This weekend was the final race of the Winter Park series, aka King of the Rockies. A "short" (haha) 26 mile course with around 4k of climbing. The bad thing about these short XC races? I don't really plan or prepare for them. Case in point #1. My bike had sat since Leadville while I rode my nice clean singlespeed instead and now I was left to clean a sandy, muddy, rusty mess so I could race it the next day.
Ewwwww dirty saddle bag. Look at all that gritty mud.
Thanks Scott for the name stickers. I saved a couple from last year's LT100 to pimp out the Fuel.
Bet my new crank loves all the dirt and sand. I'm pretty sure there is still some sort of vegetation stuck in there.
Eventually I got my bike cleaned. Then I tried to fix my slashed Klimax lite rear tire. That was easy. Then I tried to reseal it with Stans. That turned out to be a PITA as I was too dumb to do it the easy way that involves more steps (using a tube to seat one bead). I called Bill and tried to figure out if I should even run these tires. Eventually laziness won out and I got them both sealed and aired up. Who knows. It might rain and Bill said the course wasn't too rocky. I couldn't remember as it'd been 4 or 5 years since I'd previously ridden it.
After making a late night of all the bike work, I went to bed. Then I got up and Marni was nice enough to drop me off at Scott's far too early in the morning. After a delicous egg and sausage bagel we drove to Winter Park. As we rolled into the parking lot, we both simultainously realized we were idiots and forgot our series numbers. See I told you I don't take these seriously enough. Luckily the event staff hooked us up with new numbers and directions too the start. I now had 35 minutes to ride 7 miles to the starting line. Hmmm this is not good. Somehow I made it without riding too hard thanks to my crafty drafting of two old guys headed to the same place. The pros were queueing up as I arrived leaving me no time for a bathroom break so I headed to the start anyway. Off our huge group went as the 25-29 year olds were with us too even though I didn't know that. The group split relatively soon and I pulled the 2nd group back up to the first, not wanting to be gapped before the first climb. After 3 miles of pack riding on gravel we hit the first climb and the rubber band broke. The group strung out all over the climb and amazingly I had okay legs and started passing people. Figuring I was somewhere mid pack the rest of the race was a blur. I wheelied for the course workers, nicely heckled the other riders (don't let a leadville rider catch you...) and generally had a wonderful ride. I know it was supposed to be a race but I thought I was mid pack and my legs had moments of brillance and moments of fatigue so I just rolled with the punches. Before I knew it the last climb showed up, somehow ended and I got to rock the sweet Long Trail descent to the finish. Despite a bunch of flats out on course I had no problems for once. I wheelied across the finish in 2:15 and headed over for some snacks. Snacks in hand I cheered on the various friends who crossed the finish line. Eventually Erik, Bill, Scott and Dan all made it across the line. We headed to the car to change out of our wet clothes (there was a big creek crossing and some light rain) and then back for the final awards ceremony and raffle of the year. Scott getting changed.
Everyone loves nekid bikers.
At the awards some big nosed guy got third in Expert 19-24. Holy crap that was me. Apparently I rode fast enough to beat a few other people. Who knew?
Another 3rd place medal. Not that I'm not greatful, it seems to be the theme on the year.
Then Erik got called up for his 2nd place finish in Beginner 25-29.
Not to outdo himself he proceded to get called up for his 1st place overall series award in his catagory. Nice job Erik!
Finally the announced the Expert series results and they didn't call my name for 3rd which I thought I had won. I was hoping my forgotten number didn't screw things up. Much to my surprise they called me up for 2nd place! Apparently I beat 2nd place by 3 places at King of the Rockies and took the lead by one point, 236 to 235 for the series. Holy cow. Well I gladly accepted my award and posed for pictures with the other guys in my class. Who would have known I could take 2nd place in Expert?
After the awards we all headed out to the delicious Dairy King in Empire. Everyone had a great race and great season. Bill kicked butt and finished tied for 4th in Clyde! Scott and Dan rode solid races too.
The XC season is now pretty much over for me. All that's left is Moab and maybe the EnduroSnob Epic racingwise. I do have some Kokopelli, White Rim and Colorado Trail rides planned as well as a Rollin's pass run before the snow begins to fall. And that's scary because the kids are getting back to school and fall really feels like it's in the air.