The weather held out for the French Creek M.A.S.S. race. They pushed back the start times 1 hour for each class and dropped the Endurance down to 5 hours. The park rangers were diverting parking from the upper fields where everyone parked last year, down to the surrounding parking lots, most of which are about a mile away from the start.
The race started the same as last year up to the cabins, however instead of going left down the washout, we turned right and climbed for awhile. The was a group of about 5 of us leading up the gravel climb, then a few dropped off and it was just Nick Capriotti and I up the washed out climb. We caught a couple of the senior 1 guys, fortunately they were cool about moving aside.
I had no idea what was coming next, fortunately Nick knew the course and I was content just following him for awhile to pace myself. Up the short section of road we picked off a couple more senior 1's to put some places between us and the rest of the group. Then came a nice rocky downhill, Nick was taking it a little easier than I wanted to go, so I passed him. I really starting picking up the pace and rockin' this downhill to put a gap on him. I thought I flatted going down this section, I must've hit the rim quite a few times.
Through the next few climbs and singletrack I couldn't see anyone chasing my down so I thought I was in the clear. A few minutes later I saw one of the Loweriders crew (I thought it was Nick) back a little way. I tried kicking up my pace just a bit more and was holding my lead, then came the beginning of the end - CRASH, hard. I smacked a pedal on the last downhill switchback and got shot off the bike, smashing my forearm into a rock - instant lump. I jumped up all flustered and about 150 feet later same damn thing happened, now I gotta calm myself down a bit. After the downhill you shoot out onto the road and you're supposed to make a left back into the trail towards the finish. I say supposed to because I noticed the flags for the turn a little late and grabbed some brake and the bike washed right out from under me and I slid for about 20 feet on my left side. There goes first place, the Lowerider's guy got by me, I jump back on the bike and attack with as much as I got. 3.5 seconds back - I got my best XC finish yet 2nd place and at a place like French Creek with all the rocks and a good amount of climbing (not my strong point)
So 3 crashes later, a little clean up, some recovery drink and an excellent burger from the Nudy family - apparently they were running the concessions there. Their sons are some really fast expert racers in the MASS.
The Spokes Bike Shop team had a great day! Mike got 6th in expert, John - 1st in beginner, Lance - 2nd in Sport master 1, Lisa - 6th in beginner, Stanley - 12 in beginner.
The Emmaus crew were all camping at the park, and I was invited to chill with them for a bit. These folks really know how to camp and party - they were cooking some great food. We had some killer nachos, some steak, and a really good pasta dish with grilled salmon. Hoping to not be in too much trouble for being out all day I headed home to chill with Christine.
I think we're gonna go to the Rodale crit race tomorrow morning, my first road race. Its only 12 laps (1 mile laps) so I'm hoping to do well and ask?? for an upgrade to Cat 4. Bill gave me some pointers, so I'm thankful for that.