I had intended to do some mellow, long rides over the weekend, but ended up joining Zimmerman and Sweeney for an elite four person team. This style of endurance event was new to me, as was the course, but these guys have the right attitude and I wasn't worried.
Jeff took the first 5.25 lap and blazed off in the humidity. I suited up, did a couple of laps in the parking lot, grabbed some water, went to do a final warmup in the lot...and missed Jeff coming through the exchange. According to Dave, Jeff's face was priceless as he exclaimed, "I'm cooked" and headed out for another fast lap. A rather inauspicious start to my team endurance career, but they didn't razz me too badly. Knowing these guys, that will come later.
I was lucky enough to join two tents full of racers: teachers, bike shop owners, engineers, and Internet Ebay magnates. Due to the heat, I drank about four gallons of Heed, and spent a lot of the day blinking the stinging sweat out of my eyes. Do a lap, wait 50 minutes, lap, and repeat. The first five minutes of every lap was misery and then the rest was fast, swooping singletrack bliss. The tent scene was great; everyone has a nickname and no one got by without some form of harassment and/or encouragement.
We ended up winning the elite category and won back our race entry plus...ten dollars! There was only one other elite team and the race was pretty much decided in the first few laps. Overall, it was a great, ultra laid-back atmosphere. Brent Walk's crew has it together and puts on a good event with the best prizes I've seen-cool bags, umbrellas, and other durable, practical goods.
I did just under three hours of hard riding and followed it up with a 11 mile recovery ride yesterday. Now it's a new cassette to go with the chain and XTR Shadow. Thanks Lonesomemountain.com! Bring on Lumberjack! I'm ready to suffer.