and wheels...but she rocked the race to a solid 2nd place. Jay, wobbly wheel...managed to race without crashing to a 7th place finish. Honestly, still don't know how the hell he did it because the wheel was awful.

Me....well I was forced into a spectator role as my front wheel was demolished and my frame was actually bent. I said goodbye to a bike I had for only a year. A bike that I took my first sport podium on..and that I had just finished 100 miles on the week before. For a short career....the bike saw a lot of action.  
The night before LJ100, 2015

Watching was fun....but I was left to wonder what could have been. All the pieces were in place for me to have a solid outing. Confidence. Endurance. Favorable course. All I was missing was a bike. Darn.

But, we move on. I have a new bike now. But that is where the puzzle falls apart. Endurance is ok...I will be able to finish the race.....but I won't be fast. Confidence is wavering. I won't be able to ride angry or to ride with enough confidence to compete with the top flight of the class. I am simply not in good enough shape. My fault. Life happens. But, that won't stop me from trying. As I write this there are only 4 in my category. If nobody else were to sign up my chances of a podium are good....even with the current circumstances. 

This will be my first race of 2016. I hope to write a positive race recap.

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