- ~20 miles
- 3000' of climbing
- 1st-Place Singlespeed, 1st-Place Overall
- 1:38 to the finish
- # of Wrecks: 1 (I took an opportunity to ride my bike straight into a Juniper Tree on the best descent of the race. Oof.)
I mean, really. Wow.
When did Lander, Wyoming join the world of kick-ass singletrack mountain biking? Lander is renowned for easy-access sport-climbing, and I've known for years that it's a secret source of great road biking. But I was pleasantly shocked this weekend by the awesome dirt riding that has been quietly developed by the cycling community over here in the last few years. Really damn fun.
Lander Cycling put on the inaugural Jurassic Classic mountain bike race this weekend, showcasing its trail network at Johnny-Behind-the-Rocks. As my buddy Evan put it, it's reminiscent of the riding in Durango--cool singletrack and doubletrack through Sage, Juniper, and Piñon Pines. Just sandy enough to drift the corners, but rarely enough to really bog down.
And the race was sweet! Just a great community event. Lots of friends from when I was teaching for NOLS full-time, and a really cool vibe. Like everybody was just excited to have an event on the local trails, and everybody was there to have a good time, stoked to see the 50+ riders turn out to race. They were joking that there were probably more volunteers than racers. Cool.
As a nice culmination to this season's efforts at not getting stuck in the pack at the start of my races, I took off from the line harder than usual and found myself leading! After recovering from a momentary panic I embraced the lead and kept it in high gear. (So to speak. "High gear" is relative on a singlespeed.) Evan was chomping at my heels for the first half of the race, but I was able to pull away on a sandy climb and rode the rest of it solo.
It was really fun to forget about conserving energy for the 4th or 7th hour of the race and just give 'er. (As my Canadian friends like to say.) My heartrate was way up above where I could let it go in a long race, but for a late-season 20-miler? Forget about it. Keep it pegged, and if it starts to hurt peg it harder. What a great ride.
Erica was waiting for me at the finish with our new family member Rue (a rescued black lab/mystery mix with a cinnamon roll corkscrew tail.) Kisses, hugs, and a cool full-circle feeling: 1st-place overall finishes in my first and last races of the season.
The awards ceremony was a pleasantly low-key wrap-up to the whole affair. One-of-a-kind awards made with old cogs and chainrings, somebody's pre-teen daughter announcing through a megaphone, lots of laughter and ribbing. And burgers and beer at 10am.
Really damn fun, indeed.