Short version: worst endurance relay race I have ever done. Long version below…
Well, I went up to Big Bear, West Virginia with Kent, Chris, and Sara. We got there around 4 or 5 pm and set up camp a bit away from the start/finish but with some shade, which we thought would be needed over the weekend. We went and did a pre-ride, and it was good to be on the trail. We started about 3 miles in and ended up doing 11 miles--more then I wanted to do, but oh well. The trail was muddy in parts, then quite rideable in others. That night, people made some good meat to eat along with some asparagus.
We had decided that Matty would do the first lap since he has been riding well and we knew he would rock it. Matty went out, and I was the second man to go. I started off charged up and passed Steve Schwartz, was rocking it, and then hit the first mud/swamp area. I had not pre-ridden this part and BAM! I went into a ditch I didn't see and did an endo over the bars. My bar hit my leg and that did the most damage. I raced the rest of the lap, and my gears were still mis-shifting a little, but I ended up coming in at 1:18. Our team then had Mike at 1:18 like me and Joe at 1:22. So going into my second lap, I was committed to riding smoother. I didn't have the wreck I had before, but I could really feel my back start to hurt the last half of the course where the mud and hills zapped your energy. I came in feeling good about the lap, but found out my time was a 1:24, so was a little upset that I didn't pull a great lap. Matty pulled a fast one at like 1:15 I think. Mike did pretty well, and Joe had some light issues and did a 1:54 or something. So I was a little bummed about our placing at that moment, but was committed to having fun at the race.
So I started my night lap, and I ran the mud bog section (it was faster) and tried standing for all the climbing in the first part of the course to save my back. I got to the down hill stuff and I was really rockin' it for me. I then got to the fast downhill, and I was actually talking to myself out loud, “Darren keep it smooth” and that kind of stuff. So I did really well on the downhill and then in this muddy switchback, I went down. Wasn't a crazy crash but added to the bruise total on the body. I was then riding the longer uphill, and then the downhill to the stream crossing to the muddy slow uphill. Well, I heard a pop, and then my rear tire started rubbing. I thought I had broken a spoke, so thought I might need to adjust my wheel in the dropout. Well, after several on the bike off the bike tries, I finally see in the dark that I have broken my rear chain stay. I was at mile 7 and knew I had 5+ miles to run/walk out. This was different from last year when I lost my derailleur. With that issue I could still ride my bike, especially on the downhills. Here every time I got on the bike, the tire would rub hard. So I was going to have to do a 5 mile run to get the lap done. I started off at a good pace around 5mph and I did that for about a mile and a half. I was then slowing down. So I kept on pushing the bike and running where I could. Funny thing was when I was going up the big climb I didn't see anyone for like 15 minutes. Also, walking up the climb I saw how steep it was and was surprised that I had ridden it the previous two times. Another issue I was having was that with my upper body being so weak, my triceps were hurting from pushing the bike. I would switch sides to lessen the pain, but it was still not the best. Well, I ran in doing a 2:15 lap, which was pretty good considering. Mike did a non-spectacular lap, and I went to bed saying I was done. I woke up to find that Mike didn't want to do another lap, and I had said I would do one if the team would do another. Well, we threw in the towel after Matt's 9 am ride.
The DCMTB Vet team kept their stuff together to do a great ride and finish 2nd Vet for the second year in a row. The team with JJ, Jonathan, Tom, and Lynne rocked the Just for Fun class, cause they were not able to race expert. Next year for Big Bear I vow will not be like this year. I will ether be totally ready to crush it, or I will ride more of a casual ride.