We made the local evening news! Check it out: http://www.charlottesvillenewsplex.tv/home/headlines/7141696.html
I'm back on the ground now, in Chicago for a few weeks. I think. This weekend was incredible, with the folks at Blue Ridge School putting on a great event and raising enough for another 11 bikes!
As for me? Well ... let's see. Saturday's preride went great, until the last half of the last half-run of the day. That's when I rode over a metal wire fence that was hidden in the brush just as I shifted ... and exploded my rear derailleur. Not a little, but a lot -- it was a goner. After hiking out, one of the students and his grandparents graciously drove me to Performance, the only shop open at the time, and I grabbed an X-7 off the shelf and spent the next few hours trying to set it up ... Thankfully, that student also had a Cannondale jump bike at school, since I had destroyed my hanger and we had to cannibalize ...
Race day dawned warm and sunny, and it turned out to be a great day. I helped set up, got some of the students settled in talking about World Bicycle Relief, then did an abbreviated warmup. 1 expert (me), 9 expert vets (35+) and 2 expert women lined up at 11 for the gun ... and off we went. I had a great start, and led for half a lap before getting a bit bogged down on the steep, steep hills. The singletrack was sick, and I was cleaning stuff I hadn't gotten down in practice -- I felt great, but I also knew that three laps of the 6.3-mile course would be harsh.
Also, I was running my usual 2x9 setup, having not realizied that this is granny country when I packed my bike. All that added up to my getting caught about halfway through the lap by the first expert vet, and the race was on.
He got a bit of a gap on a hike-a-bike section, then I caught up on a climb, then he dropped me on a tight downhill, then I caught up again on another sustained climb. I was about 5 seconds off as we dropped into "Senior Rock," which is where my day ended: I went over a small log crossing too hot, and went straight over the bars. When my bike came down on top of me, the rear shifter bracket snapped off, and I was finished. I was also a bit dazed, having landed on my nose, and ticked off because we already had a 2+ minute gap that early in the race. D'oh! (We were flying too -- my practice lap was 55-57 minutes on Saturday; on Sunday, we were on 41-minute pace for the first lap. Wow.)
I hiked out, the second time in two days, thankfully this time with one of the sport riders who snapped his derailleur off. It was a killer course -- half of the combined expert class didn't finish because of mechanicals. Ouch! The kids had fun, though, and two of the Blue Ridge students took top honors in the beginner class -- one of them on a hardtail with platform pedals! That's hardcore!
I've managed a couple of endurance rides the past few days, but am fighting a travel-induced cold and the weather just turned to crap. So it looks like I'll be resting for the next 48 hours or so, then hitting the show on Friday night before launching the race season in earnest on Saturday and Sunday ... I'm not puking on my workouts, so hopefully I'll have some fitness to show!
13 hours ago