Yesterday was the Three Legged Dawg XC event at Burns Park, right over in NLR. This is the only race I actually get to sleep in my own bed and sleep late. Nice.
3LD is known for being one of the hottest, roughest races in Arkansas, and this year was no exception. The Cat 1 field didn't actually get launched until around 11a.m, and I remember standing at the staging area, b.s.'ing with a few other racers and thinking " wow, its really hot, and I'm not even working yet".
I had no desire to lead this race from the get-go. Its a long XC race, dehydration always happens in 100 degree weather, and the third lap always ends up being a woozy-headed suffer-fest. I was going to avoid that this year.
As soon as we dove into the single-track, I knew that being 4th or 5th in line was a bad idea. I am still blowing dust boogers, and I think I have a rare case of brown-lung. The new trails were incredibly dusty with lots of rocks strewn about for good measure.
A few guys were really pounding away at the beginning of the race, and I didn't want anything to do with it, but I was kinda stuck in the middle of the pack. I raced on faith today(no computer), so I don't know any details:HR, speed, distance, that type stuff. Roughly 6-8 miles in, I lost my front tire on a loose section, and slid out.Nothing bad. Zane Jeffers with Bell & Co. proceeded to pass me at this point. (Congrats on an awesome race) This didn't help my mojo much, but it did allow me to start racing at my own pace for the day.
I rode by myself pretty much all day. I rode conservatively and well paced. I was in third place, and I was hoping to catch the guys in front on the third lap. Somewhere near the end of the second lap, I caught the guy that beat me at Hobb's 2 week's ago when I had a gnarly crash. Nice, the plan is working. Now to just keep plugging along and make up ground on Zane. The heat was starting to take a toll on me, and I decided to just keep pacing. I still had a long day in the saddle coming up Monday.
Well, my plan never came to fruition. I rode well, and I'm happy with my performance at the race, but I never quite caught back up to Zane. About a mile from the end of the course, another racer started closing in on me. The last mile or so of the course is the roughest of the rough areas at Burns, and I was getting bounced and bobbled around on my hard-tail quite badly by this point in the day. He started getting closer, able to pedal through the rocky sections on a full-sus 29'er, but once it smoothed out, I floored it all the way to the finish and held on to second place.
Time for BBQ and Beers.
Oh, and if you are wondering about the socks..... my legs were a bit sore from a hard week of training, so I donned some Swiftwick 12" compression socks and rocked out. They really help keep your calves from shaking and getting sore when you have to stand on descents and techy areas.