When I heard about this I knew I wanted to try it. The cost was only $10 and it was a race format I’ve never tried on dirt let alone snow. The format was to race 4 wide down the course which is littered with bank turns, double jumps, step downs and rollers. Each run down the hill 3rd and 4th place were eliminated to the consolation round and the top two advance to the next round and so on. I was only able to get Brad Bacon from the team to sign up and he even got a loaner 616 Fatbike to use for the day. We both chose the Intermediate Class over the Expert Class.
Both Brad and I were called up in the first round to compete against each other. I knew right there I was in trouble since Brad is use to racing downhill events. Sure enough he was off to a fast start and had the lead, while I was sitting second. I had taken 3 practice runs and knew the course was getting softer and softer as the days temps rose into the forties so my goal was to just ride safe and survive my run down the course. I was fine with getting bumped out early and enjoying the sunshine and a cold Founders Centennial while watching others battle it out. But then it happened, Brad hit the second to last double jump with way more speed than I would have and sure enough he was sailing through the air without his bike and landed hard on his right hand and shoulder. I came in first but I would not wish that on anyone. Ends up Brad broke his wrist and will require surgery. Dang it, our team is jinxed of late. First Tenner with a clavicle, then Paul with a clavicle, then Tom’s turn as he breaks his ankle. Now we have Brad all gimpy. Someday this team will be whole again, lets hope sooner rather than later.
I got to advance to the next round and again survived with a second place finish as racers kept crashing around me. Just stay upright and safe I kept thinking, after all Cathy made it very clear I had a large job ahead of me in 3 weeks (Barry-Roubaix) and my daughter said I was too old for this shit anymore, she didn’t want to have to take care of a vegetable. Her exact words!
One the final round of four racers and I was clearly in the lead as racers fell left and right behind me but I kept hearing someone yell, “pedal, pedal faster Rick!” Sure enough someone was on my tail for the final sprint to the finish but the 40 yards of finish chute had 3 rollers and a jump at the finish line. The last thing I wanted to do was sprint as fast as possible over bumps and jumps only to become airborne. Air and me don’t do well together, at least anything over 8″ maybe. I had no idea who won, it was too close to call from my position. Did you win? “I don’t know, I couldn’t tell either” said John. So I was the first to ask the officials, who won? You did, by 2 inches was word. Wow! Are you kidding me!? I show up only to survive with no broken bones and end up walking away as the winner of the Intermediate class. Just goes to show you never know.