Sunday, 30 September 2012


The very last race this year, and my very first Did Not Finish. It's been a couple of years since the last Tamarancho Dirt Classic. I was happy to see it make a return in 2012 and stick to the same format - a  couple of flowey, technical loops in and around our favourite night time haunt mixed with some brutal fireroad climbing. The first time I did the 'Classic I blew up. My heat rate was jacked and I felt terrible. I was hoping this year's race would be a chance to put that to bed and do a decent ride. I'm not exactly in race shape at the moment (a few short weeks of injury mixed with beer and chocolate biscuits soon got me back to my normal podge.) But I felt strong enough to have a decent crack at it.

We started at the boyscout camp and climbed the short ascent to the top of Serpentine. From there, it was the usual 'Rancho loop (but in reverse) until we hit Broken Dam. Then, a switch to fireroad and the dreaded Dead Heifer climb. As expected, as soon as we all hit singletrack there were the usual bottlenecks. Plus I ended up behind riders who were a little too slow to fully let rip, but not quite slow enough to blast past when opportunity arose. So I spent the first part of the race riding my brakes more than I'd like, but still enjoying the flowey goodness. Dead Heifer was hideous. Even worse than I remember. I felt grateful that the course had changed slightly so we only had to climb the fucking thing twice (as CAT 2 racers.) Not that it really mattered. Unbeknownst to me, my day was rapidly coming to a close.

After we crested 'Heifer, dripping and beaten, we dropped back into the 'Rancho loop via the B-17 extension trail. Excited to be descending again, I misjudged a tree's proximity. Clipping my bars just enough to send me flying, face first, into the dirt and the poor Nomad into the ravine below. After huffing and puffing the bike free I realised the derailleur cable had snapped and I was stuck in the top gear. Ak. My day was done. Deflated, I coasted back to the finish line, grabbed an overpriced burrito and relaxed in the shade until the other fellas finished.

Ah well. It's been a great race season. I can't complain. And I'm glad I hurt the bike and not me. A quick trip to Big Swingin' Cycles and the Nomad is ready to hit dirt again. As am I. Next week we journey to Northstar for the closing weekend. Another finale for the MTB year.... Then it's just a few months of muddy mayhem before we do it all again!

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