Sure, we were sandwiched between a Super Wal-mart, Ruby Tuesdays, Lowes, et al. but I guess you get a lot more for your money in Auburn, ME.
Seriously, nicer than my apartment. Not fair.
That TV is like, bigger than my head or something..
Totally had the complementary micro-wave popcorn and even used the dishwasher. I probably should not have put my dirty winter skinsuit in the hotels washing machine, though.
I felt a little too pampered. Wearing the $5 sweatpants I bought the night before at Super Wal-mart, stuffed with continental breakfast, I checked out at a leisurely 11:30am and made the whole 20 minute drive to the race venue. Man, this elite racer stuff is hard.
As I arrived, Mike was warming up for his race, where he eventually placed 4th in the Cat 3 men. Earlier in the day, Lori Kohls came through with a 6th place finish in the 3/4 women, and Nick Maggiore finished 9th in the Cat 4 men.
The weather for Sunday was stunning, though the course was still a total mess. The course was very similar to the previous day, though it ran in reverse. After two pre-ride laps, I needed some serious bike washing. This is where I make the fateful decision to use Mike's bike as a pit bike. More on that later.
The thumb I jammed on Saturday still felt bad, but I could grab the brake lever all right. Otherwise, everything felt good.
We get started, and I'm again spit right out the back (need to work on those starts). After the barn, the group hits the descent and a bunch of people crash. After a lap, I decided the course was a bit more difficult than yesterday, since the back woods section was absolutely brutal.
Oh yeah, there was some foreshadowing earlier. So I decided after two laps I would grab Mike's bike in the pit, that way mine would be a bit easier to ride towards the end of the race. I head in, dismount on the wrong side, change sides, grab Mike's bike, hit myself in the balls with his saddle, stuck my leg through one of the triangles, and flip over with the bike on top of me. I don't think anyone got a picture of that, but this is a pretty good representation of what happened:
Just imagine the guy on the ground is me, and I'm trying to ride the dog.
I somehow managed to break my shoe while doing this, as well. At this point I was a bit discouraged. Mike's bike was riding poorly (unknown to either of us, his rear derailer still had an old-growth deciduous forest lodged beneath the top knuckle), and so was I. I did a lap on his bike and managed to pass it back without any acrobatics. I had a quick pang of "you should drop out before you mess up more of your shit," but then I realized that was not at all cool. I knew at that point my race was probably not going to go as well, though.
My thumb/hand was getting worse throughout the race, to the point where I was grabbing the lever with three fingers and my palm to get leverage. I spent a lap or two passing Bikebarn racer John Peterson, and then promptly crashing in front of him. Jeff Bramhall heckled me for my use of brakes on a descent, and then I crashed in front of him too. Towards the end of the race, I was hanging out with Tom Sampson and Pete Rubijono when we were soundly schooled by Dan Timmerman and friends as they lapped us.
I'd say day two taught me a few things. First, that I should actually practice bike pass-offs, and maybe even get my own pit bike. Second, that the best possible pre-race situation can still lead to a poor performance. And third? Don't fuck with your hands. Seriously, my thumb still doesn't bend right. What a handy evolutionary trait.
I still don't have pneumonia though, which is an improvement from this time last year.