I'm pretty sure every report on this race will start like this...So, I woke up to rain and snow at about 7000' and figured this was going to be messy. I was already loaded and just needed to wait for Adam to get out of bed, load the bikes and go. Our scheduled departure time was 6:30. I figured I'd get calls and I was not wrong. Jared called wanting to know if I thought the race was going to be cancelled. I told him what I tell everyone who ask such questions about weather related concerns on race day. "Jared, Ed won't call a race unless the property owners say it's too damaging or there's inherent danger, like lightening! I'm sure the race is on. After a another call I called Ed just to confirm everthing was a go and it was of course.
By the time we got to the course the rain was very light and the conditions seemed to improve continually up until and throughout the race. I pre-rode the 12 and under loop just to see how things were and the climbs were fine, there were some puddles on the flat sections of single track, but overall the course was pretty good. I was more concerned with the cold and being able to start strong. This was apparently a valid worry as we took off Reed of course lead out and put a nice gap on the field. As I struggled to find a pace up the dirt most of the field caught and passed me. I recovered a bit on the first single track leading to Little Stick and picked off one or two riders on the steep climb before the top. Once on the single track I was held in check by a line of other sport riders and really couldn't do much but hold on and wait for the bottom to make a move before the town trail. I caught a couple more riders and by the time we approached the gatehouse to do the new Gap Hill section I was in fifth. Jim Harper was still with me though and stayed relatively close up the switchbacks. We started to downhill and after a few turns I could tell something was wrong. I looked down and noticed my left crank arm was loose and after another turn it was off, dangling from my cleat. "#(%#@" I hate mechanicals. After the flat and DNF at Draper I was upset that I might be out again. We got back to the gatehouse. I had to let Jim go by, he was closing the gap quick and I was just hoping I could pull away on the next climb, but it was not to be. I pulled out my tools, fruitlessly as I didn't have a allen wrench large enough to deal with the problem. I put the crank in my pocket and started one leg isolations down the hill. I was doing ok, with gravity helping out, but I had given up all the spots I gained and was likely to give up more. I pushed the right leg isos up the parking lot road and got to the start/finish. Bill and Brad were there and I "requested", nicely I hope, that Bill give me his bike.
We franticlly started trying to swap pedals and bill lowered the seat a bit but we didn't have what we needed to make the pedal swap so I left without the ability to clip into his SPDs. I climbed pretty well and felt strong despite not being connected to the bike, Bill's Paragon wasn't much different in feel from mine, so I didn't have that to deal with, but the no clip thing was problematic. I caught one rider from my category but that was all I was going to catch, the downhill was tricky without full control of the bike and I just worked as hard as I could to make it down without a crash. Overall I finsihed 13 out of 15. I think I would have had 5 for sure and maybe 4th if I made some time on the parking lot and second trip up little stick.
Lessons for the day? #1. Don't be afraid of the weather, it might just be to your advantage (not so for me this time, but it really wasn't as bad as it appeared it was going to be). #2. Never switch bikes on race day without checking everything out completely. I've made two very rookie mistakes this year (not running the tubless at Draper (or taking tube and air) and not checking my gear pre-race at Deer Valley). My Goal for the remainder of the season, Don't be a rookie!