A couple of notable things stand out from last weekend’s race.
It was a super fast course and the weather was beautiful. It had rained the day/night before, so there was no dust and the traction felt infinite. (unlike a couple years ago, where a rider 20 feet in front of you would literally vanish in a dust cloud)
I didn’t take any time to warm up before the race, and it starts with a mile of climbing right out of the gate. Bad idea. I felt ok for the first half mile, which was fire road, and entered the singletrack in 6th position. Unfortunately, the next half mile was a disaster, as my lack of warmup caught up with me and I blew the engine completely. Several riders passed me, and I dropped to probably 12th to 15th position. Once I recovered from this mess, I rode strong for the rest of the day. I never caught the lead group, but was never passed again either.
Unfortunately, the course, while extensively marked, somehow got really confusing for a lot of riders. Lots of people, myself included, ended up taking wrong turns at various points. At one point, despite following guidance from course marshalls and signs, I wound up doing two laps of a mile-long section that should only have been ridden once. Other people had similar stories. While stopped at the second aid station, I had about 25 miles logged so far, and heard from another rider who had just crossed the 30 mile point! So the results of the race a largely meaningless. Oh well. Fortunately it’s not like this was my big priority for the season (That one is still coming up!)
Technically, this was my first race (first dirt ride, really) on the new XTR build on the Niner. Holy crap, it did not fail to impress! Despite only having done a short shakedown ride on pavement with this setup previously everything worked well. I don’t think I could have said that about the previous build at any point in its lifetime.
The one technical drawback was that the fork, which was recently serviced by a nearby shop, had spewed all its oil and had thus completely lost all its rebound damping functionality. That was seriously annoying, and I expected much higher quality work out of this shop. I’ve since replaced the seals and oil in the fork myself, so I’m back in business. Took a lot less than the week-and-a-half turnaround at the shop, too…