My Monkey is Cranky

Raced the 3rd Cranky Monkey on Sunday at Fountainhead. It’s a great course and the weather was perfect. The expert field was stacked yet again with the local semi-pro and expert fast guys. After putting in 72 miles the day before with Eric, Judd, and Matt, with some spirited attacks and sprints, I was worried I had cooked myself before supper – if you catch my drift. My warm up reinforced this concern – my legs were tired and heavy. Well, I resigned myself to starting on the slower side and hoping for my legs to come around. The start, on a 1 mile road loop and no one wanting to sit out in the wind, would come down to a sprint out of the last corner and for the single track into the woods. I was cut off in the turn – Note: – mtb’ers can be very bad roadies – and lost some positions, but was in the top 10 dropping into the dirt. Long story short, I made up some positions and my legs were feeling ok. Granted it was early in the race, and I planned to save something, but getting a good start is critical.

Then my monkey reared his head – down a sketchy little drop, across a creek, and then up the start of a steep switch back climb – shift, skip-skip went the chain, SNAP! I knew right away my chain had broken. Not sure why – it’s not an old chain or significantly worn. In fact, I had just measured the stretch for wear a few days before the race. So I guess it was just the force of the shifting. Either way, now I had really resigned myself to not having a competitive day. It took some pressure off, and although I made the repair relatively quickly, I didn’t feel rushed or freaked out. All the other groups after the expert group (singlespeeders, 35+ expert, 45+ expert) were coming by now. I got to cheer some friends on as I went through the motions. It took some time – maybe 5, maybe 10 minutes – when you consider all the time to pull off the course, pull out tools, assess the damage, repair, regroup – it’s hard to calculate. Maybe I should time myself next time, since these mechanicals have been so common.

So I get going and push the pace, but remind myself to keep it steady. Have something for the last lap. As it turns out, my legs really came around. I felt strong on the first lap, faded a little on the 2nd, but felt really strong on the final lap. I made up a bunch of places on the last lap and was climbing well, often charging out of the saddle. So, that’s a good sign with the SM100 coming up. Hopefully I can have a mechanical free, well rested race. I finished 10th out of about 20 starters (17 finishers). From last, way last, I am happy I made up that much.

There are some great pix by Will Ramos at



~ by Indy on August 14, 2006.

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