Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What’s more fun than racing?

The Christchurch Singletrack Club had its club champs on Saturday and it was a fantastic Mexican singletrack fiesta with a race for everyone. Not only was I racing, but I was also helping with setting up, timing, and running other races. The weather forecast was ominous so I was glad to be attired in a nice heavy poncho and warm cowboy hat. Unfortunately my moustache was horribly uncomfortable and kept falling off. Stupid thing. Luckily the day dawned beautifully and we managed to get everything set up in the morning sun. Soon the whippets were arriving, cheesey moustaches, both real and stuck or drawn on, fluro ponchos and other Mexican paraphernalia arrayed about their persons. It was most amusing. I was doing the computer timing for the expert (Rapido) race and having never done it before I was feeling slightly nervous. Luckily it was easy and fun and I loved every second. I was particularly enjoying watching one the battle between Slim and JD, but unfortunately I had to leave my post before all the racers finished as I was racing in the next race and needed to get the circulation going in my legs again after sitting in the chilly southerly wind for over an hour.

Riding down Zane’s was great fun, but I was feeling very apprehensive about climbing up the 4wd and the Pines 3 times. I’ve never yet managed to ride all the way to the top without stopping and I’ve only ever managed to ride 2 laps of the course. This was going to hurt a lot. All too soon we were off and I spun up the 4wd track as well as I could. My lungs felt pretty rough by halfway up the 4wd drive track and I was fully in survival mode right from the start. I kept going and really loved the new Pines extension and the fabulous “never-ending berm”. Then it was back to the climbing. My legs felt pretty good and up I went, winding through the switchbacks and getting my heart rate under control on the flatter sections. Soon I was at Rhymes with Orange and being roundly heckled for my feeble pace. Oh well, that’s one of the draw backs of being a mouthy heckler and a popular and well loved blogger. Up into Goodie Gum Drops for the first time ever and it was a fun little bit of track and finally I was heading down hill.

Back through Zanes and I was loving this bit of track. I knew I was catching the guy in front of me and stretching a gap to those behind me, but I knew I’d need it because just like at Hanmer my back was spasming. Back onto the 4wd track and there was no way I could put the power down I needed and I stopped for a second and tried to loosen my back up. I trudged up the 4wd track with my bike feeling pretty shit, but then rode all the singletrack of the Pines, although I needed a few breathers along the way. I was glad the hecklers had moved on, I was not in the zone at all and probably wouldn’t have handled it very well. I got great support going across the finish line, but I felt like fraud. Down Zanes again and I actually wasn’t loving it, the thought of the last climb was making me feel sick. I hit the last climb and hit the wall. I’d only eaten a muesli bar in the previous 3 hours and I bonked big time struggling to push the bike up the hill.
My legs felt like spaghetti and the marshals had even left. I wanted to pull the pin, but the idea of DNF was completely hideous. I had to walk up a couple of the higher switchbacks as downhillers bombed down beside me. I struggled on and was determined to not look like death on wheels when I popped out of the trees. Up Goodie Gum Drops for the last time and reaching the top was a huge relief. I was so glad the climbing was over I did a couple of hucks on the descent, and hammed it up over the line. Then I collapsed at my car and drank 500mls of replace.

I felt like crap, but I got changed into my lovely poncho again and scoffed my free pie and felt like a new person. Then it was time for the singlespeed race, where I had to help with the “activities” the riders needed to complete between laps. The costumes on display in this race were fantastic, and watching the crazies dash up a hill to find a plant pot, then run down, put it on the end of a 3m pole and spin round with it on their heads was so funny that my mood was transformed. Then I proceeded to the table of Tabasco and helped the lovely Sarah set up the plates of nachos and beans, which the riders would have to eat ALL of sans hands before proceeding. The first two riders arrived, Dayle on his sexy new ti Singular Pegasus. I feel very privileged to have been allowed to stroke such a divine creature, and Nick Bushlove close behind. 

Unfortunately these two finely tuned athletes were not very good at following instructions and after a rather token effort the need for the race saw them leaving with their plates still full of food. Not good. Not long after Ollie arrived and with great encouragement from his lovely mother, who obviously raised him right to finish all his food, Ollie got the whole lot down. More racers rolled in, including young Anton on his insane 10” kids bike, and cleaned their plates amidst much complaining and much laughter from those of us in the vicinity. After some serious conferring amongst the race officials it was decided that the two leading banditoes had managed to save a significant amount of time with their wiley ways and they would have to be punished. So it was with a heavy heart I was sent to stop them before the end and ensure they eat their nachos. The controversy was great and the outrage was evident, especially when Ollie sailed past Dayle and Nick as they wolfed down their nachos. Nick took off like a man possessed to reel Ollie back in and almost had him on the line, but Ollie’s skinsuit gave him that tiny edge over the fluro poncho and he maintained a slim lead over the line.

There followed an epic prizegiving where I actually got a prize for getting 2nd in my age group for my race! OMG! I also scored a lovely box of Barkers jams and chutneys. Om nom nom. It was a great day and for me the best part was being involved in running the day. It was great being part of such a fun community and providing an event that had something for everyone. I missed it, but there was even a fantastic children’s race which saw loads of kids having a great time and giving it their all. Although I’m not sure whether the presence of death in their midst was fun for them or not.

Thanks heaps to Rebekah and Craig and the CSC, and to my lovely supporters. Now I’ve been laid low with a flu and ideas of racing the night racing series are drifting away and I’m considering just hitting the roadie and training for some mid-winter madness which I’m really not qualified to take part in.

1 comment:

CrazyChris said...

You damn near caught me after my strip-stop on Skoolz Out! I was dehydrating at a massive rate and seriously considered giving up myself, just the thought of a DNF stopped me stopping.

Carol & Max were bringing up the rear and apparently the discussions between them on the uphill make our mental states seem peaceful :) You still had a few minutes on them at the finish line! No lanterne rouge for us.