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"

Monday, May 29, 2006

Guns a Blazin at X-Bar Shootout

X-Bar Ranch
So this was it, the last race of the spring season. I kinda wanted to keep my string of improving placings going, similar to my beginner season two years ago. Plus, I figured this may be a good chance for me to pick up a top 5 placing, getting me half way to upgrading to Expert. Mo, Jaunda, and I left for Eldorado Friday afternoon. We got to our lovely bunkhouse late at night and were greeted at the door by a swarm of assorted bugs, which of course Mo loved. When we got in, Mo had to be assured that all bugs were killed before she went to sleep. Nice.

da bunkhausThe next morning we got up early to preride the course before it got too hot--it was forecasted to get into the mid 90s this weekend. So Jaunda and I geared up while Mo just chilled in the bunkhouse. We set out together, but would split up later on as my course would be a bit longer than hers: 9 for her, 16 for me. The first part was hella rocky and I was quite distressed about that. It really didnt let off until the turnoff for the longer course. Once there, it was mostly jeep trail, straight as could be. So straight I almost missed a turnoff, dazing off into the horizon. When the trailed rejoined the beginner course, it got rocky again. I stopped several times looking for the right line. It would be a lot tougher the next day since I would most likely be a lot more tired trying to circumnavigate the rock gardens.

Shortly after the preride, Jaunda asked me if I still wanted to do the marathon course...I promptly said, "hell no!" I'm so glad that I decided to cater to Jaunda and just do the short course. Later that day we DROVE over to the food stand for lunch and had some burgers. OK, yes we could have walked there, but it was hot and we had just took a shower and I really didn't feel like walking at that time. Anyway, we just vegged for most of the day...I know Mo wanted to go to the caverns, but Jaunda and I really didn't have that on our priority list...we figured if Mo really wanted to go, she would have smacked us across our heads. Dinner was in Sonora...a nice quaint town where EVERYONE waved at us! It was sweet--I forgot that as you got deep into Texas backcountry, the townsfolk tend to be really friendly. It was hilarious! We went to a steakhouse, but had pasta of course. It was alright, but not jaw-dropping. We finished the day off with dessert at DQ and then headed back to the bunkhouse to get some rest before the torturefest to come the next day.

mash happyWe got up at about 6am and readied up. Jaunda wasn't feeling well, but mustered up the strength to mount up and ride. I warmed up on the road and along the way saw MOAT in their trailer. Nice. I was gonna get smoked, but at least I was getting smoked by people I really admired. Justin Burger was there as well. To boot, they consolidated the age and skill groups so I was now riding with the Experts and the age group was now 30-39. Fabulous. It was a large group. I started off near Carlos and Shaun, but that was the last time I would see their faces...I was calm at the start as I knew there were marathoners in the group and experts, so I just let everyone do their thing and just slipped into the pack. Trouble was that the jeep road we started on was very dry and dust just blanketed all of us...now it wasn't so smart not being in the front. Then the speed started to pick up for some reason and I just held on for dear life...I couldn't believe even the marathoners were leaving in the dust, so to speak. Then the technical junk came and I just lost composure. My heartrate shot up, trying to get up the ledges and sharp jagged rocks.

we're offOn one of the initial climbs, I lost my chain and that was pretty much it for the ride. I was getting passed by pretty much everyone and I just tried to stay out of there way, hoping that I would get a second wind, soon! Shaun was long gone and Carlos passed me as I was continually having trouble with the rocks. I was out of shape. The turnoff didn't come soon enough, but I was so happy when it did. Carlos was still a few seconds ahead of me, but this is where he would leave me for good. I mashed as hard as I could, passing a few people, but Carlos just kept pulling away. I caught up with a bunch of riders on the jeep roads, but the damage was already done. We rejoined the beginner trail, which meant more technical work. Arrgh. I was getting very frustrated. Then Boyd came by and asked kindly how I was doing. I told him my plight and he nicely said, "at least we're having a nice day" to which I had to agree with. I let him pass and tried to figure out how a guy could be so good yet so nice on the trail like that.

Now I just didnt want to crash and stay in front of a couple Pedalmashers that I usually beat. Then fortune came my way as I passed two Ozone riders who seemed to be having mechanicals. That was some consolation for an otherwise super crappy ride. Finally came the finish and I tried to finish strong at least. It was over. There would be no top 5 for me. I later found out that I actually got 8th despite sucking royally...which meant I probably would have had top 5 if I was on top of my game. Oh well. Season is over, which means I can relax for a short while. Jaunda did well, finishing 4th and getting 8th overall for the spring season. She had a crappy ride too, so we commizerated. Sweet sweet misery.

sweet shotThis past week has been good workout-wise. A couple tough HART practices and this weekend I got a good long hard bike in at Terry Hershey and a good trail run in the backtrails at Memorial. The result: my Suunto Training manager upgraded me to "national" level! Hilarious. I really want to find out how it calcs skill levels...must be distance and hours logged in a week. We'll see. Alright folks, this should be the last blog before our GC trip. Expect a long blog for that one! See ya in a week or so!


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