Well, the end of the USAC series came and went. I ended up doing six of the races with some good, decent and bad results. Coming into the race I was looking to ride well and see what happens without a lot of rest this week. The rain gave the trail a layer of moisture the night before, but conditions were overcast and calm for race time.
After a good warm-up where the legs felt like they would work today, I headed for the start line. Once we went off, I was stuck behind a bunch of people on the inside and could not get around. I passed a few people on the first climb, but not enough. I was in the singletrack and riding behind a group of people I wanted to be ahead of. After getting out of the singletrack in somewhere around 10th place, I ramped up the big gear and went to work chasing people down. I passed a few people and made it into the pines section in front of Bill Clikeman. As I got up to the bridge, I knew it would be wet and slick, so I went extremely slow. As luck would have it, I fell in the first corner. Bill is then standing behind me in awe that I fell going 1/2mph if that. Just before the finish of the lap, Jason Lummis-who clipped a tree and was stuck behind everybody-caught up and went into the singletrack first.
Lap 2 had Jason and I working together to try and catch up to the lead group. For a race like Stony which is similar to a road race in the doubletrack, it is hard to catch back up. Near the end of the lap we were flying through the 2-track and went around a corner powersliding-both of us. I marked that one down to watch out for.
We kept plugging along trying to catch the group. When we hit the 2-track out to the Pines, I took the lead to try and close the gap between us and 5th place, Chris Goddard. We could see him in one spot, but it was a ways ahead. Lummis lead in the Pines and out to the next singletrack. On the last section of 2-track, I was on Lummis' wheel and we were cruising and closing down on 5th. Just as we caught Goddard, I hit that dang greasy corner again and whiped out. So hammering in the 44-11 and whiping out = A long, long, long 22-25mph slide on the gravel. I got up and tried to ride off. I had to get back off and play with the drvetrain to get it in line again. The shifter and brake lever on the right were up high , but I delt with it. I rode a moderate pace into the start/finish and stopped to wash out my multiple wounds. My knee was gushing blood and wouldn't stop. Then I went and stopped again to re-align my brake caliper that was smacked against my rotor. I lost the two places and 1:30 and 2 minute gaps that we had on the other riders.
I followed Bill in the singletrack on lap 4 to get my rhythm back and keep motivated. Hit the two track and went for it. I wasn't going as hard or fast as before, but I was still moving foreward. I seemed a little more cautious and went real slow through the slick corner again on both laps. After the 5 laps, I was done. Finished in 8th place.
That's bike racing and shit happens. I would have liked to not fall and see if we could have made up the time to the lead group. That would have made the race much more exciting. Overall, it was a good race and I had a fun time even though I crashed hard. The injury report is: Cut knee along a nice bump and bruise near the side, scraped elbow, sore ankle, and a very nice large road rash to compliment the hole in my shorts. Overall, I am happy it was just skin. At that speed, it could have been a lot worse.
From here on, I am planning on heading up to Leelanau to ride some awesome roads and watch the Tour, then hit up the century solo the next day. Then I am planning on hitting up the CX series (if my bike comes in) to have some fun and keep the fitness up for the last race of the year...Yeah, yeah, Iceman.
Good luck to all the MI racers doing Chequamegon next weekend and TDL racers. Should be a full weekend.