A month long race report for Charles Elder
The grieving process takes time, and until now I have not been ready to relive the race that severely injured my beloved two wheeled ride.
My race season began in early May at the Fort Custer Stampede on May 4. After the harsh winter we had and little riding opportunities, I am sure I was not the only one feeling unprepared for this race. My wave took off at a faster than normal pace heading into the single track. I knew at that moment I was in trouble. Overall, it was an uneventful race (on my part), finishing middle of the pack in the sport class.
Amidst traveling for work the following week, I came across a Wednesday night race series where I was in North Carolina. Every Wednesday night mountain bikers met in different locations of Greensboro for the Racing in the Woods summer race series. New trails, new riders, new sights: why not? I raced sport class on a whole new hilly terrain. It was a constant course of down hill, up hill, corner, and repeat. The climbing made it hard to gain any type of momentum. I finished dead last. Looking at the results, the sport class riders which I raced, were posting the same lap times as the elite riders. No wonder I was feeling slow. Regardless, it was still a fun way to spend a Wednesday night while on the road. Definitely beat sitting in the hotel. (Side note: the trail system and mountain biking trails are amazing, and easily accessible through almost anywhere in the city. If you are ever near or in Greensboro, I highly suggest checking some out.)
In just a couple of short weeks it was time once again to hit familiar trials and race Yankee Springs TT. My recollection of this race is about vividly in my memory and as I think about it I still get choked up, or rather feel like choking someone. The start felt great and I was able to catch about 10 riders within the first 2 miles. Finally, I was in my groove. Around mile 4 I got a little too familiar with the terrain when I flew over my handlebars at a corner. Pick it up and keep on going. I was riding solid while struggling on the up hills. With about 3 miles left, a pink jersey rider flew past me and became my “rabbit”. With the finish line in sight I saw my “rabbit” only 6 bike lengths ahead with one rider in between us. I gave it all I had on the last corner and the flat and pushed forward. I flew up next to him ready to pass reaching 22 mph and my “rabbit” did not want to be passed. It gave the spectators quite a show when I flew over the handle bars off of the course a remarkable distance. The response told me it didn’t look good, and there was definitely some amazement that I was uninjured. My bike, however, didn’t make it out as easily. I ran my bike, with its wobbling bent front wheel, across the finish. Not the fastest, not the slowest, but I finished. Then I had to make the phone call home and break the bad news. My wife always tells me to not hurt the bike. “You’re insured, the bike is not” she says. Well, sorry to disappoint this time, but the bike took the brunt of the fall and it will never be the same again.
I ended my month of May with a Christmas gift. My wife and I were registered to run the Seahorse Duathlon on May 25th at Coldbrook Park. Luckily, this was not a race that required my mountain bike. Coming into this race I do not think I had even ran six miles, total, for the entire year so I was not expecting much. The run was challenging mixed with trail, paved and unpaved road and even some stairs. There were only 12 participants in the duathlon. I was happy to see that I was the third fastest on the bike portion overall (especially considering the beast, Danny Wolin, was number 1). I was 1st in my age group, as well as the only one in my age group. The highlight of this race was seeing so many other WSI teammates on the course and after.
May was eventful, to say the least. My mountain bike has been repaired and put back together. It’s rideable, but not the same. My custom Project 321 red rims no longer match. Still grieving (a.k.a. pouting). *insert sad face*
Race report written for Charles Elder by Nikki Elder (give credit where credit is due).