Only in Bend do you show up to the weekly Cross race and stand on the start line with Ryan Trebon, Jonathan Page and Chris Sheppard. Thrilla #2 featured a stacked Men’s field and the excitement of Nationals this December is only growing.
Riding in Central Oregon dust is treacherous, Page when down hard in a loose moon-dust corner. Trebon took advantage of the mishap and redeemed himself after last week’s flat by taking home the 6 pack.
After a bit of nervousness, turned to excitement, my race almost didn’t happen. On my last practice lap, I got a bit too aggressive, took a turn just a little too fast, when down in the dust, and hit my front wheel hard, knocking it completely out of true and making it almost nonfunctional with the current brake adjustment.
The final call for line-ups was made and I was still hanging out by the tents, trying to adjust my front brake cable so that my wheel would rotate without coming to a complete stop. At this point, I had a couple of choices.
1) Blame it on a mechanical, open a beer and be a cheerleader for the Sunnyside Team
2) Start the race as-is and get a great workout with the added resistance of my front wheel on brake
3) Loosen up the brake cable, making them wide enough to function with an extremely wobbly wheel, while making braking power almost nonexistent.
I picked option #3 and after some help from my friend J, I bolted down to the start line and hoped for the best. Who needs a front brake anyway? They just slow you down.
The race played out similar to last week. Loose 180 degree turns, Central Oregon dust, a long sketchy descent that took out the riders that didn’t respect the power of ball-bearing pea-gravel, the burning desire to finish the final 2 laps without getting passed by the leaders.
The semi-functional front brake gave me a couple of surprises early on, but soon I forgot about it in exchange for a intense focus on the burning pain in my left quad and the inability to breathe as a result of my dust encrusted throat and nostrils (you have got to love the Thrilla!).
The Sunnyside Team had a great turn out and raced strong. Fox was beasting it out, overtook me on the climb out, leaving me with only his dust. Damian, on the SS with a sloppy chain, took 6th place; right up there with the big guns. It is awesome to see so many brightly clad teammates cheering each other on and only pushing one another to go harder.
I came home with another 6 pack, a load of high fives, and a bit more confidence than last week. A trip to Sunnyside is in order today; I have to get that front wheel straightened out so I can do it all again next week.