Race # 5 today at the Tony Grampsas Park in lovely Golden, CO. ( basically across the street from the Coors brewery, based on the smell that was a cross between burning tires and hops, I'm going to guess it's not brewed from the fresh, clean waters of the Colorado rockies ). A beautiful Indian Summer day here on the front range with temps pushing 80. I should have taken this as an omen and stayed home. I pre-rode the course which presented more than it's fair share of challenges, but also a super sweet piece of very fast, shady singletrack, a nice place to gather your thoughts and recover. A clever use of a sand volleyball court and which we went through twice, one short route, one long. There was also a very short, but steep set of stairs that dumped us out onto a bumpy flat before a sharp left, steep drop-in back to the track. While I was watching the 35 opens tackle this section, the treads on the wooden stairs were coming loose and there were a few riders botching the remount and having to run down the drop-in.
After missing Valmont, my call-up was on the bottom of list but still enabled a pretty good spot on the 3rd row. Attendance was down but still a sizable field ( 80 maybe ?). Start was ridiculously hard, a gravely loose, uphill onto freshly mowed dead dried out grass ( so dry, it's slippery!). Brian from FMVC was shouting out encouragements behind as I swept across his line about three times almost sending him into the weeds. The first lap was producing carnage everywhere, it's been a long time since I've seen this many riders hit the deck. One endoed right in front of me heading into the sand pit which sent me off course and over the tape to avoid running him over. By laps 2 and 3, the mayhem seemed to be settling down, I was picking off a few riders and saw my rabbits in front of me to start chasing down. And that's when everything came unglued in one lap. I came up to the stairs and had a clean dismount and run-up, as I went to remount, the back wheel hit a rut and bounced high and to the outside, I had to quickly abort the remount and when I came down, I lost my footing and fell down the drop-in, leaving the bike at the top. I scrambled back up and pulled my bike out of the way and got back to making forward progress. This little episode has spiked my heart rate so high, it was all I could do to spin nice easy circles and any bike handling skills previously available were absent now. I was shanking all the good lines in a desperate attempt to move up again. That's when I came up with the brilliant idea to come warping into the sand pit at full speed and keep my momentum as high as possible. I went in and misjudged the depth of the sand in my line and promptly buried my front wheel and did a super high speed superman over the bars.
Thankfully the sand was soft and loose, I was up quickly and unharmed but I was completely spun and slogged through the remainder of the sand pit. I rolled back into the grass and started up through the start-finish area and noticed that my right shifter had suffered some sort of life changing event and wouldn't release cable. I was stuck in my 27, and there are much worse gears to be stuck in but after everything that had already happened, I wasn't in the mood to "2-speed" it through the remainder of the race. I was finished getting in the way of competent riders and pulled off course.
That's when I ran into honchy racer/photog/artist friend Lortie, who offered up his sweet full carbon Scott so I could jump back in, but at that point, I was finished. Pretty frustrating but it's been awhile since a course has gotten one over on me so I offer my congratulations to the designers/builders/hard working volunteers of the course today. I thought one lap through was sufficient and they proved me wrong. Lesson learned. I nice little shaded "picnic" with the FMVC boys post-race brightened my mood considerably. I now have 6 days to re-focus and try to get my game back. Let's hope for better weather.
Thanks for reading