Interesting night. I decided that tonight I would go off the front. No more sitting in the back, taking whatever line was left for me, hoping to eat up stragglers. Off like a nervous, stupid rocket, I wailed away in 4th/5th place for most of the first lap. I was doing it, although not quite sure how, but definitely doing it. Very good.
We reach a 180 degree turn around on a fire road, and I cut it very sharp to the inside. Too sharp. My front wheel catches, my handlebars spin, and I go straight down onto my head. Didn’t even have time to get my hands off the brakes. Easily the hardest direct-hit to the head I’ve taken on a bike. I look up immediately, because I know riders are directly behind me and I’m about to get run over. Helpless, I just cringe and hope for the best, and somehow the pack makes it by. I turn my head and watch them disappear down the road. Long gone. Shit.
I get up and my bell is definitely ringing. Back on the bike, I go back into time-trial mode and change my strategy for the night. I consider pulling into the pit and just quitting. It’s only a few hundred feet away around a few corners. But I don’t feel that bad, and not wanting to create a commotion, I resolve to just hammer away for the rest of the race, hoping to pick off whoever I can. I caught a few, and ended up finishing 11th out of 18.
And amazingly, could have had 10th! I led a mountain biker around the course for over an entire lap; a rider who I passed on a climb and thought I would leave for dead. Turns out the energy he saved by sucking my wheel for the entire circuit was enough to spin him by me on the last grind of the night. So as it turns out, drafting isn’t just for road racing. Although, part of me believes he was just pissed off by being passed by a guy on 1FG. It’d probably piss me off too. So I don’t blame him.