I have heard about these events for a couple of years and was excited that it was going to be in my neighborhood. I knew it was all about having a good time, plus it was going to fit right into my 'offseason' between spring and cyclocross. I figured I'd go and ride a funky bike and party it up. Then I got a sinus infection and screwed up all of July, moved my schedule around a bit training wise and am beginning to feel antsy to race hard. Still, ten days ago my plan was to ride the Pugnago in a Raoul Duke costume and just take it totally easy. Then as the time approached a few people on my facebook kept posting stuff about thow they were excited for the race aspect of this thing and had been training. I looked at my already SS Flash (that has been SS all month in preparation of SSCX) and couldn't make my mind up about what to do. Never got the costume organized, eventually wound up waffling between riding that bike and my drop bar, rigid, 26" marin (which is also my SSCX bike). The morning of the event I had two bikes in my truck with two totally different attitudes to go with them. I know I was overthinking things!
At the venue I hopped on the 26" bike and the rear tire went flat. Decided that was the bike god's way of telling me to step up and race. It was a blur of talking to friends and some foes at the start line and then we were off on way too long of a run to our bikes. I was second into the singletrack with no one in sight in either direction. Eventually one rider would run past me on the way up the bluff for the first time which would put my alone in third where I would sit alone for quite a while. It isn't clear who actually "won" the XC race portion of this thing, but it is clear who deserved to win and that was Jesse L. He was the first rider into the singletrack and he was gone. That said, I believe both he and the other rider who had gotten a bit ahead of me early (although never more than 30 seconds up) made wrong turns at some point. A group of 5 very strong riders caught up to me and I rode with them as people split off forward and back based on the strengths of the gearing etc.. My gear was steep in the new singletrack but I was having a great time riding. Then about 2/3 of the way through the 35 miles I just wasn't anymore. I got a little bit hot, it got a little too hilly for my 40x20, my friends sitting around drinking beer at the aid stations trying to hand me beer all got too enticing. Mentally I just wanted to relax and have a good time and so I did. I wish I could have stayed longer and gone out on the town, but my dog was home alone and I had to go before I could no longer drive.
It was a good day. However, the overall, curated?, vibe of what I saw of this thing was something I just can't get my mind or my words totally around. I'll just leave it at that.