Or the race formally known as "Escape From Granogue"
I just love racing at Granogue. The course is very special to me, very peaceful, and very fun. I hear comments about the course like "It is very technical" or "It is one of the hardest courses in the series", etc. I really do not think it is either, but I am not going to sell it short and say it is easy, because it is not. This course has a lot of climbing (Barry, do you have a GPS track for this course??), a little bit of rocks, and lots of fun sections of singletrack. I cannot ever remember having a bad race here, but I certainly can remember finishing one spot away from awards many, many times. 2010 was no different.
The week prior to the race, I injured my back while working on a home improvement project with my father involving a toilet and a lot of wet flooring that had to be replaced. I was concerned about racing in my geared class, so I opted for the SS class. Seemed to make sense to me because I can control the hurt while on a SS. Back was better prior to the race and I was second guessing myself, but went with it anyway. The SS class is chock full of talent and it was easy to see who the ballers were on the start line. I have a history of racing singlespeeds, even though I have not in over two years. Many times guys see me racing on a geared bike and ask me about the singlespeed. Going back to SS, none of those guys asked me about gears, just welcomed me back into the fold. Starter said go and I did. One guy was a major turbo off the line and I went for his wheel, but decided to let it go. I maintained 2nd for a little bit (real little), fell over, and dropped back to somewhere around 8th. That will happen when you fall in the first mile of a race. I rode the rest of the first lap not passing anyone and not being passed either. and wheel to wheel with the top ten guys. I was hurting. Bad. A 52" gear is not the best choice for this course, but I went with what I had on the bike rather than switch something out at the last minute. On the 2nd lap, I felt much better, rode with Mark Sanford a bunch (which was new for me, but since he started 2 minutes back and does not like wet technical courses, it makes sense). I went back and forth with another SSer all race and he rode away from me in the last 1/2 mile of singletrack. Turns out he was the fifth place rider and got the last step on the podium. He deserved it!
Came home, took the singlespeed apart, and plan on racing a geared bike for the rest of the year. My hats off to you SS guys. I hurt worse at Granogue than I have all year. I am doing well in the points for Vet II sport and need to remain focused on that class.
Next up, French Creek. Not wishing any bad luck for the promotors, but I hope it gets very wet for the race, as wet, slippery, climby, and technical are the best days for me. The weather forecast for the day of the race is: RAIN! Yay.
See you out there?????