This weekend was the next to last race for the 2010 collegiate mountain bike season. Friday we loaded up the ETSU van (yea we won't be using motor pool next year, THANKS TBR!) and hooked up to the club's cycling trailer for the commute to Clemson University. I really don't mind this trip because it's not that long of a drive. I hooked the team up with hotel rooms this trip. I really think that they do so much better when they stay in a hotel room not all over one another with only 2 beds. It's truly a shame that this team has to travel like we do and that the University doesn't care more that a group of students that compete nationally aren't taken better care of by their own institution. Opps, sorry back to the trip. It was a good little jaunt up into the woods to get to the short track Saturday morning even further for slalom that would be held later in the day. I must add that Cemson has held the worst race so far of all the races we attended. Poor organization, late starts, crappy scoring, course not set up on time, etc. this list goes on. After a 45 minute cluster they finally got the A's started late in short track. Ben did pretty good even with those broken ribs still. The B class was a total failure for me, I dropped my chain in the rocky technical section and as I was trying to get it back up on the top ring some rider side-swiped me knocking me to the ground. Upon me getting up and letting a couple of curse words fly I finally got rolling about 1/2 half lap behind. I rode harder than any weekly Wednesday short track at ETSU and felt like I was about to explode. I could only manage about 4 laps like this then I was reeled in by Shane who was leading the ST but got caught shortly after passing me by a roadie. Yes, I finished DFL and I was very upset.
I don't train so I shouldn't expect much although I do not like finishing last. While I was sitting in the pits all the guys on the team kept telling me to ride DH (downhill). I didn't have my full face helmet or any gear with me so I was very reluctant. My DH license is a C so I thought to myself I could just ride it like a fast XC race and see what happens. So I go to registration to sign up then waited for 2 forevers for the start of DH. Finally my start time was up, I stuffed the seatpost all the way into the carbon BMC to keep it out of the way. I was off, I had a good start and was hitting all the big obstacles like I was on a big BMX bike. I opted out of the "big doubles" though, there was one that jumped the road and another that jumped the 15ft gap at the creek crossing. I managed a 2:03:00 for my time the fastest "A" rider did a 1:28:00. I finished a 2nd in my C class for DH so I guess I salvaged something for the day. I was pleasantly surprised too I could have placed in the 50% range in B's with my time.
Sunday morning we arrive about an hour early due to lousy info about start times. As we sat around the trailer the time for C's start grew near. As they lined up the clouds opened up like crazy. A heavy rain saturated the ground to make for a slopfest on the course. I was thankful I had about an hour wait while the C's rode in the mess. Just before the A's and B's began it stopped raining, thank goodness! I really didn't want to ride this but I was catching flak from some of the dudes so I manned up. I did my usual slow roll out and for the first half lap it was just a mediocre group ride with about 10 of us until we hit the long fast flat part, it then turned into an all out sprint. I hung on best I could for the first lap then just did the best I could for the conditions. I managed a 15th in the slop and didn't get caught by the A riders until 2/3rds through the last lap which I was happy about. Shane took the win with Greg and Schyler coming in close with top 5 finishes. Ben had too much pain due to his broken ribs and pulled out.
After I took care of business with the Clemson manager and let my concerns be known to the USAC official about how poorly run the event was we headed to the Chinese buffet down the street. I managed to eat well over the cost of my buffet with tuna sashimi. Thanks to Schyler for staying up and keeping me company while I drove back (everyone else sacked out for an hour or so).