Sunday morning I packed up the car and my wife, niece's and I headed to Boonsboro, MD for the AMBC Greenbrier Challenge. This race is a blast, and attracts the big dogs as it's a USA Cycling national qualifier. They had about two inches of rain just days before the race, so it was bound to be a muddy mess.
When we were close to the race I was checking the fields for standing water to get an idea of how wet were gonna get, and it didn't look too bad. I got to go out for a pre-ride with Travis and one of his teammates, and realized just how muddy we would get. However a quote for the day "mud don't stick to wet" - only a few might get that (inside joke) We rushed back to the start with minutes to spare before the start.
They sent off the 19-29 class, then my class 1 minute later. I was starting at the back of the pack, after getting there almost late. I was able to work my way up on the first climb and picked up some places. Down the next fun rocky downhill and a nice doubletrack slight downhill through some puddles (lakes) and make right turn through a deep stream crossing, up a bit of a hill I'm now 1st or 2nd, and I stupidly down shift in the back (forgetting I was in big ring up front) my X0 rear derailleur cage explodes! I jump off the bike and run up the rest of the hill and around the log at the top to pull off and assess the damage - diagnosis = not trail repairable.
I walk/run/coast out back to the start and leave my bike with The Bike Lane guys, and run to my car to get a spare cage I thought was in my tool box - which I found that I had left at home on the workbench. Damn, now what - I see Liz packing up her stuff after finishing 4th in her race, I convinced her to lend me here X9 rear derailleur. After unbolting her derailleur I run down to The Bike Lane ez-up and bolt the derailleur on and off I go to RESTART my race.
Great, I get to climb the start 3 more times. But, I have yet to DNF a race and I didn't really feel like starting now. So there I got passing everyone I can to hopefully not DFL the race, but I'm 47 minutes back at this point. I love this course though, the rocky/rooty stream downhill near the end is a blast. I think I felt a 100% better this year than last year, so my fitness must be better than this time last year.
I finished the race dead last, but I finished! My times with out the mechanical should have secured me at least a top 3 if not the win - based on how I was feeling pre-mechanical and subsequent lap times. On a more exciting note, Travis got 2nd only seconds behing the lead, his wife one her class, Mike Carter got 15th in expert 40-49, Liz took 4th place, and Aaron Snyder got 4th place in PRO! with the fastest lop time of the day.
My first DFL and hopefully my last, now I gotta order a rear derailleur and some pads from my newest sponsor Magura USA. I'm not sure what's next on the schedule, supposed to be rainy this weekend and the Campmor series starts Sunday with Wawayanda - we'll see.