18 Feb Master’s World Championship Race Report
Thursday AM, Dave and I head to the course early, hoping to find parking where we will not get stuck in the mud. I put on wind pants and mud boots then go to walk the course. I see a bunch of people pre-riding already, which seems weird. With the amount of rain over the last two days, there is not much to see, except deep puddles of water, soup and thick mud! I see three different mud conditions we will be dealing with today. It is not the mud that has me worried, it is the below freezing temps. This combination will surely cause some problems with the drive trains of the bikes.
I see Bob Downs and ask what he thinks, he says we are racing against each other and we should not exchange ideas, then laughs. We both understand how this 45 minutes is going to feel. Next I see Tilford trying to ride the ridge section, not being able to do it. There are 25 meters of soup that has stiffened from the cold, it is much faster to run this section.In fact after my 20 minutes of recon, clearly I will be running much of this course. I tell Dave that I am not used to being scared of racing my bike, that I do not really want to race in these crappy conditions, not looking like fun to me.
I honestly would have packed up the car if this were a local CX race, no doubt about it. Your dam straight I am whining, and I am not the only one. I can feel the energy of the other racers is low, we are all anxious about this race. I get dressed, warm up in the tent by the staging area waiting for the call. Curtis Tolson is spraying my drive train with de-icer, we hope this will help fight the frozen mud. My call up puts me next to Bob Downs and we are behind Henry Kramer and Benny Andersen’s, the two fastest qualifiers. The whistle sounds, I have a fine start, locked on Henry. Eziting the cinder road section it is water roost everywhere and all of our hands get soaked. First freaking 20 seconds and our hands are wet, nice. Not only does this create numb fingers, it is also like adding grease to your hands while trying to race! I almost make it to the pit section with Henry and have to slow down, no way am I able to keep the pace, being passed by a large group, maybe 12 people. Now riding with a group of 4, not exactly sure because of the concentration needed to keep the bike upright. I hear someone yell F-this, this f’ing sucks. I am wondering if he can hear my thoughts? I have to get away from this guy or his negative chi is going to aid my potential for cracking. I started the race and as much as this sucks, some sick part of me wants to finish!
The mental wrestling lasts for about 1.5 laps, realizing finishing is a reality, if my equipment holds up. Curtis has a bike for me on the half lap and I take it. Normally a new clean bike feels better, not today, I am going about 6 MPH and it sucks. This is not racing it is a tractor pull, correct a 45 minute tractor pull.
So that is how it goes, no sense in expanding on this. I did not care about the finish placing because I was surviving, not racing. The best thing about this experience is it was over. I heard Henry give an interview after winning and he said, when asked if he had fun. Yes, I had fun two times today, when I staged, and when I crossed the finish line in first, the rest not so much.
I have to thank Curtis Tolson (Texas Roadhouse) for working the pits while i was in Louisville. I could have not done this without your help, thank you. Rob Curtis for the Psimet wheel sets, they are solid wheels, I love them. A.L.L. Masonry, Louie, you are an awesome supporter of Enzo and I am grateful. Dave Eckel, you kept me laughing, it is only master’s racing, right? The Schneider family for their support, you know what I am talking about. To Village CycleSport, Joe, Vince, Doug and the rest of the Barrington crew for helping keep the Awesome Trek Cronus tuned.
Now the fun begins, Back at the car I finally get warm, crack open an Imperial Hatter IPA, and watch the rest of the races, cheering for anyone I know. Heidi has hitched a ride, for the weekend with the Schwitzers, and we are planning a day trip to the Red River Gorge tomorrow for a hiking day. Saturday we will watch the races at Eva Bandman while working the crowd and giving away Enzo’s swag. Happy to have the two week training session behind me, I do not recommend racing your bike on two weeks of training, ever!
Next the Elite race report with many photo’s. Exciting things are happening for the road season, an update will be posted in a few weeks. Safe training and riding.