What a race! Man, it was fun! First off, if you haven’t been to Rocky Gap State Park, you need to visit. Stellar single track with enough technical and climbing thrown at you that will have you feeling good about your riding. This is the second EX2 race I have done and as last time, it was great. I highly recommend doing one of their races. The weather for the inaugural 9 hours of Cranky Monkey was fantastic. Sunny with temperatures around mid to upper 70s. The layout of the course went as follows: 3 miles of rolling, 3 miles of climbing and 3 miles of flow. A bit of everything for your delight, even a jackhammering descent that will surely jiggle your gray matter around in the ole dome.
Trevor, my trusted and true support King went with me and ran the Team Crank Casa as smooth as one can be run. Without him I wouldn’t have had the showing I had. Many thanks and kudos to Trevor. The race started off with a Le Mans start, which I jogged. No need to tax the heart this quick. I had 8 hours to make my case. Once on the bike, I pushed the pace up so that I was comfortable, yet had a forceful flow. My plan was to minimize pit stops, so I rigged my bike up with 2 laps worth of sustenance and carried 2 laps worth of fluid. The plan worked great. I only stopped in the pits on half the ride bys. When I did stop it was for less than 20 seconds except for one time when I downed a can of chicken noodle soup. I needed the salt. This leads me into the cramping part. Laps 6 and 7 were torturous. The first 5 laps went smoothly and fast. Feeling good I continued to hammer away, but on the climbing section of the course on lap 6 my legs seized. Cramping ensued and it was a slow recovery for the next 2 laps. Lost some time, but better to take a little time during those laps to recover or run the chance of stopping completely. I lost a lot of salt on the course. My outfit looked as if I had been in the desert for several weeks, all spotted up with a unique camouflage pattern. Actually come to think of it, it might be a good design for future bike kits. Back to the race, oh yeah, that is when I took a two-minute break in the pits and had the soup. I took off on lap 7 and about a mile in I started to recover. I slowly started to unleash, still cramping a bit. By the end of lap 7, even though it was slow I was feeling better. I came through the pits and Trevor mentioned that I had fallen to 5th. Oh yeah, well I took off as I knew at that point I could get 9 laps. I laid the hammer down like I was charging an enemy force. I laid my fastest lap of the day down. Blew through the pits and told Trevor to have me some libation ready at the finish. I continued to lay it down or at least in my mind it felt like I was. I finished lap 9 in 8 hours and 20 minutes or so. Whooohhhhhhhhhhhh! Done, relax, oh yeahhhhhhh! Trevor was waiting for me and took my bike. We headed over to the pits and bumped fists as the Team had completed another great day on the race course.
I must say this was a big race with over 250 competitors. In my solo division the field was loaded. I haven’t gone up against this level of competition in a while. You earned your spot on this day. I love it this way, because when you walk away you can smile and know that you dug deep. The two laps of cramping was disheartening and sure if that wouldn’t have happened I might have moved up a spot or two. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I took 4th on the day with 81 miles of single track and at least 10,000 feet of elevation gain in a little over 8 hours. Not bad for a 38-year-old grass-roots mountain bike racer. To be honest that 4th would have been 1st at a lot of races. After I cleaned up and got some food and such, Trevor and I meandered over to the awards ceremony in front of a beautiful lake and sat down in our chairs that I drug over, because I was too lazy for lifting and such. I was proud to walk up and stand on the podium while raising my arm high to the starry sky.
I met some great people out there and saw some old buds. I met Jason Mahokey, the man behind XXC Magazine. Chatted with him a bit. He was interested in some things we are doing this summer. The magazine is great for the endurance mountain bike racer, enthusiast or fan. Check out the site at www.xxcmag.com
Cheers to everyone who did the race and many thanks for the fun.
As my pit King says, “Thats Right”!