Friday rolls around and we load up for stop 2 on the SECCC mtb race schedule. We are headed to Tallahassee, FL to race at Tom Brown Park. Sand, heat and pine trees is all that's there! This is what we dealt with when we neared ATL........ 2 hours of stop and go and we were no where close to downtown.
Racing? Oh yea! The team skips the TT's when we go to mountain bike races. TT's are for roadies not mountain bike racers. The TT was the first race of the morning on Saturday too so we slept in at the hotel which is a rarity when collegiate mtb season starts. Next was 4X on a Florida BMX track. I've moved up to B's this year in gravity so competition is a little stiffer. I didn't qualify well but I made the main and finished on the podium in 3rd. Derek, our new freshman sensation, made his first A main and finished 4th.
Onto short track... Schyler has now made the move to A's where Matt already is so now we have 2 A riders riding in endurance. Heck yea! They raced first and Schyler stepped up with a top 10 finish along with Matt. We sat and cheered them on the whole race. The womens A & B were SUPPOSED to be up next or James and I would have been warming up but the resident USAC official called Men's B's to the line. Holy Moly Batman! I'm cold as a slab of beef in a meat locker this can' end well on my part. I didn't cause a fuss and just went with it. I DID bolt off the line like a bat out of hell, got the holeshot and led the darn thing for two laps before imploding like July 4th fireworks. Each lap I fell one space back until some sandbagger lapped most of us and we were pulled. I still managed a top 10 though along with James one spot ahead of me. Derek sat and watched the short track cheering us on and was talking XC bike before it was over, ha ha.
Sunday rolled around and it was time for racing on the most fun XC course on the whole SECCC circuit in my opinion. 6 mile laps of fun, mostly flat, southern pine, sandy single track. I was a little disappointed in my XC performance but I handled the little bits of climbing they had quite well. I just couldn't lay the power down consistently enough to keep up with the main group. All I'm sayin here is I was not DFL! I think the heat was the culprit in the end although I was taking feeds each of the 3 laps the B's rode. For Schyler, who just recently upgraded to A's, it was his first long A's race. He hung in and got another top 10 finish racking up some healthy nationals points for later in October at Angel Fire, NM. Matt was doing even better than that when he broke his shoe on lap 3 and had to DNF. The drive back was long and boring so I'm glad James entertained us for most of the drive back when they weren't sleeping.
This weekend we, ETSU, host SECCC collegiate racing and I think we will have the largest turnout so far this season because many of the teams have been skipping races for some reason. I know the first one was mostly because alot of the colleges had not started classes yet then Florida is at the end of our spectrum making for long travel days for teams. We, ETSU, on the other hand are near the top and centrally located drawing big numbers of racers and teams. It takes lots of sweat and elbow grease to pull this off but we have a bunch of hard working students with a passion for mountain biking making it possible. Here's mud in your eye!