First off – how is this pronounced? Gra-NO or Gra-no-WG. Either way, I sucked. Let the excuses begin. My legs were crappy. Too much training load after 2 breaks from training. Lack of will to fight (that particularly hurts). Poor skillz. Bad tire selection. And on and on. Probably, the biggest issue I had was the last. I chose to run my Tufo clinchers which proved to be my undoing in any technical section…usually a strong point of mine. I crashed 4 times that I can remember, all in the same spot, on the switchback hill below the tower. Once laying it down hard enough to move my shifter in. Each crash cost me time in terms of getting going and then required me to run (or struggle badly to peddle) on the next hill.
Talking to Rob Campbell, who has provided me with cross tire knowledge in the past, after the race, it was clear the tire choice I made was a bad idea for 2 big reasons. One, and this I sort of knew going into the race but didn’t heed, was that I hadn’t ridden the Tufo tires at all since last year. I didn’t get reacquainted with how they road before the race. Second, and the latter would have made this apparent, was that the Tufo’s were past their expiration date. Having fixed the slow leak the night before the race should have made me realize this, but I’m stupid. Anyhow, the tires had no tackiness left. They were slick as glass – thus the carnage which ensued. I should have raced the same tires from last week and the ones I’ve been training on this fall – my Maxxis Raze’s. Lesson learned. But I am usually the dumb-ass changing stuff on my bike with 5 minutes before the start, so this tire selection stupidity comes as no surprise.
What may be a surprise to some was that I wasn’t too psyched about a front row start. I am a slow started. I like to be a row or two back and work my way up as others fade. Instead I was forced to go hard from the gun. It didn’t cause me to blow up, but it came close. My fitness is not like last year at this time and going red-line from the shot stuffs me in the hurt locker in a hurry.
So, some bad legs, crappy handling (in part I blame my tires because I can’t bare the thought I sucked that bad, but its probably true), and general lameness on my part resulted in 6th place in the Bs. I know it is a good result, but basically I lost positions in the race. In fact, with half a lap to go in the race I was in 4th and just melted. First I got passed going up to the tower and couldn’t respond – or maybe I just lost my will to try which burns my chaps even more to think about – and then got passed by a kid (a 12-14 year old or something which burns too) with about 1000 meters left in the race after I crashed for yet another time and nearly blew out my O-ring trying to ride up the next hill way over geared. It was a sobering race.
I got over it downing beers from the keg and heckling/cheering on the pros. So it can’t be all that bad right?