Fairfax Invitational

Well here was an interesting race weekend. Tsering and I both found out about the race on Wednesday…so there was not a lot of preparation….and it showed. So we get a late start on Saturday (my fault…work, work, work.). The plan was to get to the trails with enough time to get a lap in before dark. Well, we did make it to Fairfax before dark…but not much before. We jumped on our bikes and headed off. Tsering was familiar with the area and we headed up the trail to the start/finish area. We got about half a lap in before calling it quits. As we headed back down to the car Tsering notices he has a front flat, but we get back before his tire is completely dead. It was definitely DARK when we finished. We headed into S.F. to hook up with Pete (big, BIG thanks to Pete for hooking us up with lodging last minute…those Marin guys and gals are sooooo helpful!) We roll in about 10:30 p.m. and jump on-line to get registered. The website says “registration closed!” WTF! NOOOOOOOOO! We can’t believe it….but wait! Pete quickly contacts Mark V and POOF! with a wave of the Marin magic wand we get the name of a contact to get us onto the race in the a.m. Tsering and I get a little sleep and then its up and out early. The race web page says the pro start time is 11:00…Mark says 10:00…aaaaahhhh, better get out early just in case. Pete throws Tsering a spare tube and he fixes his flat before we leave. We grab a cup of coffee and bolt. We pull into Fairfax and jump into our kits and start riding up to the start/finish. As we are climbing….Tsering gets another flat. I, being the experienced bike mechanic ask “Tsering, did you check your tire before putting in the new tube?” “No” is the reply….nuff said. He rides the flat to the start/finish (no time to dilly-dally) and we get registered and Tsering starts to work on getting the flat fixed. Many minutes later Tsering is still trying to get his tire to seat. After doing so he starts to warm up and then….psssssssssst, yes, another flat. At this point I come over and together we notice a small tack nail in his tire. We are then told that a disgruntled local citizen decided that bike racing should not be allowed in the park and to discourage the activity this individual dropped thousands of these little nails all over the course. The race promoters had swept the course with a magnet but there was no way to get them all. Tsering fixes yet another flat and gets about a 30 second warm up before the start of the race. The start was hard and fast with Mark Weir hammering the group. Tsering and I enter the single track about mid pack and work our way up towards the top five. I felt o.k. but as this was my first pro race in two years I could definitely feel my body revolting against the stress. I had two good laps…battling Chris Brown for the last of the top five spots, and then started going backwards on the last lap…finally finishing 8th. Not a great result but I was happy to be in the top ten. Did I mention Tsering got ANOTHER FLAT! Props to him for keeping a cool head and putting a smile on his face despite a very understandable DNF. The weather was great…the course was hard but really fun. The race promoters did a great job and all in all we had a great time considering all the mayhem. Looking forward to Downieville. P.S. Congradulations to Brian on his NorCal State Championship…that guy SHREDS!Cheers…Geoff.