Remembering my dad's stories of sledding down parking lot snow mounds because Ohio had no hills, I fully expected the OMBC Wilds course to be smooth and flat. It was neither.
But I did get to enjoy some wide roads on the way there (quite novel for me as a hill dweller):
And although I was tempted to listen to this sign and pick up some calorie dense pickles for the race, somehow I stayed my wallet hand and kept moving:
After driving back the long dirt road to the start area, I was surprised by the number of people that were already there.
One team had an expansive setup that made the back of the Grumbler seem small and dirty in comparison (actually the back of the Grumbler seems small and dirty all the time.)
But I bet they didn't have one of these in their big fancy tent:
"Mwahaha. Send thar oral surgeon for me overbite"
I squandered most of my warm up time letting Aaron use my multi tool to fix his new bike, because roadies are too cool to carry tools. And apparently, they can only fix things with their heads upside down, closest to the up their ass position:
We headed back to the start line, and listened to the pre-race talk up while I apparently checked out my gloved fingernails (or gestured that a big a plate of spaghetti was magnifico):
And in a few more minutes, we saddled up and started the race. Prolouge is only a half mile long, all on gravel, all down hill. It ends with a sharp left turn into rocky and tight single track. There's no room to pass. I get into the woods about seven riders back and the front three guys immediately start to get away. Ben Ort has the twisty course nailed.
I'm trying to get around people, but the course is too full of roots, and the trail is only a few inches wide. The trees are close on all sides. I finally pick two or three off in a section of pines, but the top five guys are already out of sight.
Fifteen minutes in, I try to take a drink but I hit another section of roots and need both hands on the bars. I let my bottle dangle from my teeth. I drop it. Crap. Now I only have half a bottle of iced tea left.
I keep smashing along for the rest of the lap; there are no points on the course to rest. It's twisty and bumpy the whole time. For the first time I think I might be running a little too big of a gear. There are so many hard stops and punchy accelerations.
Half a lap in, I start to hit traffic. First the ladies, then the sport class. I have to get around them, but the course is still too tight to pass. It gets hard to keep any momentum. The field section comes up, but even it is too bumpy to get a rest.
I stop at the end of the first 14-mile lap to fill my bottle. I should have stashed a spare somewhere else.
I head back out and feel like I'm moving a little faster. I pass an expert or two. I'm a little smoother now that I know what's coming up on the course. Pre-riding this thing would have been huge. I finish out the lap without much incidence and sprint up the hill to finish.
1st SS, 4th or 5th overall. My lower back is killing me.