La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

Voodoo Fail

Some times things happen that make you step back and reassess your goals….

Saturday morning, I woke up way before sunrise to get down to Lake Pueblo in time for the 8am start. The race venue was so poorly organized. The parking, registration and aid station drop were in three different places a few miles apart and the logistics meant that many folks were running late. I did my warmup anticipating an 8am start but was greeted by a line of people still waiting to register. Warrior Cycling – well I’m not gonna bad mouth ’em but lets just say they could stand to improve their event organization skills.

Finally started around 9am. I got a call-up as last year’s champ in the M30-39 category so I rolled out of the neutral start in the front row. After the flag went down, we started hammering the paved climb to get position for the singletrack.

I entered the singletrack in second.. a little too fast but i was feeling good. I eventually settled into a loose group of the top 5 riders. Saw one of them on the side of the trail with a flat and selfishly thought, “Bummer.. better him than me”.

Well, instant karma’s a bitch. 3 minutes later, about 7 miles into the first lap, My rear tire went squishy… but a shot of CO2 and the sealant worked its magic so I only lost a minute and about 20 places.

Five minutes later, hammering back up to the top ten, I flatted again. Not the squishy, slow leak, stan’s might seal it, type of leak – this was a sidewall tear. My invincible Maxxis Ikon EXOs were torn to shreds. After booting the tire and putting in a tube and pumping it up, I was on my way .. lost about 7 minutes and was now way back in the 100s.

The awesome singletrack which would have made for a fun flowing ride at the front was hell being stuck in mid pack. I had to dart off the trail into goatheads/cactus infested sand traps and sprint past groups of riders, recover, sprint again, repeat several dozens of times. It was frustrating to say the least to not be able to ride at your pace.

I finally fought my way back up to maybe the top 30 or so… was feeling good and ready to tackle the end of lap 2 when my tube was slashed by a rock. Game over. Even if I had another tube or patch kit, I was just mentally drained at this point so I ran the bike back for the final 6 miles, went straight to the car and drove home.

Frustration over mechanicals is becoming the norm for me over the past few years. It is coming pretty darn close to sucking all the fun out of racing. I barely have the time, money or desire to buy and maintain the equipment necessary to sustain racing at this level. The fact that I’m racing on a bike I bought in 2008 against folks lining up with the latest $6k carbon FS bikes is pretty telling. I can deal with that. I can’t deal with the fact that many of my races in the past 2 years have been lost due to mechanicals and “bad luck” in the form of flat tires (Let’s see, the last 12 months have seen six DNFs due to flat tires). All the time and preparation and sacrifice .. it means very little when 1/3 of my races are determined by my tire’s inability to hold air. Not a very fulfilling hobby as the costs keep rising, the risks of failing due to chance are high and the sacrifices seem barely worth it. Hmm maybe I’m just bitter about the weekend….

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April 25, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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