I had some kind of fun this weekend getting back on a bike that is all my own. I've been riding borrowed bikes from time to time when buddies are able and time allows. But I've not been able to truly pin it and feel comfortable on someone else's rig.
I got the Turner built up thanks to oh so many good friends help and literally finished building it in the parking lot Saturday morning. Maiden voyage went well thanks to the fact that DH bikes these days are getting closer to being idiot proof. Geometry, suspension, drivetrain...they all bolt on and go these days.
Saturday the track was twice as tacky as the first race, with grass off the slope and the soil down to the underlying hardpack, instead of loose mulch, topsoil, sod and goo. Even the bog at the bottom, although wet, was fast and rock solid. Since I was back on a Turner, I wanted to clip in again for the first time in 2 years. It was fantastic being able to float over roots and hold the rear wheel in place.
I even wound out sprints with no issues and didn't feel blown up for the first time in a long time. Maybe just the excitement of having my own bike again gave me the mental edge I needed to race hard again, or the comradarie and excitement of racing locally again.
Qualifying seemed kinda silly at first so I just sprinted around the corner, sat down and rode no handed, went around the first double, rode no handed on the lower straight..and clowned for the crown by doing an aero tuck into the finish. Popped off a 2:32, 3 seconds faster than my clean race run from race run and 8th fastest qualifier. But now I regret not doing a full speed run!
Race day came and I'd been dodging the top double jump thinking it wasn't costing me. Followed a buddy into it to see if I was right but got dropped by going around...a good 3 seconds!!! So next run, I went for it behind Greg and got it with a pedal crank. After that I didn't even pedal, just pump over it. So nice and so much faster.
My race run, I felt great. Charged it and then just fell down in a flat right hand grass turn. Took forever to get up, get back on and go around the rock under the slope...even saw a shrew turning into the woods, which was weird. But I finished the rest of my run trying to salvage some dignity for the crowd. I honestly had my name shouted top to bottom, so that cheered me up and some nutty guys chased me ON BOTH SIDES down the straightaway...so awesome!
Finished with a cruddy time, 1 second slower than the previous race at 2:36. Between gapping the double (2-3 seconds) and picking myself up off the ground, there was roughly 10-12 seconds to be had by staying upright, but that just doesn't count in a race run. The clock does not care what you "could" have done.
But I feel confident again in my riding and that I can maintain a great race pace again. The Dirty Bird is coming up and not the kind of course I shine on, but on the new bike, I like my chances for a good result. It's gonna be tight times and a clean run will mean everything. Should be a blast!!!