Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What's in the Waco Water?!

pam mashinAnother race weekend. This time on the sweet singletrack at Waco. It was a good weekend to be on the bike--the weather turned out to be great despite threatening forecasts of rain. It ended up being the core mtb'ers again: Shaley, Nickoli, and I with the wonderful addition of Mo, support extraordinaire. The wacky adventure started on Friday when Mo and I decided to let the traffic die down before heading out there. We had the carbo load dinner at Candelaris. It was very good...then Mo got a call from her old workmates saying that they were meeting up at Jax Grill. I kinda wanted to hit the road right after dinner, but figured we had enough time, so I agreed...heck, the end of my day was going great at work so I was in a relatively good mood. We head over there and it is hoppin...luckily somehad pulled out of a parking spot as we got there...front row! The good luck was continuing! Then it went started to go sour. Her friends were nowhere to be found and then we find out they decided to go to Los Cucos, where we were just a minute ago picking up Starbucks on the way. So I finally agreed and we backtracked to Memorial. Wouldn't you know it but we were the first ones there. WTF. Thankfully they started to slowly trickle in. We talked for a short while and Mo sensed my mental tugging at her shirt tail and said her goodbyes...we were finally on the move in earnest.

Things were now back to plan and I even had the forethought of using the HOV lane heading out of town. We headed west on Memorial and took Post Oak to the HOV lane entrance. For some reason the signs said the HOV was to the right, but I KNEW it was to the left, so I went left. No prob--on the HOV lane. Despite some slo-mos, we were making good headway, especially since it was Friday evening heading out of town. Katy, Brookshire, Sealy....WTF, Sealy?!?! Yes, I was on the I-10 HOV!! Nice navigating. Thankfully I had caught it early enough and we just backtracked to Sealy and took 36 north to 156 (?) to Hempstead which turned into 6, which is what we wanted in the first place. No problems...so far. I was cruising...about 90mph, trying to get to the hotel by midnight. I was passing people on the 1 lane highway and Mo was not happy about that at all. Then came Calvert on 6...I was tracking the speed of the truck in front of me going into town and then he suddenly hit his brakes...that could only mean a cop. I slow down at a moderate pace, not slamming the brakes like he did. The cop pulls out. Not good. I figured he would go for the truck...what was I thinking?!?! Black man in an Audi. Anyway, party lights go on and he is right on my bumper. This was going to be my first ticket ever. Somehow I get away with a warning to slow down when coming into Calvert. Mo thought I was a bastard.

Then Jaunda decides to call me to check on me. BTW, I hate talking on the phone when driving because it distracts me and I hate it when I see people on their phone because they are most of the time driving erratically. Anyway, as Jaunda is telling me that we had to get to the hotel at a certain time before being charged a fee, I blow past another cop going about 70 in a 45. Unbelievable. I really thought I was getting pulled over again. But for some reason this one didn't bite,thankfully. No more talking on the phone while driving for me.

We get to the hotel just before midnight and go straight to bed. We meet up with the Payne's at about 830 and go to the CRACKER Barrel for breakfast. Tasty. Of course, we stop by the Starbucks that is right next door before heading back to the hotel to suit up for preride. We get back, suit up, and head to the race course. Jaunda swears she knows where's she's going, but we end up at a dead end....okay, okay, I'm no one to talk. Regardless, I take the helm and bring us to the right place. We get there early enough to where not that many people are there to preride. We see Forrest, a guy I used to always see 2 years ago when he was racing at beginner level...he was obviously too good for that cat...he is now an Expert. It was disconcerting to me to hear from him that this was the worse course he has seen ever--so many hills! I was scared. I still decided to go on. We 3 saddle up while Mo takes the car to tour good ol Waco...she was back before we were done.

my mentorThe trail starts with a tough collection of switchbacks, leading to the first tough climb...which leads to another tough climb which ends at a rocky pinnacle. Then there are rocky decents, sharp switchbacks going downhill, then back to climbing. More climbing, and then more climbing. WTF...they obviously used up every hillside in the area! Then theres this nasty neverending climb up an empty creekbed....followed by a very very fast decent down a creekbed that ended with a very sharp turn back upwards for one of the hardest sustained climbs of the course. Nick warned me of a section that he had to use trees to push him up because it was tough--this was it. Thankfully, the awesome VORTEX was next! It literally felt like a roller coaster! I wanted to do it again! Unfortunately, there was another long climb right after the vortex. A few more miles of ups and downs, it was finally over. This would be a painful race.

After having my ass served to me on a cold platter by Cameron Park, we cleaned up and headed back into the bustling metropolis of Waco for lunch. We went to this small asian spot and had sushi. It was good....but the water was interesting. Jaunda did not like it at all and complained profusely. I ignored it. Turns out its the well water. Oh well. We then headed to the local bike shop so I could buy some tubes, then it was back to the hotel where we just vegged until dinner. We did our final carbo-load at the Olive Garden. Our waiter, Kenny, seemed to be very new at this gig. It showed through as he forgot an order or two and nicely deposited all of our water onto Mo's lap and blouse. Nice. The manager came over and comped our dessert to make amends. Way to take it for the team, Mo...what a support crew!

mommy!Well, then it was race day. I tried to stay relaxed and just take the bumps in stride. We did the usual roll call and slowly rolled towards the start line. My arch nemesis, Joe Love, was there...okay, not a real nemesis, just the only guy I remember from the 2004 race season. In no time we were off! Blazing around the pavement loop, one guy SOMEHOW drifted all the way to the outside and actually loss control and ejected off of the course. One guy laughed--not cool. Oh well. All was well getting into the singletrack--I was midpack somewhere. Again, it was a big turnout, 27 in our div. For some reason I was back to my old self and I couldn't negotiate the switchbacks cleanly...it must have been all of the adrenaline shooting through my system. I was getting pissed off at myself...I was that guy slowing down the pack. I didn't have a very good warmup, so again everything was hurting on the first climbs. Finally, I started to get my shit together and passed other racers. I even caught up to some S1's. The first lap was not that good for me. Back to the pavement loop and Mo was there to hand me a bottle. This was the funniest part of my race: when I came riding through the feed station, Mo was holding out a bottle for me and another racer mistook it as her handing it to him and tried to take it--thankfully, she pulled it away at the last second with a shriek—I was running out of my electrolyte drink! I laughed my way out of the feed zone.

The second lap was much better. I was passing a bunch of people now. I felt strong throughout. Then came the 2nd to last hard, long climb. I heard "Go HART!". It was Shaun Bain of MOAT. I didn't know he was racing in my cat. He let me pass on the climb then it was off to the VORTEX. With him right on my tail, I figured we would just zoom through it, which we did--I kinda got over my head and started to lose control as we exited. Then I rode too close to the trail edge where it dropped off a bit....and I bit it. Shaun stopped for me and actually waited for me to get up. He was now definitely on my super cool list. Then it was up the final long climb...that's where I lost contact with him after he spouted some kind words. Very cool. I was still feeling pretty good so I figured to go for a strong finish. I was bombing down the trail and then, thinking, "just don't crash." So, guess what, a nasty downhill switchback that I somehow forgot about comes up and I slide out. Normally, not bad, but somehow my rear wheel gets unseated and jammed. I try frantically to fix it, but it won't budge! I'm now thinking, "not this way!!" Two guys pass me, but thankfully they were in other cats...I finally undo my rear brake and am able to reseat the wheel. I'm now in emergency mode, trying to repair the damage, if any. I bust through the final singletrack straightaway and get spat out to the pavement. Except this time the pavement loop is rerouted onto the grass because they are now starting the Expert riders. I was not at all happy about this--the grass sapped all remaining fire and energy that I had. I looked back to see if anyone was chasing, but saw noone and I wasn't going to catch anyone on this crap. I turned off all jets. Some lady was barking at me to keep going, but it was over. Toast. Thankfully, I didn't lose any spots and the nearest guy ahead of me was about 2-3mins away. 9th, not bad.

what happened to the sandbags?So we waited a short while to check on Nick and Jaunda, but Mo had to meet with friends in town, so we left a bit early. Of course, Nick later calls and tells us that Jaunda won her class! Awesome! Now she owned a piece of Waco in the form of a brick (that was the trophy). Sweet. And that was Waco. Good times as usual. Next is the Red Bud report...or the lack of one...


Post a Comment

<< Home