Saturday night’s event was the Race of the Disappearing Peloton. I don’t even know if a mountain bike race can have a peloton, but I think that name sounds really good, so cut me some slack.
And I learned from this race. I learned that there are a couple of items I need to add to my wish list of bike-racing attributes. Now the list is: trim down, speed up, buy better lights and (here’s the new stuff) develop some cunning and strategy.
I’d say I knew I was in trouble when I got to the parking lot but, hell, I always say that. And it's always true. I'm in trouble in any race for which I'm dumb enough to show up. Once again, fast people were there. The pace was high from the start and it didn’t take long for me to settle into sightseeing mode.
Well, that’s not entirely true. It was dark. My sightseeing was limited to the faint spot of light my LED lamp was putting on the trail while I saved my halogen juice for Rover's Run.
I knew there was a group of nine or ten riders ahead and we were on an out-and-back course, so when I encountered the leaders on Rover’s, I braced for an onslaught of oncoming traffic.
It never came.
Four riders blew by, then nothing. The main group had obviously taken a different route back.
See, while I use my imagination to entertain myself during the ride by thinking all sorts of strange thoughts, some people use their imaginations to read between the lines of the race rules, and come up with faster routes. The rules told us how to get to the Hilltop chalet. They said nothing about how to get back to Goose Lake.
Turns out, I could have cruised back via Campbell Airstrip Road instead of fish-tailing my way back down the Tour of Anchorage trail.
I still would have finished near the back, but I could have saved time and reached pizza heaven sooner.