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Sun & Ski presents The Rocky Hill Roundup

I am beat.

Today was the first race of the 2013 Texas Cross Country Mountain Bike State Championship Series, the Sun & Ski presents The Rocky Hill Roundup. Apparently there is a prize for the longest name and these guys might be winning, but I digress. I’m talking about the race, so let me start at the beginning (known as yesterday) and I’ll tell you my story.

Yesterday, I loaded up my car with all my necessary equipment, almost left, grabbed my phone, then left. I’ve driven out to Rocky Hill Ranch a few times and it is a pretty easy drive. It’s 142 miles away, but you only take four roads.

So anyway, I got there and set up camp. Camping at race venues is a pretty awesome thing. You don’t have to worry about showering, or spending a lot of money on a hotel, or waiting in line to get in the park the morning of the race. But there are some down sides, and since I haven’t made a list in a while, I’m going to use that format.

Down sides of camping at a race:

  1. The Weather. It can get hot when you camp. It can get rainy when you camp. And both of those suck. The one weather that I’m usually prepared enough for (the cold) doesn’t happen when you camp in Texas. Not even the second weekend in February.
  2. The Bugs. Now this is more if a general camping rant, or maybe a Texas camping rant, but bugs do kinda suck. There are spiders, which are just creepy. Mosquitos, which are just annoying. And there are ants, which are painful. Yeah, I was never been bit by an ant until I moved to Texas. They hurt.
  3. The Loud People. There is this thing about cyclists, where they like beer. If you ever have a cyclist buddy and you want to get on his good side, offer him a beer. And cyclist + beer = good time. And good time = loud time. And it usually is around the time I’m trying to get to bed and rest up for the big race in the morning.
  4. The Getting Trapped. Now, this doesn’t happen at every race, but Rocky Hill it does happen. The camp grounds are inside the course, so to get out you have to cross the course with your car; pushing the racers out of the way. And the race officials frown at that.
  5. The Hydrating. One of the things you do to prepare for a race is drink a lot of water. I personally try to get at least a gallon of water drunk, besides the normal water in my bottles when I ride. And I’m pretty darn good at it. But when you’re camping, you don’t have the luxury of rolling out of bed, walking ten steps to the bathroom. No, you have to pick yourself up off the ground, try to decide if you want to walk out of your tent in your underwear, decide you don’t, throw some shorts on after searching for two whole minutes in the dark, find your shoes, unzip the tent, walk up the hill to the porta potty, realize you don’t have a flashlight, etc and etc. And you do this at least five times over the course of the night.

Back to the boringness of the post. I set up camp, moved the camp cause of ants, ate lunch and went out for a preride of the course. The preride went well, I ended up almost going over my handlebars up a hill, and ended up with too little air in my tires and them getting really squirrelly. Nothing really interesting happened, I just spent the rest of the time catching up with my friend Ian.

Today though, was interesting. I work up pretty early, and I decided that I didn’t want to get my car trapped in the campground and having myself stuck at the ranch till quite late in the day. So I packed up all my stuff and drive down to the normal parking area before 7:00. I went and washed my hands in the bathroom and put my contacts in, and while I was putting the stuff back away in my trunk, I hear this guy driving by. He says in this sing-song voice, “It’s going to raaaaain…”. Right after he said that, I hear a raindrop here. And one over there. And then some more. I quickly close my trunk and hop in my car.

Instant deluge. And wind.

Tents were flying everywhere, rain was coming down sideways and in buckets. And I was so glad that I was not wet. So I ate brekkie and waited for it to dry.

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After the weather decided it was going to behave and play nicely, I got out and started to warm up with some friends. I shifted to a different gear and my chain popped off. Looking down, I saw that one of my spokes was broken. I got a mechanic guy to take it off for me, which was quite nice.

And then my cycling computer’s sensors fell off. Somehow both of the zip ties just broke. If I was thinking, I might have thought it was a sign or a warning or something. And I’m kinda glad, cause I would have been stressed out for no reason; the race went fine.

The race was fine, but slick as snot. The rain just made everything mud. And riding in mud isn’t something that I’m very good at. I just haven’t really had any practice. Some of the climbs I remember pedaling and my back tire spinning and I’m barely moving forward. I ended up hiking quite a few of them.

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Both my bike and I got covered in mud. I’m going to have to spend an hour or so cleaning it this week.

The mud also took out the parts of the course I was counting on using to gain some time. I couldn’t go fast cause my tires would just slide out and I didn’t want that to happen.

So I ended up finishing the race in 14th, with a time of 50:45. I’m not sure how long the course was, since there were some detours that were made. If I had raced in my old age group category, I would have came in 6th. Which would have been nice, but I’m not too sad about 14th, we had a pretty large group.

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