Marcus, Big Jim Slade, Ice Berg, Ricky Silk, and Myself drove up to Macon for the last race of the Georgia Series this past weekend. Macon is an easy drive, and I'm always for driving north versus south for mountain bike races.
If you've never been to Macon to ride, you should give it a shot. There are at least 3 good trails in Macon, similar to our TB Park / Cadillac system, and Thomaston's Camp Thunder is only 30 minutes west, and Daucet is only 25 minutes north. You can ride a ton of new trails in an easy weekend trip.
Anyway, our merry band drove up on Saturday, and Ricky Silk came up solo on Sunday morning. We prerode the course Saturday afternoon and it was hot!! The temperature, not the trail. Well the trail was kind of cute, but not hot like the oppressive middle GA weather. The high was 98. The course was described to us as flat and fast. Not entirely true, but close. There was about a mile of rolling grass fields and dirt roads before you hit any singletrack. That changes the nature of the holeshot style start we're used to in FL. I decided right away to sit in around the fields, to see how I felt, rather than tear off and try to hold it to the woods, where I'd surely blow up like cheap fireworks. The rest of the trail was mostly fast, twisty, hardpacked singletrack. That stuff is right up my alley. About a 1/3 of the way through the 7.25 mile loop there were a series of short, steep, rooty, technical climbs. These were not horrible, but they would send your heartrate to the redline if you missed a downshift when you rounded a corner to find one looming in front of you. Definitely a fun course to race on.
My race went alright. Not great, but not terrible either. I sat in on the start and luckily they didn't go too hard around all of that grasstrack. I went in the woods on 3rd's wheel. 1st and 2nd checked out just before the woods. Incidentally, they were 1st and 2nd in the points race as well. 3rd eventually started to show signs of being blown at the tops of the little climbs, so I ducked under. Unfortunately, the guy behind me made the pass also. I rode my tempo for awhile, but 4th was all over me. He made a pass and I tried to stay with him, but didn't feel it. I just kept telling myself to ride tempo and maybe he'd crack. Shortly I noticed that he was staying only about 30 seconds up. That gave me hope. If I could hold that gap until the last lap, I could give it all to reel him in. I guess the heat finally caught up with me on the last lap, though. I tried, but my heartrate would hardly go up. I was just toast. I would pin it with all I had up a little rise, and my HR would only go up to around 155. I'd been averaging about 162-165 before that. I guess 4th was my destiny. So be it.
I spent my suffering moments on that last lap hating Big Jim Slade for all he was worth. His class only had to do 2 laps. I could just see his punk ass sitting in the feed zone with his clean clothes on, feet up, sipping a latte in one hand and a wine cooler in the other, while I was out there bleeding through my eyeballs trying fruitlessly to catch 3rd place! After my race, he kept trying to tell me stories about how he almost threw away his chance to win again. That's right! The bastard won again! I just kept telling him not to talk to me. My hate fatigue was still too deep. He didn't listen, though. It seems that the only person to pass him the entire race, was Ice Berg. Berg started in a class behind BJS, and still caught him, even though BJS was winning! And when Berg catches him, BJS promptly throws himself into a tree, out of sheer frustration, I'm sure. Did I mention that Ice Berg won also? Yep. He trounced the hopes and dreams of another junior kid, who had an undefeated season until Berg showed up.
While Ice Berg and Big Jim Slade were stealing the glory from their respective classes' series winners, Marcus and Silk were busy getting robbed themselves.
Marcus had a SNAFU with race organizers, wherein they gave him the wrong number plate for his class. So he misses his start completely, and has to join the race at the very back of the field. He chased for all he was worth, but due to the number mix up, none of us had any idea how far he'd moved up in the field. When the results were finally posted, he had made it to 5th. Who knows how well he could've done without having to spend all that time chasing and passing slower guys in the singletrack.
Ricky Silk absolutely flew at this race! Unfortunately, Andy Johnston had downgraded from his Pro license, to the expert class. Something about wanting to qualify for Master's World's. I'm still not to sure how I feel about this. I think the root of the problem lies in the rules for qualifying for Master's World Championships. I think if Johnston had been allowed to keep his pro license, then Silk wouldn't have been robbed of a well deserved win. Silk was the only guy even close to Johnston, and third was 3 minutes back from Silk. Again, so be it.
So go the stories of our gang in Macon. Of course we ate entirely too much at JL's BBQ on the way home, but that's what we do. That, and tell way too many stories of every detail, of every corner, of every lap of our races, all the way home. But that's half the fun, right?