By Rich Dillen
In my opinion, there are two types of stage racers; those who race for fun and those who race for victory. I thought I could be the latter, but after three days of hard racing I can honestly say I prefer to be the former. I played it pro-style for three days focusing all my efforts on success. I ate, slept, cleaned and maintained my equipment, ate some more, slept some more, and laid awake at night thinking about the next day. The cumulative effect of my efforts was a stage win on the third day of racing, taking the overall lead in the single speed class, and the overwhelming realization that I took time off work to do something that is much harder than my real job.
I was down by more than four minutes, but I decided to attack on the climbs and see if I could close the gap down. I knew day four was not gonna play out in my favor, so it was now or never. I don’t know if I’ve ever put so much effort into one day of riding, and with a flat in the final mile of riding, it was about as much drama as I needed to make the victory all that much sweeter.
That night I was shelled. I crashed out on a yoga matt on the porch of the Eagle Lodge farting and moaning. It was a rough night, and the next day at Raystown Lake I had nothing in me for the punchy climbs. Not only did I lose my overall lead, I lost it big time. The best part of the day was realizing that there is no pain and suffering on a bike that can’t be cured with an ice cold Budweiser.
I’m gonna make the most of the rest of the week. We’ve got some great trails to look forward to, and maybe if I can get my shit together I’ll chase down another stage win… or not.
More from TSE: Read all our racers’ exclusive dispatches from the race.