Aug 19, 2008

Rapture in Misery

I've raced and ridden at Landhal many times, I don't think conditions have ever been as good as they were for last weekend's Rapture in Misery. Mild temps and tacky hardpack made for ideal race conditions.

There's a bit of wisdom that says one should never race on untested equipment. Excellent advice, but I always seem to mix things up before race day. Many things have been mixed up this season and I've done what I can to make the best of it.

For this year's Rapture I was on a new frame, new drive system, and a squishy fork—first time I've spent any significant amount of time on a suspension fork in over a year. For endurance racing at Landahl I welcomed the chance to run suspension; it was nice to be able to plow through rockgardens, even when fatigue set in.

It did take some getting used to. Halfway through my fourth lap I crashed hard. There's a sharp left turn over exposed rocks and roots where, instead of braking, I lift the rear end and pivot on the front wheel to conserve momentum through the turn.

I did a poor job of executing this maneuver on my fourth lap. I leaned too far over the front and, as the fork rebounded, shot off the front, landing hard on my right side and twisting my right knee. I stood around for a few minutes, catching my breath and making sure my knee was still in working order. One racer, Kyle Shour, passed me while I getting myself back together. I struggled to catch Kyle, but he was hauling and my knee wasn't having it. I decided to try and make up time slowly over the next few laps—bad choice.

Of all the pit crews at Landahl mine was far and away the most spirited, thanks in no small measure to the free beer provided by the fine
folks at Heartland Sports.

Every time I rolled thru the pit raucous cowbells and empty beer cans greeted me. Unfortuntely, in their exuberance they mistakenly thought the racer who passed me was a lap down and relayed this golden nugget to me. I figured I was still in first and rode conservatively the rest of the day.

I ended up taking second, and had I known Kyle was not a lap down, I would probably have still finished second.

New Bike.

I'm not one to rant and rave about bikes until I get some time on them, but I'm enjoying the fit and handling of the Spot. It served me well this weekend—the belt-drive was certainly a conversation starter. More on the new bike in a future post.