This was a super fun race. It tends to have a smaller turn out, since Abilene is the furthest west the races go. A good portion of the racers are based in Houston, which is like a six or something hour drive. But for me, it took me 3 hours and 15 minutes from my house to the race venue. Not the closest, and not the furthest, but a good distance away. It kinda reminds me of growing up. Where I grew up in California, pretty much everything was three hours away. Or five, but that’s less relevant.
But yeah, it was a smaller turnout and I am okay with that. There were only 16 racers total and a majority of them were the fast ones.
I do this thing, where I take my place in the final results and divide it by the total racers that races. Preferably the total that started the race vs just those who said they would start the race. That means I count Did Not Finish, but not Did Not Starts. But sometimes when they call up racers, they mark people who aren’t there as DNF instead of DNS. But that is what it is…
So that formula gives me a decimal, ratio, percentage or something, and it’s what I use to really gauge my success at the race and gives me an idea of here I will place with how many people are lined up with me. Over this series, I’ve been averaging .3802. That’s is quite the improvement over the .5918 last spring and .5362 of last fall. If I applied the average percentage decimal thing to the 16 racers total, it says I should finish 6th. I didn’t finish 6th.
I did worse.
But I’m still pretty darn happy with where I placed. I came in eighth. Eighth is the highest I have ever placed. Eighth place is also not sixth, which means my batting average for this race is .5000. And my average gets brought down a little to .4041. There’s always the next race to bring it back up.
So this is how it happened.
I started at the start line, called up with all the other top ten riders. My friend-mesis Jose told me that he was going to stay on my tire the whole time, I told him I was going to stay on Adam’s the whole time. Adam has won each of the races he has rode, and I figured if I could try to keep up I’ll do well. But the whistle blew and some how Jose ended up in front for a bit, only to get passed by Adam and some other guys. By the end of the start loop, Jose was in front of me and was in 6th place or so.
You may remember Jose from the Comfort race. The last few times I’ve ridden with Jose, I’ve been faster than him. Today was a little different. He was riding at a pace that was very close to my own. In some of the flats, like if I took a corner wrong, I would have to work very hard to catch him, and I’d only manage to do so, if he didn’t take a corner as aggressively as I did. I followed him, James followed me, and someone else was behind him, I think it was white shorts tattooed leg guy. James ate it on a turn and it was just Jose and I. We caught some younger guys, passed them and rode on.
Most of the course was this loose, dry red dust. It was slick, but not as slick as you’d think it would be, since the ground underneath was still hard packed. I was hitting turns fast and still managing to keep my traction, because of the hard packed dirt hiding from sight. Hitting turns fast was important in this race, since a majority of the course features were turns in and out of trees. There was a bunch of climbing and descending at the beginning, some rock gardens at the end, and just flat, twisty stuff in the middle for the bulk of the course.
Eventually WSTL guy caught up with us and passed us, and then James started riding my wheel. He ended up passing me, and then it was Jose, James, then me. This put Jose in 7th, James in 8th, and me in 9th.
We came to the more technical part of the course with the rock gardens. Every time a rocky climb would come up, James would pretty much stop in front of me and I’d have to put my foot down. Most of the time that meant I had to run my bike up the feature to keep up with the guys. I actually don’t think there was a climb that was of any difficulty that I made up cause of this. James, of course, blames Jose, as I blamed James.
James ends up passing Jose on a rock climb and leaves us in the dust. Jose and I finally clear the last of the rocks and it’s just a mile or so of twisty, turny turns left in the race. I know it’s getting close to the end and I need to make a move on Jose soon. About a quarter mile to the finish, the was this straight shot over a root or something and I just went for it. I pedaled as hard as I could and Jose was right behind me. That’s where he stayed until we crossed the finish line.
And that is how ended up in eighth place.