This weekend my last two races of the "season" were contested in Southern Tennessee. The final race of the Beat The Freak series on Saturday and the only Chattanooga race of the season on Sunday. Let me mine my memories and work on the narrative.
Saturday dawned cool, much ice was scraped from the Tercel. Jeremy D showed up at 7:30 (you get to get up super early when your ride partner is a 4), we headed south and less then two hours later crawled out of the car at the Park in Fayetteville. The temps had dropped and the sun was obscured. BTF courses are flat and hard, with no rest and very little braking. Basically a roadie-master's dream. Only three of us started the Pro1/2 race; me, Dustin Greer, local mountain bike hardman and Edward Krei, a nemesis from my days in the 3's.
We started slow, no one really wanted to ride hard. I led the first lap, soft-pedaling most of the course. Dustin just got a single speed bike last week and was itching to race it in the SS race, so as soon as Edward pushed the tempo a little Dustin vanished. There was no rest on the course, absolutely none, and no opportunity to make a move. Jeremy was asking us if we were "on a date," and I think that motivated Edward to dig in a little. He got a little gap, I closed it down through the sand, but drifted off the back on the last lap. I was trying to leave something in the tank for the Single Speed race, but that proved to be a waste as I neglected to eat between races and had to drop out in the middle of the second lap. Courses with no rest are no good for me. There were no climbs, no descents and brakes were basically unnecessary. Tough day.
I came home, ate a ton of food, drank a ton of beer and dropped into bed around 12:30. I'd planned to double up on Sunday, but at bedtime realized I'd have to get up at 7:30 to make the Single Speed start so I bagged it. Midway through our drive down (mom was with me) I realized I might make it in time, so when we pulled in 15 minutes prior to the SS start, I threw my $ down, kitted up and jumped in with no warmup or pre-ride. I went right to the front and after about a lap of back and forth with Jeremy C, dropped the hammer and rode away. The prize: bag of coffee, growler of Chattanooga beer, gift certificate and bottle of lotion.
The course was on private property and was set up fully belgian-style. Most of the grass sections were soft and muddy, with some standing water, greasy corners, substantial elevation gains, a mud hole full of rocks, a brutal but short run-up and a nice set of barriers. A course better suited to my strengths I hadn't seen yet this year. The dudes down in Chattanooga put on the best races every year and I usually show up in good form. They also had a keg of Yazoo Dos Perros that kept my mother busy.
An hour after the SS race, the Pro1/2 race started. Andy Reardon was there, he's a pro, the rest of us are 2's and he showed us why by motoring away after the first technical section. I knew he was gone, but I kept the pace up until I had a 30 second gap over my pursuers. The gap grew as the race went on, I ended up getting lapped by Andy (fucker lapped the entire field) so while I technically was only 2nd, I beat everyone that I had a reasonable chance to beat, securing a moral victory, another growler of beer and enough $ to cover the two days race entry fees. Incidentally, Edward was on the scene and I lapped him, so while he barely beat me on Saturday, I destroyed him on Sunday. If we'd have been stage racing it wouldn't have been close.
Probably the last races of the season, might end up in Knoxville one day in January but it's not anything worth planning for. If the TBRA Series ended today I'd be in 2nd in the Pro1/2 and 3rd in the Single Speed Categories. There's 2 more races, I'll miss them on Ski Tour and it's impossible to speculate who'll show up at them. My form came together for the last race, just as "planned" and I'm looking forward to flogging myself daily without so much regard for "recovery" or other training terms. I'll be putting the 42x16 and slicks on the Single Speed for the winter and trying to get the Mountain Bike out at least once a week prior to leaving on Ski Tour in January.