Every now and then you realize how important just one minute is. Whether it's fate, chance, luck, or in this case dumb luck, just one minute is everything, especially when it comes to racing anything.
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of joining over 1,000 other folks in Prescott, Arizona for the annual Whisky Off-Road 50-proof mountain bike race. Todd Sadow and his gang and their usual fanfare had the whole town involved. It was awesome! I loaded the truck up and trekked over with Mom Rose and Victor. Terri had to work so she and Joshua didn't come. It was great to have mom along and we had a nice trip. It was a nice hotel, great room, and good food. We were beat after the long drive, though, and while the late evening rider's meeting was going on, we were already sleeping. That was probably the fatal flaw...
I had a lot of hours to think about what went wrong and how it all happened. So here's how it went...
The morning was exciting. Just after the sun came up, we got to the start line. Then a handfull of authentic looking cowboys started a gunfight shooting up the town and each other till they keeled over dead! Whoa!! Then the countdown began. We started right in town and were escorted by a truck with cameras and we headed to the trails. I didn't realize the altitude would have gotten to me but it did a little and my legs felt really heavy for a while. No one tried to attack at first so we all settled in and pushed a good pace. When we dropped into the single track I was in second place behind Andy Schultz.
The trail was perfect - good conditions - and the Cannondale Flash was handling everything absolutely perfect. All I thought about was how sweet that bike was riding - no wasted energy - just waiting to make my move. So I set in and knew Andy had not raced the course before either. We pushed each other but took trades pulling at a fast pace. Just after the half-way point there was a big climb and we dropped everyone else that had been hanging on. As we got closer to the top I realized there wasn't much fire road left to the top but I didn't have the legs to go harder and knew I needed to save something in the tank to get a good finish. I passed him and then after a few minutes he was not there. I figured he'd catch up but didn't see him. Once I got to the top, the fire road turned into single track and then I started hearing the cheers for him. It took a while to hear that so I knew I had a decent gap now. I knew he was still trying to catch me and I knew I had to ride smart and steady down the fast single track.
After I got onto the pavement, I started getting worried about being on the right course. On the streets, I wasn't sure where to turn and I watched for the cones. So I followed the cones but I had no idea how far I was from the finish line - probably about 1-2 miles. So when I got to an intersection with a signal I was not sure exactly where to go so I turned right and I saw more cones and followed them. I went a while and the cones ended and I kept going....straight ahead.
Apparently, there was supposed to be someone there to direct us to turn left. But my time had beat the course record and they didn't expect anyone so quickly. So I figure the traffic director arrived about a minuted after I passed the intersection.
I kept going up the street, but there were no more cones. I saw arrows but I didn't know they were the ones marking the first part of the race. I probably went about 3 more miles and then I saw the riders entering the single track and that was the start of the race. I knew I was already lost and at 53 miles. I tried to be polite, but realized my mistake and tried to find the finish line.
Andy didn't even know he won.
So the best part about the race besides having fun riding with Andy, the excellent weather, perfect trails, perfect bike, was I had a helmet cam on the whole time. It was my first time using a helmet cam. I knew I had to be on my best behavior!! I tried my best to talk about the experience, and worked on my next career as a professional camera guy and narrator. It was cool! I flew along and tried to stay smooth and have fun with it and can't wait to see what they do with it. Next year they plan a very big purse for the event and will use the footage for marketing. I was happy to help...and next time I'll know the course....
Just wanted to thank Todd for another excellent race and a good time.
See you next year everyone!