Well, I've gone and done it

Pigs flew, the cows came home, and I understand the ice made it all the way to El Paso. I won my age group. I put in a decent effort considering, but wasn't 100% happy with it. That said, they gave out the awards about 35 minutes after I got back in, and 2nd and 3rd place in my category (Men 19 - 29) weren't even back yet! I'd been back for 5 minutes or so when I saw one of the other guys I was racing against at about the 40% mark on the course where you come back through the parking lot to go out for the long loop.

The reason I wasn't happy is the way I raced the first lap. I knew one of my biggest enemies would be getting caught up in the initial climb and blasting through it. I had been turning the Sport/Tech loop in just under 30 minutes, I came through at 25! I should have slowed down, but I was feeling so good. I ended up turning my first lap in something like 1:03! If I could have kept that pace, that'd have been awesome (not too mention to fastest non-pro time). My times went up from there though.

Of course, there's always the excuses. This was the hottest ride I've done since last fall when I first moved here. We topped out at 80 - actually, they shortened the race one lap because of the heat (something I am extremely grateful for). I had my 1 liter per lap figured out from last week's pre-ride and didn't take into account the 15 or so degree difference between the conditions. Almost needless to say, I ran out of water on two of the laps.

The other issue I had was shifting. On the last two laps, I basically had three gears, my 24-34-44 and my 34 tooth on the cassette. I blew out my (practically) brand new shifter cable somewhere on the course and couldn't get it to shift at all. If I really torqued down on the shifter I could sometimes get it to shift a gear or two, but it was random. I ended up burning a blister into my hand over the shifter trying to get it to shift. I also rubbed the Sram off of the grip.

Anyhow, showing up and finishing today would have netted me a podium - only three racers showed up for the amateur 19 - 29. All the fast 20 somethings were in the Open/Pro category, but just the same, I did show up and I did manage a "good enough" ride. Wow, my first Norba National race and my first mountain bike win. What a combination. I think I'll have a grin on my face for at least a week. :D