The XC season ended for me yesterday with the Lake Manawa Mountain Bike Mayhem. It was a joint race for the Nebraska Psycowpath Series and the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (replacing the joint Lewis & Clarke Kanesville Krusher). Going into the final race of the season, I was in 6th place for the Nebraska Series and 3rd place for the IMBCS in terms of points. My goal was to try and finish strong and at least not lose my place in the standings.
I know that fast and twisty is not my specialty on an XL 29"er with my height and all of the trees with the amount of lean I have to do to carve the turns, but I always try to give it my best shot. I had my narrow bars on and the Dos Niner performed in a nice agile way for me. Rear tire choice of a Crow was probably not the best choice as it drifted quite a bit on me on several of the sharp, fast turns. But I kept her on the trail and didn't go down. I only said "hello" to one tree on the first lap yesterday with a nice bruise and scratches to prove it. I like the Manawa course as it provides enough of a technical challenge with the logs and sharp turns as well as the constant demand on power to accelerate after all of those turns. There pretty much is little to no chance for recovery along the trail making it feel sort of like a really long time trial.
The sport category lined up and waiting to give it the gas...
Tom Winfield caught everyone with his camera as we took on some of the technical sections of the course...
The fun little "stairs" that had a couple of lines one could take to negotiate...
There was a crash during lap one by Doug Larson as he did an endo. We were at least 1/2 way through the second lap when somebody was waving his arms and told each rider as we passed him that a man was down and that he was - to quote the words he used - "paralyzed". I thought - "you've got to be kidding me". And then I thought deeper - "Please say it isn't true that somebody is hurt that severely out here in our little race." We all filed back over to the registration area and passed the ambulance and fire truck that had arrived. The race was halted as Doug was taken to the hospital.
Here's Doug cruising along in the race having fun before the endo...
We all wish Doug and his wife Mary a full recovery and the strength and patience needed during this down time. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.
The crash certainly was a wake up call that at any minute, something could go wrong with any of us out on the trail. The decision was made to restart the race in the same position and time differentials we had as we crossed the line after the first lap. And we would do 1 1/2 laps since we had already completed 1 1/2 laps in the sport class. I'm not sure how much time passed from the halt of the race until the restart, but it was sobering to get going again physically and mentally.
I would give it my all on the straight away and connector sections to catch up to the guys in front of me, and then slowly slip away in some of the tricky bike handling twisty sections.
I spent the day ducking my head, leaning left and leaning right in an effort to keep from banging into the "forest" as this course was not a tall rider friendly course.
I was unable to make any passes after the restart and pretty much held my position behind the guy I was behind right when the race was halted. We crossed the line a second or two apart. He was a podium winner in the sport masters category and I finished in 6th place for sport open. Andrew, Brandon and Keith were the podium spots for the sport open. Depending on how the drop rule of one's lowest scoring races works, that should wrap up Keith Snoop's winning of the Iowa series and Andrew's winning of 2nd place for the Psycowpath series. And Brandon should hold his 4th place spot for the Psycowpath series with his podium finish. Great job guys!! I held 6th Place for Sport Open in the Psycowpath Series. I'll have to wait and see where my points land me for the Iowa series.
Sport Open Podium spots yesterday (Brandon, Andrew, Keith):
Our family went out last night for a nice dinner and family time at Splash in Des Moines. Good seafood, conversation and fun was had by all. I know my wife will be pleased that I am home on the weekends now and not gone for an entire day attending a race. Well, until next year that is.... ;-