While the fat bike birkie is the reason to go to Hayward last weekend it really isn’t. I mean, it’s going on but it’s not the real reason I go up there. I guess I just don’t need a reason. I got up there on Friday at noon and headed to the Birkie offices in Hayward to do a podcast for them. Ben Welnek does a podcast called Mountain Bike Radio and he has since moved to Hayward (lucky!). So I stopped in to do that as soon as I got in town.
After the interview I headed to the Birkie start area to get in a pre ride. It was not long after hitting the trail that it was apparent this was going to be a special year. The trail was just perfect.
Just look at that. This was by far the best conditions this race has had in its six year history. I had 15 pounds of air in the tires. Look at the rear and you can see what little was contacting the snow. It was for all practical purposes a highway. Or as we like to call it now “white asphalt”.
Which was great as I was not putting much faith in my fitness and was going to just go out and ride. And that’s what I did. And I had a great time. It was a blast. And I did not do as bad as I thought. I came in 159th last year and just ten spots later this year. I was so worried about doing so bad to the point of getting embarrassed. I had nothing to worry about. I was able to strike up many conversations during the race. I love doing that. I was doing my patented “blast down the hills to get over halfway up the other side” moves. I was passing rides on the bottom of the hills going 20 mph faster than they were. i apologise to anyone if I scared them. Then, they all passed me back before the top of the next hill only to bomb passed them again down the next hill. I did this to some riders maybe 6 or 7 times before they either they or I pulled away. I did notice timing strips across the course at several spots. I have not check yet but I would be curious to see where I lost\gained the most spots.
One thing I noticed is last year I finished 55 minutes behind the winner and this year it was only 24 minutes. Most likely the fast snow helped me.
I walked two hills. One I was just exhausted and the other I missed a shift and had to get off as I didn’t want to break a chain. Its crazy how many broken chains one sees on this race. The sun was out. It was in the 20’s for temps. Perfect. This was payback for the terrible weather last year.
I finished up the race, watched a few friends hit up the podium and then, as planned, hit up some trails. I plan on trail riding after the race every year but this was the first year I got to do it. I was proud of myself to be able to save a little from the race to ride a little more.
So in closing the race was amazing. This was the only race I registered for last year and most likely this year. And I have every intention of registering for it next year. I guess I have to since I need to keep the string going of doing every one to date.
Next I’ll talk about the rest of the weekend.