The Disc Burner 12 hours race is now officially one of my favorites and will be on my agenda for next year. It wasn't the race course that did it for me but more the folks who ran it. I decided last minute to do this one and even though I missed pre-registration the cost was still reasonable for what we got. The swag that was given out to racers was the best I've seen yet: Mountain Hardwear wicking T instead of the normal cotton T, a pair of Smartwool cycling socks, and a pint glass with the Disc Burner logo. Plus at 1:00 the 3 free kegs were tapped and the cool pint glasses were put to good use.
The race started out with the normal Lemans start and a double track climb that help break up the pack. I decided on the 6 hr race for this one so I ran a little quicker laps that I would for the 12 hour races. I've been trying out all the Edurolyte pills I've gotten free at various events and they really seemed to help me at the last 2 races I've done. I still felt fresh 4 hours into the race. Once my free stash runs out I just might actually throw down some $$ for a bottle of these things.
All of my laps went well without any mechanicals or bonking. After lap 4 I rolled in and checked up with Alan who informed me we only had time for one more before the 2:20 cut-off. I was kind of disappointed thinking it would be closer to 3. I knew I had 6 laps in me but 5 was alot better performance than my measly 3 @ Warriors Creek. Next time I'll pay better attention to the time and not spend so much time goofing off in the pits.
Lap 5 I started out with Alan and for some reason I felt really good, better than I had on lap 4. I picked up my pace knowing it was my last and decided to give it my all just in case I might pick up a spot or two. About half way through the lap I caught sight of an ETSU jersey. I had no idea who it was or if I was even racing against them but I decided to make it my goal to catch whoever it was. Over the course of a mile or two I reeled him in and passed him at the top of a climb. Working pretty hard I didn't get a good look at who it was but he didn't look familiar so I said nothing and just kept riding. I put a gap on the rider and found another carrot to chase. I passed the rider who had given up on climbing the hills but as soon as we started descending he was all over my rear tire so I moved over and let him pass, being too tired to worry about someone breathing down my neck. As soon as we approached another climb off the bike he went and started walking again. Once again I passed him on the climb only to find him all over my rear tire once we started descending. I knew this was going to get on my nerves so I decided to make him work for it if he wanted to pass me. He stayed there through the rest of the course until we reached the last section of fireroads where he finally did pass me and luckily for him there were no more climbs so I just let him go. I turned around to see if anyone else was coming and in all see sawing going on between me and the other rider the cat in the ESTU jersey had caught back up to me. All the hard riding I did to keep the hill walker behind me had left my legs cramping and it was all I had left in me to keep the ETSU rider behind me. During the final stretches of the course he really began to reel me in and I could feel him drafting me really close. The end of the course takes you through a couple of large fields with plenty of room to pass but he stayed behind me until the road crossing just before we entered the final field that contained the finish line. As we approached the road crossing I sensed him start to try and pass so I stood up stomped on the pedals with everything I had and pulled back ahead by a couple of inches as we entered the cone lined lane set up several yards before the finish line. The cone lined course arched to the right as it approached the finish line and I took the inside line leaving no room to pass except on the outside. We were both coming in very hot and all of the sudden out of the corner of my eye I see a blur of bike and blue jersey on my right and hear an oh sh*t! as the rider attempted to squeeze into the space between me and the cones failing miserably. He smashed hard into me taking both of us down. We were traveling so fast that when I came off my bike I hit the ground and rolled at least three times. I somehow managed roll back to my feet and grab my bike which was sliding on the grass behind me. I jumped up but quickly realized something was wrong because the handlebars would not turn right. I decided to run across the line with my bike in hand just ahead of my pursuer. As I ran across the line I shouted a few choice words to the ETSU rider. After I crossed I turned to face him and told him how unnecessary that was before I accessed the damage to me and my bike. He said nothing, crossed the line and walked off. As I walked back to the camper I couldn't help but think how familiar he looked once I looked at him face to face. When I reached the camper I told Melinda the story and she commented on how she had heard a crash and everyone who was spectating shout holy sh*t! I told her the rider was wearing an ETSU jersey and she told me who he was and I immediately felt bad for cussing him even though it was his fault.
Later that afternoon he approached me to apologize about the crash and I apologized as well for cussing him. I told him not to worry, I said it was just hard racing. I felt kinda like a NASCAR driver when someone crashes into his buddies car and he doesn't want to call him an idiot on national TV. "Aw,... we were just racing each other really hard." By then I had already checked the results and we were both indeed in the 6 hr race something I wasn't sure of but he was a lap up on me. When I told him that he said he was chasing the guy in front of us who I had previously been see sawing with but by the time the ETSU rider had caught me the other guy was long gone and out of sight. Hmmm.......
photo cred: Scooby's Snacks