Race 5 – 2011 Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

Yesterday was the last race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track Series.  5 straight weekends of mountain bike racing with basically one trainer ride a week (on Tuesdays).  Once again, I was hoping for a good day on the mountain bike after a long day of officiating the day before. On Saturday, I officiated 3 Division II lacrosse games and woke up on Sunday pretty sore because I don’t run much anymore – well never run anymore. 
I arrived at the race about an hour before the start and adjusted my handlebars from the previous weeks crash.  Yeah, I kind of forgot about the mountain bike for a week.  Saw my friend David, talked to him for awhile and then went to registration.  After registration I went to see how my friends from the Trek Bike Store did.  Spoke to them for awhile and George tried to hook up his helmet cam for my race.  Well, needless to say, he couldn’t get it to work and I warmed up for about 10 minutes. 

Neal called the group up to start and I was in the very back but managed to sneak up to the second row by the time the race started.  Neal said go and I said, “Ouch, that hurt….”.  I missed my pedal while clipping in and slammed the pedal into my shin.  I kept going and managed to get clipped in at the top of the hill and entered the woods in about 7th place.  Johnny and his teammate played the same game as last week with one of them slowing down in the woods allowing his teammate to get a gap.  Only this week, because of the better weather and it being the last race of the year, the groups were much bigger and it was easy to catch up in the woods because the slower riders from the group in front of us.

I knew we were racing faster this week, especially wit the dry conditions.  I actually had too much air in my tires.  This week I actually used the lock out on my fork after leaving the woods and was really surprised how much energy I saved on the grass and pavement.  The only problem was that I was so gassed going into the woods that I’d forget to unlock the fork and it would take me until half way through the woods to remember. Obviously I don’t think very well in oxygen debt.

A group of 4 or 5 of us stayed together for most of the race.  Sonny and I tried working together to get away from Johnny with a couple laps to go but he wasn’t having any of it.  Johnny has been riding real strong for the whole series and had won every race up to this point.  Sonny managed to get away with two to go and I stayed on Johnny’s wheel.  On the last lap, Johnny and I set up a little and kind of chatted until the final downhill to the finish when I noticed Johnny starting to speed up. I kind of thought we’d freewheel it in together as he has 1st place in the series locked up and I was in 2nd place.  When we hit the last turn before the finish, I could tell Johnny wasn’t sitting up and he started sprinting to the line.  I wasn’t going to have any of that and nipped him at the line.  All in good fun!

My team, Giordana-Clif Bar- Brica won the overall team series and I finished 2nd in the Men Sport 40+ group.  I had a decent series, especially considering I haven’t been riding much with the super cold weather we’ve had this winter and other distractions, ie building a couple websites (http://www.thebikeracer.com) and Ryder. 

The weather looks like its getting warmer so I’ll be on the bike more.  Lacrosse is in full swing until the end of April. Hopefully by then I’ll have some miles on my legs and ready for some ‘in-season’ racing!!

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring.

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