My plan was to leave the house with a leisurely 1 hour/8.5 mile ride out to the race venue. I left a little later than I wanted to in trade for watching the Budds Creek National Motocross on TV. This would leave me with a "spirited" 40 minute ride to the race.
I arrived at race registration plenty warmed up with about 12 minutes to spare before race time. I would use these 12 minutes to ride the first few hundred meters of the start and end of the course, visit the men's room and have a feeble attempt at some stretching while the race promoter, Kyle, did a "run-down" of the course layout.
Lap 1: BANG! We're off. The 12 mile race would make for a fast pace more akin to cyclocross than mountain biking. After climbing at a ridiculously high heart rate we were at mid mountain and I was positioned 2nd behind Mario (fresh off a win at Downieville) with two riders trailing but fading and the rest of the pack well behind. The course continued to climb as Mario and I pushed on. As we crested the hill there were two options, straight or right. No course markings. Mario went straight, I followed. We went downhill on a fireroad. Lots of downhill on fireroad. Yep, we're lost. Mario was freaked and mad. I didn't care too much. I get lost all the time on rides, as anybody I ride with will tell you.... ain't that right Aaron. We make our way back towards the course. Mario and I split up. I jump back on course in about 5th to start lap 2.
Lap 2: I work my way up to third on the climb.... then I miss the left onto Forrest AGAIN!!!! I was bummed... and over it. After climbing waaaaay beyond the boundary of the course, I figured I was on my way towards Mt. Pluto. At this point, I decided to salvage the day and keep riding towards the single track that would put me onto the Sawtooth trails, then I'd just ride home. This plan quickly changed however as I came upon the lower half of Livewire. As I looked down the side of the mountain I saw a beautiful ribbon of freshly watered trail with table tops and doubles sandwiched between bermed turns. I hesitated for about a nano-second, then dropped in. Sweet, sweet revenge. In my mind, victory was mine!! Conveniently, Livewire drops you 2/3rds up the first climb on the xc course. "Mario!!"
Lap 3: I hop in behind Mario having no idea where he was position wise. We climb a few minutes and he drifts left. Ohhhhhhhhhh. There's the left. At this point, I'm finally completing a lap of the course. I let Mario go to gap for dust. The trail's hammered. Super dusty and in complete contrast to the trail I'd just came down. Within minutes we're at the bottom. Kyle wonders just where the hell I've been. I tell him that their doing a great job on Livewire and he just laughs. He says that 68 out of 70 people made the left turn onto Forrest, but he'd comp my race next week to make up for it.
So, after scoring no points at the first race of the series, I have my work cut out for me. Next week I'm frickin' driving to the race and riding the course in its entirety BEFORE the race. See you there.