it's my own damn fault that the state championship mtb race this year happened to be my first mtb race of the year. i blame it on the weather, but i could have raced before now a few times. but, i made my bed, i will lie in it. i wouldn't do it any differently, so there is no use complaining about it. this first photo shows the first climb, which started about 5 seconds after the word "go". i pinned it, trying to stay close to the really fast young guys. i kept them in my sights for a great while, but i was comfortably trading places with dave breslin for the first part of the first lap. it's a bit unusual for me to be rubbing elbows with the really fast guys, but i'm in good shape so i figured i'd throw it all up there and see what stuck.
and it did stick for a bit. i found myself alone, still with the eventual missouri state champion's ass in my sights, and no one immediately on mine. i rode alone until the love downhill. that's when old friends caught me, such as the venerable john matthews, the incredible john rines, and of course breslin came back. it was looking pretty good as we climbed the backside of lone wolf, too, as we caught one of the two leaders. schottler, however, was probably already sizing up his state championship jersey by that time. mr. matthews had taken the point position by this time, and just before we started the gravel downhill of doom, he turned into the caution tape and i followed him. a few guys passed us and i was slow to get moving again. it was painfully hot at race time, about 94 degrees, and i guess i had not been paying attention. i started to get the feeling that things weren't going to go so well. and they didn't. i kept the group at just about 50 yards from me until we entered the roller coaster on the second lap. then i threw in the towel.
i hadn't dropped from an mtb race in a long while. i'm sorry that i did, but my body was telling me that i had gone too hard, too long, on too hot of a day.
my congratulations to the fine riders who took home state jerseys, and hats off to those who were able to control their races and keep the heat at bay.
thanks to the posters at stlbiking.com for the photos: rob and dennis fickenger.