Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snake Creek Gap #2

The Faster Mustache race team came out for the second Snake Creek Gap Mountain time trial on Saturday. The weather report called for dry and sunny conditions, with a high in the 60s. Given that the weather for the first time had been in the 40s with muddy trails, dense fog, and rain showers, everyone was psyched to improve their times from January. You might think that the great weather forecast would have meant more of the FM race team would have made it to the second race than to the first, but maybe our epic race reports and photos from the first race had kept some people away. Maybe they couldn’t make it because their work had sent them to exotic places like Jacksonville. Maybe some combination of the two. In any case, FM showed up with Eric N., Eric B., X, Aaron, and yours truly (Emily), all of whom had done the first TT and had plans for improvement in the second TT.

The team managed to roll into the venue parking lot a full 15 minutes earlier than we had in January, which meant we had already bettered our time at the day’s first time trial. Despite totally crushing our January drive time, somehow Eric N., X, Aaron and I all still ended up on the last shuttle bus to the 34 mile start line, while Eric B. made his way to the 17 mile start line. The conditions were sunny and warmer, although stream crossings were still really cold and the ice still hadn’t completely melted off the largest puddles.

Eric N and I were in the same starting wave, though I could only keep up with FM’s singlespeed animal for the first fifteen minutes of the race before he dropped me. I was feeling pretty strong and was definitely on schedule to drop at least 20 minutes from my January time. Then at around mile 10 I rode over some fairly innocuous-looking sticks while passing someone, and one of them bounced up into my drivetrain and broke my derailleur hanger. My race was over. Without a chain tensioner, I couldn’t even convert the bike to singlespeed just to ride it out to the finish. I had to remove my chain and hike (on the uphills) or coast (on the downhills) for a couple miles before I found some volunteers who could drive me and my bike back to the finish line parking lot.

While I was back at the finish mulling over my first DNF since the 1990s, the rest of FM was tearing it up. Every one of them improved their time from January, with Eric B. dropping a minute in the 17, X dropping 18 minutes and Aaron dropping 39 minutes (holy crap Aaron!!!) in men’s geared 34, and Nicoletti dropping 15 in singlespeed 34. I guess the report of someone who DNFed before the halfway point and then drank beer in the parking lot for a while isn’t exactly the most thrilling!

Anyway I am psyched to come back in March for one more chance to give this super-fun race my best. I may carry an extra derailleur hanger.

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