The 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey at Rocky Gap

This is a new race put on by the EX2 Adventures folks at Rocky Gap State Park. Both Leland and Tom liked the course, so I thought it would be a good place to go race. I had never done a relay race with Chris, so I teamed up with him and got Jonathan to join us. We were able to sign up for a 120+ team because our ages were 45, 43 and 35.

I got to Chris's a bit late and he was a little upset, but all was good once we got on the road. We got there in a little over 2 hours, with an hour to spare before the start. Originally, I was going to go third, thinking that I would be the slowest...but Chris said I had to go second because I was late. The crafty old man played his cards well, and he ended up doing only three laps instead of the four that Jonathan and I did.

The Start

Jonathan started us off. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of a run at the beginning, which is not Jonathan's strong suit. He went out, did a good lap and came in about a minute behind Leland, who was riding on a 3-man open team. I was a little worried about racing with my finger. I thought it was sprained (found out after the race it was broken), so I put a little mini-splint on and hoped it wouldn't hurt too much while I was riding.

I started my first lap and things were going well. I was feeling very comfortable on the flowing singletrack considering that the last race I had done was very twisty (12 hrs of Lodi). I was picking off people and I think I was in the lead of our class when I spied Mike S. from the DCMTB 3-man open team in front of me. As I was starting to gain some ground on him and was excited about the prospect of passing him, I felt my pedal at an odd angle. My crank arm was coming off the spindle. I had to stop to take care of this, which took some valuable time (around 7 minutes or so) to fix. Fixing it entailed bashing my multi-tool against the crank arm since the screw thing had broken when the crank arm came off. I was feeling my finger a little bit, but I was still hopeful that the pain wouldn't get too bad. I then started doing some of the downhills on the course, which turned out to be a different issue. I was almost crying and each time ended up losing some precious momentum that would have helped me up the uphills. I finally brought it in and Chris went out for his lap.

Rest of the Race

After my lap, I believe we were down by almost 12 minutes to the first place team. I was able to ride with my pinky taped to my ring finger instead of riding with a splint. It was still painful at times, but if I gripped the handlebars really tight, I was able to deal with it.

As a team, we all rode consistent laps after my mishap, and we were able to chip away at the lead of the teams in front of us. On the last lap, which was mine, we were up by one minute. I went out pretty hard to ensure that no one would get past me. At one point, a rider caught up to me, asking what class I was in. I didn't believe it was the rider in our division, but at the same time I wanted to drop him if I could. I rode the rocky uphill section at a steady pace and was able to slowly distance myself from him. Once I got to the downhill, I took the left-hand side, which was a lot rougher but let it all hang out and bombed down. I passed seven or eight people and left him behind in the process. I ended up having the same time on my last lap as I did on my third lap--pretty crazy.

Because I held off that racer (he was part of the first-place 105+ 3-man team), we ended up getting third place overall for 3-man teams. We also won the 3-man 120+ division. It was great hanging out with the DCMTB and Family Bikes crew and watching Ian and Mike crush the competition. They ended up being first place overall at the race. The Family Bikes team did a great job getting 2nd place in the 105+ division and the other DCMTBers on the "Not the Old Guys" team got 3rd in their race. Good results for all.

So the big question is...after I have surgery on my pinky, will I be able to hold the handlebars to train for the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey. If not, I think I might start running again :) Maybe I will go to the 12-hour race just to watch and pit with Mike K, who has a broken foot. Special thanks to Sara for typing this up because I couldn't do it with my pinky in a cast.

No comments: