I kinda figured I’d get blown up at some point but most of my problems were my own doing. Race day was AWESOME. Great weather (early) with slight overcast, temps in the 60’s and virtually no wind. We had five people racing in the SM4’s with one obvious favorite (Greg) and two potential good showings (Kirk and Andy). Adam and I would probably mostly be taking up space.
I haven’t been training this sort of power (1-2min) so I figured I might be useful in one or two aspects. One of which was to “help” keep someone at/near the front for a lap or two. The other was to get the team to the first lap climb in front (a 5 minute job) and then see where the chips fell. I sold the latter and came close but in reality didn’t do a damn thing.
I haven’t raced this in a few years but the start hasn’t been too chaotic until you near the Koppenburg hill. We begin on pavement, take a right turn after about a couple hundred yards and then begin a sneaky little climb on dirt for about half a mile where you then head slightly downhill after a left turn. At this point, the “infamous” Koppenburg hill where the race is basically decided lies about a mile away.
We were lined up about 4 rows back at the whistle. Someone seemed to “take off” and naturally panic ensued. It was kinda funny but thankfully the short dirt climb on the full width of the road allowed for relatively free movement – it was tight but doable without much fuss and about 2 min in I’m in a good spot.
Moving to the front, sadly, I couldn’t find anyone from our team. Here’s where I made my dumbest move. I sat up (around 4min mark you can see the power drop) hoping to find them. In hindsight, I should have kept at the front and “waited” at the top. I don’t know why I did what I did but it sure didn’t make things any easier. I tried to get back on but between having trouble getting into the big ring and picking stupid lines (too far to the right) I wasn’t able to make it back to the lead group. I question my wife’s timing but she said I went through 10-15 sec back on the first lap. Strava(!!!) shows lap#1 at 13:33 which isn’t bad for me riding 75% solo.
After that, I saw the lead group just pull away up the dirt road and I knew it was over. Luckily I saw Andy. The bad thing is he was headed the wrong way. And walking. He’d flatted the rear wheel I’d given him, something I saw quite a bit of unfortunately.
Near the end of the second lap I saw Kirk pulled off eating donuts and smoking cigars with some dude from Rally Sport. Kirk kinda joined me for the remaining laps but was teasing me by being about 30 sec up the road. Pretty cool to be able to take a break, eat, smoke and still finish 30sec up on me.
Every time I look at the standings I drop back another place. Monday morning shows me at 45th out of 63 people. YAY!
Coming through the line though I found out that Greg survived my attempts to cut off his fingers and finished 2nd - missing 1st by four tenths of a second and had a whopping eight hundredths of a second over 3rd !!!!