I was really looking forward to this race, 5 days of huge rides and serious chillin' in Harrisonburg. I would be sleeping on Ryan Fawley's floor, sharing space with Dan Wolf and 2012 Men's Leader Collin Becker. Stage 1 started off at high noon on Wednesday with a timed loop up Boy Scout and down the other side. The descent would be a Super D run too, so I would take a shot at that. I went real slow on the climb and after some timing controversey later that night, was around 6th on the Super D. Not what I wanted, but decent after blowing way off the trail through a tight corner.
The second timed section was up Hankey then over to all the sick new trail on Lookout. This would have no Super D, so I wasn't real concerned with how things went. I just tried to not hemorrhage time on the climb and ride smooth on the ridge, although I did go over the bars on the last rock move. Oops.
Day 2 would take us over to Little Sluice and would have two timed sections. We started off with a party pace ride up to the top via a super slippery, technical trail. At the top we would start on some double track then funnel into some excellent rocky goodness. I had a decent start but got tangled up several times, which landed me further back than I wanted. Eventually I made some moves and was on Zack Morrey's wheel with Sue Haywood not far behind. Zack let me by quickly and I shortly closed the gap to Collin Becker. About 20 seconds ahead of Collin was the lead group and I knew I could catch up if I got by. I called out my pass and Collin moved to the side, but unfortunately I was going way too fast and things got out of control. I guess I hit a rock that launched my rear wheel into the air which usually isn't a big deal. However when I was doing a nose-wheelie for what seemed like ages, a rocky waterbar appeared and that sealed my fate. I had no choice but to slam it with my front wheel and I went flying end over end. I got back up and felt ok, I definitely didn't hit my head and wasn't in pain, yet. I told Sue, Zack and Collin to keep going and that I would be fine.
|Driving is hard|
I jumped back on my bike and neither brake worked. This would be an interesting ride out. I coasted for a few feet before hitting the first bump and that's when I felt the sharp pain in my hand and I knew it was broken. It was swelling already. I DNFed the stage and caught a ride back in the sag-wagon. Day 3 though was a road stage and since I was already down there I was determined to ride. I could ride in the drops with minimal pain, shifting was pretty easy but braking was...tough. The gravel descents were brutal...very slow going to keep my hand in relative comfort.