I raced this season less than anytime during the last 30 years. It doesn’t seem that strange since I’ve been injured so much of the season. And, I’ve had little patience with the injuries, which just prolonged the healing process. So, today, I felt pretty unfamiliar with the pre-race jitters I felt as I drove up to the Bass Resort, to pre-ride a little of the course of the Berryman Trail Epic race tomorrow. I hadn’t done a system check in such a long time, nearly a month, that it felt strange.
I don’t mind the self-imposed nervousness and constant checks the day before, or morning of the races. I think it is a good thing, especially when you’ve gone over all the aspects of the race and feel you’ve done everything possible to make the outcome positive. I can’t say that about this specific race, but it is what it is.
Brian and I got out for about 15 miles of the course late yesterday last night. Last year, nearly the whole 56 miles were covered with at least 4 inches of leaves. This year, it is a late fall, so the trail is perfect. Well, perfect leaf-wise, but a little dusty and loose to be super perfect.
I did all the system checks and still have a big question mark. I’m not as pitiful as I was the day before last year, and I won, so that is a good thing. But, I definitely didn’t feel perky at all. I have close to 4 1/2 hours to ride into it tomorrow, so it isn’t like the first 30 minutes decided the race.
The race starts a little early for my liking, 8:30 am. Yesterday it was 28 degrees at that time, but today it is warmer, in the mid 30’s. The race starts on a gravel climb, pretty much from the start, so you aren’t too cold for very long. It is supposed to be nearly 60 for a high, but that will be way after the race is over for the leaders.
Scott and Jacob, the race promoters, have been camped out for the last week, walking the trail and marking 56 miles of trail. I was talking to Brian on the way over, saying I can’t imagine how long it would take to mark that much non-repeating singletrack. I have my answer. It is quite impressive. There are 350 riders entered today, so all the hard work is obviously appreciated.
Okay, by the time many of you read this, I’ll be riding through the Mark Twain National Forest. Hopefully pretty fast. If not, it’s fine, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.