Oleta was as predicted, bloody and loaded with fast locals. In my class there were only two locals who were able to place ahead of me but they cleaned up in most of the other classes. Original Ellsrider and Idster had 5 -6 place in front of them, and this pushed them down into the #12 and #16 finish. Idster beat out Original Ellsrider by approximately 40 seconds, beating my time by 3.40. I closed the gap by over three minutes but still have a ways to go before I can bring shame upon them and their families. The shame that would fall on them for allowing an old man to beat them in a bicycle riding contest. It was a clean race for me as I only had one problem with my chain falling off during the second lap. I was fatigued and worked as I came up to a 2 ft. high ledge. As I approached it I didn't pull up on the handle bars high enough and my front tire jammed into the side of the ledge while I was shifting at the same time and the chain dropped. A pretty small incident that only cost me 20 seconds, which did not matter in how I finished. Idster and Original Ellsrider both went down hard during their race. The Idster went down hard several times over the weekend. Conventional wisdom is saying that his bike is not suited for 90% of this FSC race single track that we are experiencing. During our pre - ride laps on Saturday he went down on a corner after he hooked a tree root and disjointed his little finger. During the race he went down and as he broke his fall with his hand, he may have broke his thumb. He still finished the race, riding the last 2 miles with one hand. A good performance to do as well as he did. The Original Ellsrider fell during lap one. He was trying an aggressive pass on the inside of a left turn. As he took the turn he slid out and then jammed his front tire, sending him over the handlebars. He landed on his chest on top of a cypress tree root stump. He hit hard 2 inches below his collarbone which he broke 18 months ago. Then as he bounced his chest off the tree root stump thing that cypress trees do, the stump thing popped him under his jaw, giving him what felt like an uppercut to the jaw. He says he got up and stood there in a daze for at least 30 seconds before he could even begin to think what had happened. He says he was passed by at least ten riders and then decided to to keep racing. He finished strong. posting a second lap much faster han his first lap time. Me , myself, the Ellsrider had a good race but I was surprised that I ran out of gas on the second lap. The course was not very tiring. I felt that the course actually held you back from riding as strong as you are capable. It was a course filled with lots and lots of sweeping turns, tree roots, 18" - 24" ledges that you rode up and jumped off of, but the most challenging aspect of Oleta is the rocks. Unbelievable loose rocks. It isn't anything like gravel or even crushed stone that is sometimes put on trails to help the pack. These rocks were like jagged edged round golfballs all the way up to softball sized jagged tire rippers. And they were everywhere. Half the course had a nice hardpack but at least half had the loose rocks that kept you 100% focused or you were going down. Even on the straight aways you had to be aware of the larger sized baby-heads but especially in the turns, it was like the earth was shifting under your bike, as these rocks rolled under your tires. A lot of flat tires and bloody hands elbows and knees. The course demanded constant attention and it kept you from opening it up and taking chances with extra speed because you were so afraid of falling and getting ripped to pieces. The hard pack sections of the trail were sweet. Almost every turn had a sweet berm that you could carry your speed and rip through the corner. The scenery was different also, with high grass growing along the sides of the single track and also much of the course going through a forest of Australian Pine trees. It was different. One of the nice things about doing the race series. I was thinking after the race and the results were posted that maybe I didn't have the reserve energy because the Original Ellsrider conspired to keep me and the Idster down. He booked a hotel suite for us which ahd two separate rooms. We were thinking that it wasgoing to be two rooms separated by an interior door but it turned out to be two rooms, one bed and a pull out sofa sleeper. well Original Ellsrider brought his wifey with him, so he took the bed and this left me and the Idster to share a sleeper sofa
. It was bad enough to share a bed with a dude ( In case you were wondering, that whole gay thing and biking applies for roadies, not mountain bikers
) we separated ourselves with the different layers of sheets and blankets because I needed the assurance of no funny business from the Idster during the middle of the night. As bad as that was, sleeping on a terrible bed, the Original Ellsrider closed the bedroom door. Now in a hotel with the window/ wall ac units if you close the door there is no air or circulation in the other room where we were . Needless to say it was not the most restful sleep before a race. I finished in 13'th place. One good thing for me is that the other racers that are behind me in the standings fell way back as alot of local miami racers finished between me and them giving me a nice 10 - 15 point boost separation in the standings. It will take a DNF from me fro anyone to move from behind and pass me in points. I can rest easy knowing I have solidified ny original goal of a top ten finish and can now focus on moving up and getting 8 -9 place. The bike performed well. I was grateful to have the new front Fox fork. It was so soft that I really did not notice the roots at all. The Idster made a mistake in my opinion, running his big hit bike way too stiff. The next race is at Santos. Checking last years numbers it looks like they run a short and fast course. I need to work on my endurance and close the gap on the foos that I ride with. At the start of the race it was pandemonium. My prior race experience assured me a front line start. It was our biggest line up, 37 racers, 2 -3 lines deep. The first 100 yards were breathtaking, actually all starts at these races are breathtaking, I 'm serious about the breathtaking part, because after the start it takes about 1.5 miles to get me breathing back to normal range. The gun goes off and everyone pushes and lunges forward and gets the cranks spinning. You can hear chains slipping and gears grinding as some poor saps aren't dialed in properly. Bodies are literally bouncing from side to side as the racers in the rows behind you push forward to get ahead of you. You can see and feel their front tires as they come up between you and the riders next to you. I' m gripping my handle bars anticipating somebody making a mistake and getting their spokes caught up in my pedals or the rider next to you falling down, just being as ready for a big crash as you can possibly be. All this while you keep cranking and positioning yourself for a right hand turn. During the turn the riders behind you make an even harder push to try and get in front of you. And then things begin to stretch out, but you have to keep cranking at maximum speed to be in the front ten as you hit the singletrack and thats where the inevitable jam ups begin. Fortunately for me I made it onto the singletrack with minor jammage and no time lost. I posted a fair first lap but lost my strength on lap 2 and fell back 1.5 -2 minutes from the riders I finished with at Alafia. I did manage to beat out the # 6 -7 rider as he came in behind me.