The horn sounds and it's the Vet Expert's time to hit the course. We were held back about 15 minutes from the first starters, now we had to chase. These races are a bit different. Everyone races against everyone, regardless of class. But, the lower your class, the more of a head-start you get. Trust me, it's cool. Basically, everyone has a chance to win. You must do as many laps of the 2 mile course as you can in your alloted time. I had 38 minutes.
Things did not start well. I didn't manage to warm up like would have liked, then I forgot to use my inhaler until about 2 minutes before I was supposed to start. It takes about 15 minutes to take effect.
So, after the horn I drop the hammer. After all I need to catch just about everyone in order to win again in race #2 like I was able to do in race #1. This was going to be harder. I could feel my chest not wanting to let in enough air. I pushed on, knowing that the inhaler would eventually kick in.
Fellow Vet Expert racer Van Phillips and I rode most of the first lap close to each other, until he shot past me on the only tough climb on the course. I couldn't get the singlespeed to stay on the wheel of his geared Gunnar 29er. He raced very well!
So I kept at it, as hard as I could, and my chest finally opened up and my laps stayed fast. Actually, the fourth lap got quicker as I had no traffic to deal with. I had passed everyone but Van. Now I had to dig really deep on my fourth lap. As I powered up a steep rise, I heard a loud "pop" and could feel something out-of-whack with the trusty Rig. I kept riding as hard as I could. I finished my fourth lap just seconds slower than my first.
Lap number five was going to have to be an all-out, can't-see-straight, sufferfest. I hit the first climb with as much power as I could muster, then in an instant my race was over. The "pop" I heard earlier was a chainring bolt shearing off. The sudden stop on lap number 5 was the second bolt giving way, dropping my chain and bending my Surly stainless chainring. My day was done. I felt good about how I raced.
The best part of the day was that Pookie won overall today. So in the first two races of this three race series, we each have one win! Nice job Pookie!