This is my high drama piece of 4 posts in a tiny series, or stages. My recollection of last weekend’s trip to Lewiston for the Devils Slide Mountain Bike Race. It was race day and here is how it went down. [results]
We awoke to a cloudy and chilly morning. Someone mentioned rain but I still think the weather was delightful. Way better then the winter stuff at home. I do my best racing in the cool weather.
1.5 minutes before the race I decided I was hot and went down to the parking lot to ditch my undershirt and leg warmers. It is a good thing because during the race I felt real hot. A little sunshine and its like us northern folk start to melt.
I made the starting line and was a tiny bit late. I lined up behind Joe Chalmers just as the gun went off (guy shouted go). Joe took off like a mad man and lead the entire group of about
ten 7 or so along the equestrian trail leading to the first bit of single-track.
Soon Joe slowed a bit once on top of a plateau and Perry Roper almost ran into his back wheel. It was apparent the Perry had a great pace going and wanted to continue because he passed Joe and jetted across the plain with myself gasping to take his wheel. I looked back and Joe was not going to come along.
The big threat of the day was Kris Holden who kept stealth and rode with Joe a little bit. I did not even know there were any others that were keeping Perry’s pace until we started jetting up the big climb. I was afraid to look around but could hear someone breathing down my neck. As soon as I lost Perry’s wheel I would be overtaken and I knew it. I held on.
On top Perry settled down a bit and I was relieved and tried to regain some hind of composure. Spin, spin, spin, I told myself. I think Kris went back a little on the final push to the top. We blistered down the Devils Slide and I lost ground to Perry. I thought he would ride away so I did my best to hit the technical sections fast but not so fast as to wreck and ruin the entire race. This was my 3rd time on the Turner this season and I was still getting used to it.
At the bottom and just about the end of lap 1 I caught back up to Perry immediately and felt strong. I knew this would be the place to make my move if I had a chance later on. I stuck to his wheel to try and never loose it again. If I were to make a move I needed to be in place. Lap 2 would be my practice “wheel holding” lap.
We started lap 2 and my cheering section featuring Nancy and Emily Brown were cheering me on. It felt good to have some fans even though friends. I made it look like I was playing behind Perry but in reality I was wondering if I could hold his wheel if he went just as fast on the second lap. He did!
Going down the devils slide a second time it was apparent that he was losing composure. He went off track and put almost crashed once. I was confident that on the final push I could hold on to him and possibly beat him down hill. I settled in to try and compose and get ready to take command in 1 lap. That is if I could hold on that long. I felt like these guys were killing me and I was the weak one until now.
Suddenly kris Holden rode to our wheels. He did it so fast I knew he was going to crush us. I had to do something so I quietly passed Perry. I looked at him and he gave me this puzzled look. I think he was tired but that didn’t matter any more. I had a fresh racer right behind me. This guy rode away from me two years ago and finished right behind Bradford Parish.
Still on lap 2, I looked back on the climb to end the lap. The two riders seemed to be together, maybe talking. I took the rest of the climb as hard as I could without looking like I was attacking. The final climb I stood up and hammered.
he final lap it was well known to the guys behind that I was on the attack. I think Kris was thinking he had to wait and then pass me on lap 3. I couldn’t wait and I knew that if he was with me at the Devils Slide I would loose the race. I got to the big climb and looked back to see progress. Shit! Kris was closing … big time. I put some blood down on that big climb and absolutely smashed it.
I never looked back because it was all out from here to the downhill. I suffered on top of the Plateau and entered the slide. I ran right into some slower riders. I could hear Kris starting to bomb the slide behind me and I couldn’t wait for the slower riders any more. I dismounted and ran around and remounted. I rode the downhill as fast as I could.
The last climb with about 2 miles to go I stood and started to hammer. I sat right back down … I was toast …. FINISHED. I looked back.
Nothing! All I had to do is keep from passing out. I rode the last half mile with a big ol grin on my face. I had just won the Devils Slide outright. It was a great battle