It's interesting how the deflation of a tire feels quite similiar to the deflation of one's self at the moment the first indicative squish is felt.
I went into the French Crick race with the wanting nothing less than a win. I know the course better than anyone, where the important parts of the course were, and where the race could be decided. After all, I've been riding these trails since I was 12.
The first lap was controlled by the playground posse. Out of sight of the rest of the field and all feeling good, we exchanged falsetto remarks at the top of the first major climb. Carnage would insue on the following descent.
I blasted down the descent first with Brandon and Kyle just behind. Of the three of us, I would be the only one to finish the two lap race. I railed the roughest part of the descent and took off on the false flat section that came just before another fast downhill section to try and get some time. Hit the descent, through the first road crossing on the way to the second. Dropping down onto the road, I felt the first squish. Then I did what every other person does when they think they have a tire going down. Bounce on it. I pushed the rim straight through the tire to the pavement. You've got to kidding me.
Turning around, there was no one in sight for at least 20 seconds, but with the speed of these MASS races lately, there's no recovering from a sliced tire. All I could do was keep limping along until someone passed me and offered a CO2. If your asking yourself why I didn't just use my own, it's because I didn't have one. The last flat that I got in competition here on the east coast was back in the summer of 2006 at Michaux and I was hoping my luck would last. Kyle and Weston rolled past me on the next downhill with the latter tossing me his pump. A qiuck shot of air a shake was all it took for Stan's sealant to work its magic. I had more trouble figuring out how Wes's air gun worked. One minute gone.
With the tire hopefully sealed for the rest of the day, I gave chase to the 4 guys that had just passed me. I wondered why Brandon wasn't one of them. I caught Chris Beck within seconds and rode with him up most of the next climb. Just up the hill was Jeff Shalk. Towards the top of the climb is one steep part of the that not many people were riding, including Chris and Jeff. I hit it hard and made lots of time on both of them. By the top of the last final descent I had just passed Jeff and started looking for Kyle and Wes. Lap 2 was nothing but chaos as Jeff and I weaved through tens of sport riders with some of the hairriest passes I've ever made. We couldn't call our passes fast enough. By the time one of us called left or right, we were both by already. Halfway through the lap we passed Kyle who had suffered from a flat as well. By the end of the last lap, I had put nearly a minute between Jeff and I, putting me 2nd behind Wes. The rest of the playground posse suffered multiple flats and both hiked there way out of the woods. Rough day on the rubber. Thanks to Wes again for the help.
I followed Saturday up with a long ride and toured through the nicest roads in the county. A nice 85 miles with some larger climbs, a bike shop, good views, and a farmers market along the way.
Apple orchards with great views.
It's no Front Range vista but for around here, it doesn't get much nicer.