Tuesday, October 4, 2011

29er and Holding…

29er and Holding…uh, I mean Rolling

Tbone is 29er and Rolling!
Clouds hung low like a shroud, while light rain fell.  Foreshadowing perhaps? After all, I had never ridden more than 10 miles of single track at one time, let alone race for 14.  My old roadie days, my old roadie ways wouldn’t help me today.  The trail didn’t care that I completed 4 century’s while 29.  The trail didn’t care that I averaged a blistering 27 mph in a crit, while I was 29.  The trail didn’t care that I was closer to 49 than 29.  The trail only cared about beating me…me and my 29er.
Those 29 inch wheels, responsive handling, plush full suspension, would they keep me rolling?  Would they help me beat the trail?  The trail was well equipped too…narrow single track, steep climbs, rocky descents, roots the size of logs, and logs the size of trees, twists and turns, and oh yeah, rain.

Me and My Son after the race

Sure the rain stopped by race time and the trail was in pretty good shape, but it was just a year earlier that a wet log, barely the height of a curb sent me endo, the trail punctuating my fall with a broken rib.  Sure I could tell myself that I’m 29 and holding, but who was I kidding?  I am just a year from 49…a far piece from 29.
But I had a pair of 29’s under me.  I was ready, it was time for my first ever mountain bike race.  I didn’t care where I finished.  I only cared about beating one guy with the initials D.N.F.  I only cared about beating the trail.

The starter said go and I was off...rolling on my 29er.  I respected the trail and didn’t go out too fast.  The trail started trash talking and sent a rider ahead of me to the ground.  I kept my mouth shut.  Soon the trail threw another racer a curve, but not me…I kept rolling, rolling on my 29er.

Aaron took 1st Place in his division
I wasn't last in mine!
I’m happy to report that I was 29 and rolling…those big wheels rolled over a tricky log and allowed me to pass another racer.  I passed a few others, I wasn’t last!  Me and my 29er were still in one piece.  I beat the trail.  Sure the time beside my name was a larger number than my 17 year-old son’s and several folks nearly 10 years my senior, but at least there was a number…DNF did not appear next to my name that day...nope, I was 29ers and rolling!

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