This weekend we were back at Landahl Park for the final cross country race for the Heartland Series. I'll start with the good stuff, what a good look'in crew on the 45-49 podium. It was good to stand on the top step of the podium so now the goal is to stand on the podium for the Expert overall. That's going to be a tough one if we continue to have large fields stacked with fast guys from Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
This weeks course was totally different than the last course, much less singletrack, much more doubletrack. The course was fast, fast, fast, and I felt pretty good warming up. So we lined up and the horn sounded. Right away we were single file flying into the woods. By time we got to the first rocky climb 7 or 8 of us had gotten some separation from the field. For the first lap I just hung out on the back of the train led by Shadd Smith, with Cam, Dave, Aaron, Mark, and Chris. Going into the 2nd lap is where I ran into a patch of bad gravity. I'm sitting third in the train and somehow got caught leaning in rut and went down, nearly taking the rest of the group with me. It had to be bad gravity as I'm sure it wasn't pilot error! So for the next half a lap I chase and get back on to the train. Starting the 3rd lap I'm back on the train and it's all good, I feel good but I've got some bike issues. My seat is slipping and now the nose of the saddle is up my butt. A stout hand slap and it's back down with a mental note to sit in the center of the saddle. I also put some carbon bars on this week and even though the grips seemed to stick before the race it's not the case now. Seems they like to spin around until they push up against the shifters. Now my hands hit the shifters with every bump and dumps me into a smaller gear.
But it's all still good, I can deal with bike problems, and I'm still in the lead group. We hit the rocky climb on the 3rd lap and I screw up and get gapped a bit, no problem, just gas it a bit and BAM, down I go. I jump up and I'm ok, the bikes not.
The bars look like this.... and no matter how hard I tug on them they won't move back. So I figure with a lap and a half left maybe I can ride it out. About a half a lap later I'm blasting along when I hit a rock garden at speed and loose the front wheel. 3nd patch of bad gravity and this one hurts. I hate crashing on rocks! I shook it off and this time I decide to try to go fast enough to hold my position but not fall. I felt like I was going pretty fast and near the end of the last lap someone told I was catching someone. To my surprise Shadd had come back to me, he had stuck to the pace up front while I busy flopping around on the ground so I think I had the fresher legs. I managed to get past Shadd for 6th overall. I wish I had more to write about what happened up at the front of the race but you can't see much from ground level. Check out Cam or Mark's blogs for more race reports.