Being a sucker for drama, I got on my bike the following day just to see what would happen next. I didn’t plan on being any faster, my body was still rejecting efforts I made to ride with any level of intensity, and we were starting at 9:00, so I knew the heat would still be an issue. But I love a good story, so I lined up with everyone else and tried to get my head in the game.
Each stage began with a “neutral” roll-out following a police escort, which climbed a long hill, then hit the dirt where it was game on. On day 2 I realized that the group was splitting on the roll-out, causing some riders to be off the back before the race technically started. I thought it must have been demoralizing to those racers who were being dropped during the supposedly ‘slow and neutral’ roll-out pace. I was just getting dropped at the dirt which was bad enough, but who cares about equality or consistency, I mean, we’re all “elite” level athletes competing for 10 grand, right?? No need to worry about the great and amazing folks who weren’t there to rip peoples legs off trying to get a chunk of cash…. for those who were there for the ride, and who somehow seemed to fall under the radar of the race organizer.
Stage 2 was marked much better than day 1. The organizer had learned something from all the complaints and stories and had doubled the number of markings and tape for the second stage. Even so, there were a couple of spots that were frighteningly low on markings, I made one wrong turn (quickly resolved), and I kept thinking that we needed even more confidence markers to compensate for low trust levels from the day before.
When it was all said and done, though, the day went pretty smooth, and I’d only had to deal with my struggling fitness and lack of ability to handle the heat. I still was only able to sit and spin on all climbs and found my body refusing to let me go even moderately paced, let alone “hard.” More frustration, but at least it was all mine.
That evening at dinner, a racer meeting was announced. “Hmmm, shouldn’t we be having these every day??” I thought, but was curious what the noise was about. Then, the organizer stood before the group and told us that some wingnut had taken over the top of the mountain where we were supposed to ride the following day, and had threatened to take down course markings and make the trail impassible. Questions abounded: did you call the cops, do you have a permit to use these trails, what’s this guy’s address and can we go take him out, etc. etc.?? Numerous alternatives were put on the table and it was finally decided to run the course backwards, and take out the top part that was supposedly causing the problems. The start was delayed in order for the organizers to have time to put up the new markings, so instead of starting early, at 7:00 as previously promised, we were told the new start was at 8:00. Fine. Off to bed we were for an early day in the morning.