I bumped my tires up to 15 psi front and 18 rear. It was way too high. I was having so much trouble keeping the wheels planted on the ground. The combination of mud, roots, and small rocks really screwed me up. If I would have had the pressure at my normal 13 psi front and 15 rear I think I would have been fine. I guess I have to run my pressure so ridiculously low because I'm a small guy on big tires. Most of my other woes stemmed from a few strokes of the pump right before the race.
I was riding like awhistle pig for half of the race (maybe not that bad. but you get the point.) Death grip on the bars, twitchy turning ect. I was just tense. I blame the tire pressure for that one. But at about the 45 minute mark, I did get it together and smooth it out a little.
Because I was riding so tensely, I crashed hard twice (or three times. I'm actually not sure.) Depending on how many times I did go down, either 100% or 66% of my crashes were in front of the same rider. I felt really bad about that. On the first crash I slid down a set of off camber roots and into a tree. I had to stop and straighten out my stem, but he had to stop and straighten out his tacoed back wheel. After apparently using a tree to smack it straight, he caught up to me about 30 minutes later. And I proceeded to crash again. Fortunately, I didn't take him down with me and he rode on by. After the race, he told me that he knew I was going to crash on that section of roots. He said that hes crashed there dozens of times (hes apparently a local) and when I apologized for screwing up his wheel and likely his race he replied in an even WV drawl "Ohh that's fine. It's all part of the fun." Mountain bike people be nice people.
I got lost. Or at least I thought I was lost. At one intersection, I convinced myself that I had made a wrong turn. I slowed to a crawl and shouted, "Hello? HELLO? oh boy. SHIIIT!" I got off my bike and waited. Then I got back on, crawled a few feet, and got off again. I stood for a minute, pondering, then got back on the bike and rode backwards towards the intersection. Finally a rider came along and informed me that I was in fact riding in the correct direction. The whole ordeal probably cost me three minutes.
And just so this post isn't completely self depreciating,
Things that I did well:
Opened my gel packet a little before the race start
Climbed really well
Climbed on foot really more weller
Didn't loose or break anything
Honestly, I feel like my fitness is there. I just need to get some more race experience.