Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Manatoc Experience

The Big Valley Race was a race I had circled on my calendar since it was first announced. For a little background, I was as a scout when I was a wee little one. I got my eagle and spent 8 years at Camp Manatoc. So this a very special place for me. I remember walking the trails of Camp Manatoc as a scout thinking these trails would be awesome to bike on. So last year when I started Mountain Biking and found out their was a race at Manatoc, I made it a goal to race that race. I ended up breaking a chain and finished second to last. So I had a settle to score.

I showed up and parked and met a very nice couple who drove down for this race from New York. They said they got their bikes this month and found the race today. Good for them. Lined up and got ready. I was questioning my tire choice as I picked my Small Block 8's, hoping it would be dry enough. Unfourtanitly, I could have really used my knobby Karma's. Live and learn I guess.

At the start my goal was to get to the front, and not wear myself out. So at the start I slotted in behind the first rider and stayed on his back wheel. I got a nice draft and saved a lot of energy doing so. The two of us slowly started to pull a gap on the field pretty soon and it was long before we had a 30 second gap on the field. When I knew our break was going to stick, I asked him what age class he was in suspecting he was in age group above me, that way if he was we could work together. He was in the next class up but any hopes of working together went down the drain when I washed out and fell hard, throwing my bottle and gel packs flying. Picked up my bike and got back on. I looked back and saw the third place rider and pushed myself to get my gap back. A short two miles later I came down a gravel road hill and started climbing up to see my mother and the beautiful sara cheering me on. This picked up my spirits and I picked up the pace once again.
I soon crested the hill behind the flagpool and knew it was all over, I never got passed the entire course and crested the hill and rolled down to the finish line knowing that I had completed what I had dreamed of doing for a year. It was a great feeling to hear people cheering for me and yelling my name as I came down that hill. I crossed the line giving CAMBA President Brett a high five and being surronded by Sara and my mother. I had completed the course in 48 minutes (a lot better than the hour and a half than last year), with a 10 mph average. It was a great moment for me and it was great getting another win after not winning since April.

Thanks CAMBA, Bike Authority, Crank Brothers, Ritchey Products and Kenda for letting me fullfill my dream of winning this race.

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