Sunday, July 18, 2010

About to embark

on one of the three big races here in my home state. Nice when the venues are 10 minutes away by car. It has been a long season, some ups, some downs. Many just one away from the podium, one podium (at French Creek!), then some not as good finishes. Every year it seems to get easier, then harder. Something about me and summer racing does not go together well.

But Fair Hill, Fair Hill usually treats me well. I like the endless miles of singletrack, up, down, back, forth, all over trails I have ridden hundreds of times and never get bored of. Spent a lot of time at the place the last two months, pre-dawn rides all over the place, using the stinky porta-potty one morning, solo rides, rides with team bike line, some geared, lots of singlespeed. Sometimes I forget what a treasure the place really is at times. THE best riding nearby, with apologies to Iron Hill (THE 2nd best place by a small margin).

Speaking of singlespeed, I am going to go against the grain and actually racing my normal geared bike. Like to race on a SS there, last year was the 26er TREK STP experiment there while recovering from swine-flu (although I do feel another 26er experiement coming soon, still have the scandium Kona in the basement, anyone have a SID for sale?) Kidding . . . . . I think.

I am hoping for a top ten finish today and it is there for the taking. Felt miserable last week, tired, too many hours at work, and hated the bike. Rode yesterday and the legs felt incredible. Best they have all year. Worked hard to get openers done, yet keep the legs in good shape. This series we call the MASS is ending soon, three more for me (Fair Hill today, Marsh Creek next week, and the finals at Bear Creek). Hoping to find a race or two in August, but we shall see.

Cyclocross? Not for this rider. Too long of a season and have fallen out of love with it. It's OK, as I tell the 15 people that ask me at every MTB race. It's OK. I think the cyclocross question is asked more than "Where is your singlespeed today?", not sure which of the two I am most identified with, even though I have not raced cyclocross since 2006. I guess that happens when you are part of the best cyclocross team in the region at the time (RIP, FORT-GPOA!) But I cannot be away all year racing my bike, so I have to choose and MTB is #1 for me. Not saying I will not "race" the practices if I can find some, but . . .

I will report back on my success from today. If I can get up on the podium, great! If not, I will use it as training and fuel, because this is not my last rodeo by far, even though I thought it might be on Wednesday. Amazing how easy it is to bring yourself down because of a bad MTB race or two.

So still searching for that elusive podium and knowing I will be up there again before the end of the year.