Sylvan Island Stampede

Did a mountain bike race yesterday for the 30¢ Squad.  Rode the Salsa single speed, 32/17.  It is a crazy twisty turny course and I felt very comfortable with the gear.  I later heard that Jesse Lalonde rode a 38/16.  That is bigger than my townie gear!

It was a beautiful day and I hitched a ride over with the Eppens.  We got some food at the New Pi and made it over with plenty of time to poop, register, and pre-ride the course, which I did in that order.  The last time I did this race I got there just 20 minutes before the start so things were looking up this year.  For some reason, however, a bunch of us stood around talking and by the time we rolled over to the start there were already a couple of rows of riders.  I considered backing it in for the front row, but as I have said before mountain biking is not my scene so I just got into the 3rd row so as not to ruffle feathers.

The start was, predictably, sketchy.  People sprinting into the people in front of them, hooking handlebars, swerving, skidding, the works.  I got a bit of room and drilled it but when we got to the singletrack it was a parking lot.  I kept shuffling forward as best I could, but others were being much more aggressive than I and that part was not much fun.  Quickly got back to riding and it was, as always at Sylvan Island, a blast.  The course is really fun.  Lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, whoop-de-dos or however they are spelled.  Plus the leftover bits from the factory that used to be out there, slabs of concrete, bricks, a big piece of iron like a railroad tie, all sorts of stuff.

I enjoyed the riding and just focused on holding wheels and recovering so I could drill it at the next open section.  There were not many of those, and I spent the first lap and most of the second passing people wherever and whenever I could.  I again did all the fun mountain bike race stuff like clipping pedals, hitting trees (I am finally going to cut down the Salsa bar a bit, that thing is huge!), and sliding out in corners.

By the end of the second lap I had some room to cruise which made the singletrack more fun and I continued to move up through the small groups of riders.  Near the end of the third lap I felt the bonk coming, whoops, so I had a gu and drank some water and hoped for the best.  It was not too late!  My fourth and final lap I had lots of lapped riders to contend with.  There were 120 people in our race and we were pretty strung out over the 4 mile loop.  I finished alone, no riders visible ahead or behind.  So I made it through without crashing, which was a big goal, and I think I rode a pretty good race.  I just wish I had gotten a better start, I would say 3rd times the charm, but I don’t think I will do the Sport race here again.  The field is just too big and sketchy.

There was some problemo with my chip for the chip timing, so initially I was not listed in the results.  I think they got it sorted out, and they told me I was 8th or 9th at the end of the day and 5th in my age group.  Not quite what I had hoped for, but better than my previous 11th place and it is such a fun place to ride I can’t complain, just glad to have been there.  The Salsa was great, I do think I was much less sore towards the end of the race than I was when I rode the Bridgestone.

Hopefully I can find some photos and get the results to add here, but unsurprisingly the Eppens won their races so it was a happy drive home.  Next up for racing looks like the Old Cap Criterium, I wonder how that will go?

Here are them results, gotta look at the Sport for me, looks like 9th was the ticket.

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