I always look forward to the annual trip to Waverly for the IMBCS race at Camp Ingawanis. Rob Walters and his posse always do a nice job with the course, schwag and post race food. I especially look forward to it when they do the race on the north loop. Lot’s of climbing, a sweet, techy rock garden and a lot of smokin’ fast descents. Today was especially cool because it was Mother’s Day and my Mom made the trip up from the QC to do the race.
After a recon lap, we lined up for the start and I took off with intent of being first into the woods. We hit the singletrack with me leading the way. The lead group eventually whittled down to myself, Kevin McConnell, Scott Gall and I think Brian Fuhrmann might have been there for a short while too. During lap 1 we eventually shook Brian and it was the three of us riding together for the first two laps.
After lap 1, Scott took over going up the gravel climb and we rolled into the woods on lap 3 with Kevin on my wheel. Throughout lap 3, I could tell that Scott was beginning to run out of gas, especially on the climbs. So about midway through lap 3, I went by Scott and put in a slight acceleration with the hope of at least loosing Scott. Kevin also got by Scott and tried to close the gap down to me, but seemed to be struggling.
I kept the pressure on with one eye on the trail and the other on Kevin. It’s a good course for Kevin because he’s a good technical rider. So I focused on putting hammer down on the fast open sections and being smooth through the techy stuff. I managed to hold off Kevin for the my first win of the season. Kevin rode a great race and brought home a much deserved 2nd. Brian Fuhrmann kept it together enough to get by a rapidly fading Scott Gall for 3rd.
Julie had ‘one of those days’. She was pretty pumped because the women’s Cat 1 field had 6 racers…that’s right, I said six! It wasn’t that long ago when we were lucky to have one woman toe the line in the expert / Cat 1 field. Julie and I are both totally stoked at the growth of women participation in mountain bike racing. So back to ‘one of those days’. Julie and I were doing a course recon and I was riding a little ahead of her to show her the ins and outs of the course. We were cruising through the rock garden and I was far enough ahead of her that I couldn’t see her when I looked back. I cleared the garden and shortly thereafter I heard a loud ‘crack’. My ‘female might be in trouble’ radar was in full alert mode, despite there being several other folks riding in front of and behind us. I doubled back and found her standing next to her bike, doubled over. She said that she had t-boned a tree and was taking inventory of any possible bodily damage. Once we determined that all was good, we continued on.
That more or less set the tone for the rest of her day as she hit the deck again during the race. She somehow managed to cross up her front wheel and flatted. She had forgotten to bring Co2 with her and ended up walking. Jim Logan eventually rolled up to her and offered his Co2, however the bead wasn’t set and the tire wouldn’t hold air. Jim, being the great guy that he is, offered Julie his front wheel. He was having a not so good day too, and was pretty insistent that she take it. She tried to decline, however Jim was having none of it. He pretty much took her wheel and put his on her bike and told her to get lost. That’s one of the many reasons that I love this sport. You won’t find a better group of people to hang out with. Oh, and Linda, if you’re reading this, mountain bike racing is still a very safe sport! If and when we crash, we usually land on very soft dirt and weeds and rarely end up with any broken body parts. I wouldn’t let your daughter participate if I thought that she was in any kind of danger. Nor would I allow my Mom to partake in the fun.
Speaking of my Mom, she had her usual ear to ear grin on her face the entire time she was riding. Watch her ride and that pretty says it all as far as how much fun riding a mountain bike can be.
Thanks for reading,