Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For those wondering about my first paid race...

Lake to Lake was tons of fun! While it lasted. I got off the front in a group of about 10 guys, and it started out like a road race. People pulling (which I did too much of and Anton yelled at me for), people breaking away, people getting caught back, and then my flat tire happened...
Fortunately it was just a rock puncture, I lost about half of my pressure, but the sealant on the inside of the tire kept me going. After stopping to check it out, the gameplan was just to crack open a CO2 and re-inflate the tire at the first bit of singletrack...Besides I felt like a total power house! I had managed to stay with the group even while riding such low pressure, and then worked my way back into their ranks, surely I was in contention for the money, no?
Then another flat happened. This time it brought me too close to empty to want to keep riding on, so I stopped and reinflated the tire, and yelled out encouragement at my buddy Alex, and reinflated the tire. I still felt like a champ when I got back on my bike for the second time now and pinned down the trail. Before long I was on Alex's tail and told him to follow, but I guess I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't slow down and just kept going and he didn't keep up. I was riding through some tall grassy trails and couldn't see beneath me, and suddenly bam! Flat. This one wasn't going to re-seal I set about taking off the tire to put a tube in. Unfortunately the tire was too tight for me to take off on the side of the trail and I was at the mercy of the riders going by for both a tire lever, and a pump. Alex supplied the pump, and some guy racing with his daughter (on fathers's day!) supplied the tire lever, and Don (a friend) gave me an extra CO2 cartridge (I couldn't get that pump to work!).
By the time I was back on the bike though I realized the race was over for me. It took long enough that I stood basically no chance of catching back those top 10 guys (all of whom are fast elite-level racers), especially if I couldn't ride the trails at my own pace (stuck behind the slower waves of cyclists).
The rest of the race was a time-trial with huge breaks during the singletrack (of which there was 25km - that I hadn't hit yet). I learned my lesson though, the lightest tires on the market should not be trusted on a foreign course tubeless - they just pop like balloons. 
The week's been interesting since though, more on that later.

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