Monday, April 18, 2016

Morning At Oak Ridge

Beautiful, yes, but somewhere out there is a racetrack, and that is my main concern.

Sleep was difficult Saturday night.  I always manage to park near the guy with the loudest generator.  The guy who spends $100K on his camping rig, but then buys a three hundred dollar piece of crap that sounds like 37 jackhammers inside your head.  To add insult to douchebaggery, this yahoo has a 4x4 section of plywood leaned up against one side, to direct the sound away from him, and right towards me.  I'm tempted to move the plywood and give him a taste of his own medicine.

Race is at 10:45, in about two hours.  I relax and have some breakfast.  If you've never eaten oatmeal cooked on a camp stove on a chilly morning looking at the above view, you might be missing something.  The bike is as good as it's going to get, with a new rear tire, new wheel bearings and some other odds and ends.  I'm nervous about the course, it's hard pack red clay, and it's dry, with dusty wide open grass track sections.  The conditions I normally train in are very wet and muddy, so this is a whole new world for me.  Be nice if I could afford tires for every condition.  I can't, so I stick with my familiar IRC Volcanduro intermediates, which seem to work ok just about everywhere.

Finally it's time and I gear up, head for the start.  There are over 200 entries in the morning event, about 10 percent of that in my class.  As usual I am on the oldest bike in class.  I quell my feelings of inadequacy at being unable to keep up with the Joneses by envisioning the course in my head.  I walked about half of it last night to get an idea of what to expect.  This helps immeasurably.

Wave after wave of riders explode off in clouds of grass and dirt, stampeding to the first turn, a left hand 90 degree bend that funnels you into another 90 degree right.  We are so close to the first turn I wonder if I will have time to grab second.  Maybe I should start in second...

No time to decide as the flag waves.  Kick the bike and scream off in whatever gear it's in.  Big wheelie to the corner, guess that was first, bang second, front drops, hard on both brakes, stand on it and force the thing down into the turn, hoping the front sticks.  It does and I'm in third place.  Here we go again.

Yours truly in the center of the shot, the only bike sporting a headlight.

I'm on the right, in third.

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