When I arrived Saturday morning at Brighton I realized there was an I in TEAM....that I was me. As far as I knew I was the only one there from the team for the first day of a two day Stage Race. Everyone knows I am not a sprinter but the 3 race, 2 day format for double series points sounded like fun. So after registration I wondered how I was going to pull off respectable times in a 6.5 mile Time Trial and an approx. 20 min Short Track race.
The events were suppose to start at noon. Close to 11:00 I called my wife to talk to my son and see how his baseball game went. It was the only one of the season I had missed. As I was talking to my wife again I saw one of our team jerseys on the other side of the parking lot. It was Dawn! Awesome!!! So Dawn and I set up camp around my van and went to work.
The TT was rough. Dawn had missed a trail marker and had issues with a broken pedal. She still pulled of a 4th place out of 9 racers but cold have had an easy 3rd if it weren't for the mishaps. What was funny is that tailwind had accidentally gave her a Men's Elite number so she went off in the middle of the Men's Elite Class. They even had her results listed under Men's Elite. I also had 9 racers in my class and somehow squeaked out of the TT in 4th place, much to my surprise. What I liked most about it was I got to go off by myself from the starting line instead of being paired up with another rider. It helped with my concentration right from the start. Torn Shirt wasn't as hard as I remembered it being but then again I was really focused and only tapped one tree. Not bad considering how tight that course was.
After the TT I had plans to go pre ride Murray Lake for Sunday's race but I got a little to comfortable in my chair. Dawn and I spent the afternoon hanging out with Team Sandbag and just shooting the breeze. It was hot so we stayed cool and conserved energy. Neither one of us had raced a Short Track Type race so we didn't know what to expect. Well the time came to warm up so we did some laps of the course. The start was crazy, they lined up the entire Expert and Elite Class, men and women, and let us all go off at once. Talk about a mass start! What a fun race tho. 8 laps around this grass course and it felt more like a road crit race. Drafting was important as well as riding with a pack if you could. Dawn pulled off another 4th in her class and so did I. I would go into more detail but this is going to be long enough as it is. So Saturday's races were over and Dawn and I were happy with how we finished despite the heat and a few mishaps.
Sunday morning as I was driving out to the race I was feeling really good about sitting in 4th place for the weekend so far. However, I knew Sunday was the XC and they allow racers to just do the XC so most likely there'd be people racing on fresh legs. Altho I don't agree much with this rule there was nothing I could do about it. For some reason I still felt like I had an edge. Heather, Kathy and Joey showed up just after I did and Jeff wasn't far behind them. Brian was on his way but Gerry wasn't going to make it because Amy had sprained her ankle the day before.
During the first 5 minutes of my warm up I felt that edge I had going away. Man were my legs tired from Saturday but I needed to wake them up. My parents were coming to the race and bringing my son Ashton so he could do the kids race later in the afternoon. Well they got there just before my start time and seeing Ashton put me in a great mood. He gets so excited about racing and he wore off on me. Jeff and I went out first for the team....man does this class start out fast. Sunday we had 14 guys in our class and 7 of them were on fresh legs. Jeff rode a solid race against his top rivals. For the first 3 laps he kept himself in the top 5. After the third lap going thru the exchange he dug in for a pass and overtook the class leader. He thought Nate would hold his rear tire so Jeff kept the rpms high for a couple miles and dropped him. I don't want to say he cruised to a victory but he was never challenged after that. Me, I started off into the single track 12th out of 14. But I kept my pace under control and picked off riders one by one. I passed a larger number of riders than I am used to in Expert but I know some of those guys were from classes in front of me. By the time I crossed the finish line I had clawed my way up to 5th place in my class. I was very pleased with that result and I rode fast enough to hold onto my 4th place in the overall standings.
Onto Hollywood. She busted out of the gates to pace herself with Karey and Erin. After the first lap she realized she couldn't hold that pace so she backed off the throttle a bit. She rode strong tho and fought thru the entire 30 mile course taking 3rd out of the 8 riders in her class. Unfortunately Dawn could not make Sunday's XC.
Next up, Manager McCabe. I say manager because the week prior to the race he was promoted from Senior Design Engineer to Engineering Manager within our company. Congrats Brian!!! Despite all the extra hours at work and lack of training time Brain still showed his team colors and came to race. His Sport 35-39 Class is always very competitive so I give him a lot of credit for coming out to race even tho his season started late. His laps times and finishing position weren't as impressive as last year but he still had a great time and I for one was happy just to see him out there. Racing without Brian around is like watching Top Gun without Iceman in it.
Well Jeff decided he needed to punish himself more so he signed up for Expert/Elite single speed. What's another 22.5 miles of racing after just completing 30 miles in Sarah Desert heat like conditions? At no surprise to me at all Jeff was able to finish top 5 in single speed and bring home another medal. When I was at the award ceremony for Expert/Elite to get my medal, they called for Jeff's 1st place in the geared XC. I told them he was out there racing in the Single Speed division. You should have seen the look on their faces. They asked if I wanted to get his medal for him. I said, "No, you'll be calling his name again during the Single Speed award ceremony."
Today was also going to be Joey's first big kid race. As soon as Heather got done with her nearly 3 hour race, she grabbed some grub and headed over to the starting line with Joey. His race was going to be one lap, 7.5 miles, in the searing heat. Well our Joey made us proud and never gave up. He rode to a fourth place in the Beginner Men's 11 and under category finishing his lap in 1:40:00. What a trooper! Great job on your first big kid race Joey!
Last, my son Ashton. He was excited to be wearing te new team jersey. Unfortunately due to my course laps being longer than expected I did not make it back in time to see him race. My parents said it was a heck of a kid's race tho. He had to do two laps of his course and they incorporated a downhill to the beach area and then he had to turn around and climb back up. He was so happy his race that we wouldn't get him to stop riding afterwards.
So in closing Team Signoutfitters.com had a breakthrough weekend bringing home a total of 4 Expert/Elite Class medals and 5 top 5 finishes in Expert/Elite. We only got 4 medals because they only award medals to the top 3 in the overall standing for the entire Stage Race weekend. I was still happy with my 4th place in the overall but found out I was only 45 seconds out of 3rd place.
Next up, June 28th......the Stony Marathon.
(sorry this write up is a little more lame than normal but there was a lot to cover and I didn't want to make it to long)
Keep you head up and tires down.