Small Fish, Big Pond – Sagebrush Safari, 2011: Kenda Cup West #1

Well, I decided to go big- and race against the fastest pros on the West Coast… Cat 1 SS. What a doozy.   I was the only “rookie” rider in the field, and most were getting $$ to be there.  This course was supposed to be 29 miles with 3,400′ of climbing.  It snowed/rained crazy the 2 days before and I geared 32:19 for it- prepped for the muddy/snowy climbs.  I went with some fatter, mud shedding tires.  WRONG!  They changed the course a couple hours before the start- which I didn’t know about!  They made it a “flat” 5 lap (20ish miles total) course due to all the snow and dangerous conditions on the “real” course.  I didn’t get the memo until staging, when I saw skinny tires and small cogs all around me.  My 19t spun out pathetically… and the seasoned pros smoked me from the start.  3 stream crossings on each lap had me soaked and numb for most of the race.  I heard so much good stuff about this course, so I’m bummed to make the long trip for this… but hey, that’s racing.  Anyhoo, I finished a meager 13th – but hey, they guys who beat me have all been in the game for years… and this is my 1st season… so I’m stoked for the experience.  What did I learn today?  Don’t leave my Camelbak at home- no fun drinking from muddy water bottles.  Go slow through stream crossings- not worth getting splashed in the face and drenched.  If there’s ever been any inclement weather, always ask if the course has changed on race morning.  Bring tires for every occasion.  Bring a hudson sprayer- good to rinse bike + clothes + shoes + you after a muddy affair.  Never leave the rigid fork at home.  I need to train on much harder gears.  Smile with those dirty teeth and love every minute of it- after all, I still had a blast… and my amazing wife and daughter were there to share it with me!!  Can’t wait til the next one… 🙂

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