Okay, first of all looking back at Mansfield I’m going to assume 50% of the issue was my own.
Simply put, I ran my tires WAY under inflated. I got used to it in Arizona since there really wasn’t anything brutal out in that area for me to get hung up on, and in Durham Forest its almost like riding Albion by way of technical shenanigans. I was easily 25-30psi front and rear.
I had spent the majority of my week debating switching out my handlebars and grips, but otherwise happy with how my bike is.
This is the first mistake of my day. I continually forget how steep Mansfield is in some sections. This bodes fine for 160 pounders that can bleed off speed using brakes lightly, but us super clydes have it a bit worse on these kinds of features. That and honestly I don’t ever see myself getting a dropper seat post, but this is one of those places that I think it’d come in handy.
For me, if you let go of the brake, gravity will accelerate my mass way outside my brakes ability to stop.. combine it with how I always tend to think Mansfield is easier than it is, and you have a lot of stupid mistakes being made early… oh, also add in the mindset of having a full suspension bike too.
Though this year I didn’t almost near endo kill myself on the little hill jump about a third of the way though the course… so YAY FOR SMALL VICTORIES…. I think.
I’ll make sure to come prepared bike wise next year… also fitness wise, while not lacking, it was definitely not on point. That’s okay though, I’m not going to beat myself up over it just yet.
First lap out and things are alright. Legs a bit laggy and not my best time around the course. Mind you, got caught up on a lot of traffic, but I wasn’t going to let that bother me, I had a long day ahead of me, and I knew Mansfield was going to be bad for it for the first lap.
Nothing to note, rode with good people, shot the shit, got my lap in..
Everything was good till I got to Exit Wound.
I was careening derpily down Exit Wound, satisfied in my ability to get through it after last laps clean run. I get to the first switchback, and there’s a rider standing on the course right in the middle of the corner.. grab the front brake while trying to not smash her into a pancake… aaaand bang. Front tire blows. I almost save it, but end up going over the bars cause screw you, your new white kit would look good with dirt on it. She on the other hand, just gets her groove on and keeps walking, no offer of a canister or anything.
Two things here. I don’t get angry often, but 1. You’re wearing kit, so my assumption is that you at LEAST know what you’re doing on a ride hence why I continued to ride towards her. 2. GET OFF THE F’N TRAIL till its clear to get back on. I’m not exactly the kind of person that’s hard to miss, but you saw me coming. MOVE!
Anyway, I can’t seal it back up after Mr. Ma and I try to get it seated using his pump, and I jog it in. I seem to seat the tire on the way back out, but B. Cox hands me what would end up being a 2nd lap lifesaver.
I head back out on lap 2, and my front tire just seems to get squishy, I stop, check, fill with the CO2, and continue on. I repeat this till Chewbacca, where I’m hoping to get to the Solo pits and clean out my tires. I’m convinced there’s dirt in between the bead and the rim thats not letting me seal up.
Chewbacca’s down gets a bit squirrlz near the end with my tire getting super soft, and I’m just about through when we head into the steep step down and steep downhill into the final stretch.
Fucking hiker, half on the trail, he stands there wanting me to go around him. Front tire hisses again, back tire pops off after trying to skid around him. I save it but at the expense of a pedal gashing my leg open. There was blood, a good amount of bright red oxygen rich blood.
I manage to run my bike back to the pit. Sit down and contemplate my day. Its only about 2 hours in, I’ve managed to do 2 laps. What the hell is going on. I take the tires off the bike, add a shot of Stans to both, clean the tire beads off, clean off the rim, pump to about 50psi, turn and shake the wheels, and get everything seated up.
I then try to clean off my leg. Not happening. Hurts like a bitch to touch… Its now 3.5 hours in, and I have 2 laps to my name. Good times. I also notice that my HRM hasn’t recorded any data for the last hour.
The frustration sets in and I start to consider packing it up…
Then out of nowhere I get up, get on my bike, and just continue on. Donno what it was, but I was like “well I didn’t fucking come here to sit around”. So I didn’t.
Back into Exit Wound, I go down again in the soft stuff. Just don’t care anymore, get back up, keep riding.
The next 6 laps were a combination of being overly skittish on things, burning way to much energy white knuckling everything, being way too uptight about my tires holding on downs. Not paying attention to hydration and food, and just generally being a terrible mountain biker. The bangs and bruises started to add up over the day and I could start to feel it everywhere. I was going to call it on lap 7 and just go to the med tent. But I couldn’t find it through the blind rage I was feeling, so I just went out for lap 8.
Honestly, I could have probably did lap 9 if you held my feet to the fire, but I was spent.
Ironically, my fastest Exit Wound run was on my last lap.
…. funny thing thought, my seat was creaking like mad for the first 2 laps. Seems that all I needed to do was offer a blood sacrifice for it to shut up.
Post ride beers and war stories. I hear Riot has broken ribs. There was lots of blood and tears to go around on Saturday, but all of us soldiered on.
Mansfield gets harder every year, they’ll add something to it that will throw you off, and they’re not afraid to call you out when you whine about that climb either.
Anyway, continuing my march towards Solstice 24… this showed me I need to work on stuff. Coach took a look at it, and there’s no rest after this. He’s going wide open throttle till Solstice. It will only hurt more and more till its over.
Then I swear to god I’m just doing team races for the rest of the year. This solo shit is for the birds man…. well till I go back to #Pueblo.
…. fucking green shirt guy.