Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Brands Cycle & Fitness Muddy Tire 2017



Brands Cycle & Fitness Muddy Tire (CAT 1 – Single Speed)
Small race directors are some of the most dedicated and committed. Participants often don’t know how lucky they really are...
I haven’t done a lot of racing this year, as a matter of fact, this would be my first race of 2017. Instead of boring you with the details of life that kept me from racing, I’ll just get to the event.

Sign-up/Price:  Easy sign-up, Bikereg is an easy site to use. Extremely reasonable price for this event. 

Pre-Event Communication:  Race Awesome is a great outfit and they do a great job with athlete communication. The emails and Facebook page gave me all I needed to know and more.

Packet Pick-Up:  Simple and straight forward the day before at the Fat Tire Festival.

Goodie Bag:  Disappointed in the standard environmentally unfriendly plastic grocery bag. Run of the mill sponsor fliers, nothing special. Great t-shirt.

Venue:  AWESOME. Plenty of camping, parking and space to roam. Playground for kids. Great trails with some good variety for all levels of rider.

Course:  Excellent course. While I did not enjoy the “new” section and the challenge it presented, it added to the difficulty of the race.

Course Marking & Volunteers: Excellent course marking and directional signage.

Finisher Medals: I did not get one. Did not see anyone at finish handing anything out, but I wasn’t stopping to loiter as I needed to tend to some injuries.

Race Photos: Some of the best I’ve seen in a long time, free and available within at least 24 hours after event.

Post-Race Food:  I did not see or partake, again as I headed right to camp site/car to tend to injuries.

Medical:  I had no need for it, but very close. The volunteers and course marshals were very present and vocal. Excellent to have this support on course.

Post- Event Communication: Nothing yet, but assuming the permitting process for this venue and event is not easy.

Travel: Easy drive from home (1 hour) on LIE.

OVERALL: I love this event and how it comes back so I can make it a part of my yearly racing calendar. 

MY RACE:

Did I mention this was to be my first race of 2017? The weather was perfect, cool, but not cold and sunny. I started to get ready and headed out for a little warm up and leg opener. We had the National Anthem and it was off to the start line for the Cat 1 9:00am start.

I lined up toward the back since I was on my single speed and with the flat opening loop of the open field knew I had no chance to be up front. I met Reggie the other single speeder in the Cat 1 division and we shared some pleasantries before the horn sounded.

Horn. We were off and I was officially racing for the first time in 2017. I was happy. I love racing. I love the adrenaline. I love pushing into the suffer zone and trying to go beyond.


I spun my legs as fast as I could to get as far forward as possible before we dove left into the single-track. I was probably in the top 20 riders strung out through the first section. I made a couple passes on the early uphill sections and maybe advanced five places to get in what looked to be a second group. There were a few slower riders holding the group up and they graciously pulled to the side when prompted, except for one guy. This guy let a gap to the front group open and had a line behind him yelling for him to move over. Even one of his teammates was calling him by name to let the faster group pass.

Well, this is where I screwed up. I was too antsy and eager not to fall further behind so I was glued to the guys tire in front of me in hopes that we would get an opening to pass.

Key point in the race happening at the 6:25 mark...

Around a corner over a hump one more left then a quick right and….BAM…I was off my bike, airborne, then off a tree…and…THUD…hit the ground! It all happened so fast. I could hardly breathe, my bike was somewhere, guys were yelling, I was being asked if I was OK. I gathered my wits and located my bike, hopped on before checking to see if there was any damaged and started riding again.

I had been left behind by the group and passed by a few others. I took stock of any injuries and started riding again. My left side had taken a beating. I took a hit to my ankle, hip, elbow and shoulder. I was amped on more adrenaline so I rode myself back into a rhythm and started chasing.

The adrenaline helped mask the pain and my desire not to go out on lap one of this three lap race kept me motivated.


I started catching riders and making some passes. I got through lap one and started to see familiar kits up ahead as I embarked on lap two.

I caught a small group of riders I was with when the crash happened and Reggie, my new single speed friend. My left hip was starting to hurt when I cranked up the power with my left leg, but otherwise I felt good. I made a hard charge past the group to get some distance going into lap three.


Hitting lap three, I knew I had a good gap on the chase pack, no clue who was ahead of me. I rode hard wanting to take the single speed win and get some crash comeback gratification.

This race was utilizing a new section of trail that had just been cut in the last few weeks. It was soft and still raw which made it hard to get a rhythm and forced one to use a lot of energy. I hit this new section on lap three and bonked. The combination of the crash, my hard effort on lap two, the energy zapping terrain and my lack of training/racing build up had caught up to me.


I kept turning the pedals over, but the effort with my left leg was getting more difficult and I felt like there was something more than sweat going on under my sock on my left ankle. The proverbial wheels were coming off. I did my best to keep it going and was not going to quit as I knew my son was probably waiting at the finish line. In our family, we finish what we start unless we are carted off by an ambulance. I kept telling myself “power hard to the last section and then the open flat lap and you can finish this off on top…GO!”


Apparently, that power was not enough as I was caught and passed by my little group and Reggie with less than two miles to go. I was disappointed, but more relieved that I would still finish and that I’d gotten up and put in a good effort after the crash.

It was a fun event. Even though there was not a lot of climbing, it was hard. The twisty-turny course kept you working and leaving no time to coast.

A lot of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve thoughts after the race, plus, I’d felt like I had been hit by a car…

Sunday afternoon, night and Monday were a bit rough getting around but I was still on a ‘high’ from racing again and finishing. I was back at my desk Monday morning looking for pictures and came across the video of my crash. As weird as it may sound, I was also juiced to find another race before winter gripped the east coast.

This stuff is addictive!

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