This year was different....clearly. New team members. New bike. New course. New me....not really in the good sense....but I am different now than I was a year ago. Not in nearly the same shape as last year, but that wasn't really the point. I had my bike...at a race...for the first time in exactly one year. If you remember....last year this race was called the "Deer Shaker" due to the senseless attack from the 4-legged bastard last year. At any rate.....we made it there safely this year.
|New Team Kit|
Mark, Mike and I met up by Gun Lake Casino and headed out. We arrived at Mid-Michigan Community College a little after 9. We found a parking spot and went to check in. After check in we geared up and found the rest of the team. The first year I went up to Sweat Shaker was 2 years ago and I made the trip solo. Last year I coerced Jay and Lisa into going and it was all good until the deer. Then I stood and watched while they raced to 7th and 2nd place finishes respectively. This year there was a bigger group. David brought his 2 boys. Greg brought his son. Ken, Mike, Mark and myself round out the rest of the team. Good to have support. Plus there was a handful of family there too.
|Myself, Mike, Mark, Greg, and Dillon (the rest of the team was scattered still)|
This event isn't a mass start, but all the classes start in waves at 10am. Every minute a new wave would go off. They called Sport Clyde and Open Fat bike in the same wave. I was trying to tell how many people and it looked like 8 in Clyde, but I wasn't sure.
Off we go. Knowing full well that my fitness isn't top notch I simply just dropped into the back of the pack. It thinned out pretty fast and I was second to last in my wave when we hit the singletrack. Only a fat biker was behind me. I held on to the back of the group for the first mile, but then I had to settle into my own pace. It wasn't long before the waves behind me were catching and passing me. Like I said, it was to be expected.
This course is pretty rough. Not tough, but bumpy, rocky, rooty fun. I was grinding away the miles. As I got about a mile or two from the finish Mark caught me. Right behind him in the group was Dilan. Boom, they were gone. I just kept plugging away begging my legs to go faster. They were ignoring me. I came in my first lap, swapped bottles and headed out for my second lap.
About a mile into this lap my legs started to feel better. I felt like I was riding faster, but I was also comfortable. The miles just ticked by and then I noticed a group of fast riders coming. Great, now I get to deal with Expert and Elite riders closing in on me...which can be bad if they are not patient. As the first group approached the leader called out "RIDERS BACK" and I moved over as three guys flew past. Every few minutes another guy or a group would come by, but they were all decent and I didn't have any issues. I just wanted to stay out of there way. Thankfully I didn't get caught in any super tight areas.
Finally I the trees open up and I know I am nearing the end. Not too all things considered. I took a solid 6th place. Just don't ask how many were in my class ;)
The rest of the team had a good showing. The kids all reached the podium in their classes. The adults all had good efforts and represented the team well. It was a good day with the group. With the early start we were back in town by 5pm. All in all a good day.
Next up.....Treetops XC. From the looks of it....lots of climbing. Not a course that suits a human with a excessive gravity such as myself.