Getting ready for the upcoming XTERRA Whitewater race, I have been super-busy and super-sidetracked (in classic Marcus fashion). So this race report is kind of old, but still not stale as moldy bread (or some snacks under my truck seat).
Race: XTERRA East Championships
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Date: June 12, 2011
Distances: 1000m swim, 32k mtb bike 10k run
Result: 4th place in division, 25th overall amateur
Key lesson learned in this race (or rather reinforced, as I already knew it): Don’t change anything just before race day. Allow me to explain.
Dan and I had driven up to Richmond the week prior to the race to spend a little time on the course. It was a great, dry pre-ride and we had a TON of fun. Actually, things were a little TOO dry. If you read my previous race report from Alabama, you’ll recall that I had a flat on the preride and picked up a Maxxis Aspen to replace my Ikon. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was all the bike shop had in stock. The Aspen would have made a good front tire for Pelham, but it did so-so on the rear. In Richmond, it proved to be even less of a good choice for the rear. Most of the trails in Richmond were very hard, hard-pack. We’re talking concrete-like in some spots. Take that smooth surface and throw in a light dusting of sand, and you have a surface that would require a little more of a contact patch than what the Aspen was providing. Every turn, my rear would slide around.
On the eve of the race, around dinner-time, it started pouring rain and I immediately started thinking about my tires.
Throughout the rest of the evening, I debated whether I should change the Aspen and put on an Ikon that Dan had as a spare. It was a used tire, but not anymore so than the Aspen I had on there. Since the Ikon we had was a non-UST tire, it can be quite a chore to get the bead seated and the tire sealed without using a compressor. Heck, it can be quite a chore WITH a compressor. All we had was a hand pump. I finally decided to give it a shot by taking it to a local gas station and using the pay-as-you-go compressor. This was a big mistake. Anyone that has used one of those pieces-o-junk knows that you stick a quarter or two (or in our case 6) to get the machine to turn on. Once on, you have limited time to get the chore done before you have to stick in more quarters. The other problem with these things are they don’t actually have a tank. This means that there’s just a little piston in there creating air flow, but without any real stored-up pressure. It’s an air pump, not a compressor. Needless to say that after trying two different pumps at different gas stations, I still had an un-inflated tire.
I decided that we need real air. The compressed kind. We needed a REAL service station, not a convenient mart. So where do you go for REAL service (i.e. the mechanical kind) that you can pretty much guarantee will have a REAL compressor at 9pm? A truck stop. The problem was, XTERRA East Championships is called an urban XTERRA for a reason. It’s held in downtown Richmond. Where are you going to find a truck stop in downtown Richmond? You’re not. So we ended up driving almost 40 minutes in one direction to the nearest truck stop. The guys at the truck stop got quite a few chuckles as I stood there with a bicycle tire looking for air. They were gracious enough to point me to the compressor hose and told me to help myself. Long story short, within just a few minutes there, I had an inflated tire.