I woke up Sunday morning with a bit of excitement flowing through my blood. Joe and I had been texting each other all night about racing the tandem and now that the day has come, it was show time!
After the Cat1/2 races, Joe and I suited up and gathered by the staging area to wait for our turn to race. While we were waiting, we quickly made new friends and even met one of our readers, Ken Choi who happen to be racing in the same category as we were. Not sure if I mentioned this, but the race organizers from SC Velo, granted us access to the race as long as we did so within the normal category that I would have participated in. That meant we’d be in the Beginner Men 27-34.
Not sure if you noticed but Joe and I are matching from head to toe. White helmet, MtnBikeRiders.com XC Jersey, Spenco Gloves, Camelback hydration packs,Serfas Hydra eyewear, black crew socks and white-ish shoes.
Prior to the race, we had a person come up to us who just raced in Cat 1-2 to ask me this question…”Do you have enough bike handling skills to do this on a tandem?” I looked at him and responded, “Psssh, dude, I’m BAD ASS!” Nuff said.
We were lucky enough to be graced with the presence of The Moe who helped out with the cheering and photographs. Check us out, were Serfas (eye wear) Triplets!
When the race officially started, Joe and I started from the back and meandered through the pack. On the flats, we were going at a pretty good clip. Then we hit the first climb then onto the first descent. I had just swapped out the brake pads the night before and this was my first opportunity to to really test them. As I applied the rear brakes to make the turn, they seem to be working, yet very anemic.
We made our way towards the first single track…ugh, what a disaster. We tried to muscle through it, but the off-camber trail kept pushing us off the trail. Eventually we had to pull off to let the other riders through then run the rest of it. There was a new set of switch backs that was cut into the hillside that we tried to go up on. Unfortunately, that too was unsuccessful, instead we hiked-a-bike it straight up. Once we got to the top, we had to go down. There was a bit of a bottleneck on the switchbacks with riders stopping. At this point, Joe jumped off the tandem, and ran down the trail to meet me on the bottom. While he waited, I put my bike handling skills to use. I rode every single portion of those switchbacks without a problem. Joe jumped back on and off we were towards another climb and a short descent in which we were met with encouraging cheers from our fans…Moe, Priscilla and Joe’s fiance, Kym and his son Jake.
Near the feed zone, Moe greeted us with more encouragement. I was hoping Priscilla would have passed me a turkey sandwich, but no dice. Joe and I made our way up the steep switch back climbs, as we were doing so, we kept giving each other pep talks to make sure we kept focused on our cadence.
One section that Joe and I had some anxiety about was the long downhill in which all the spectators will gather at to watch. At first we had thought about just letting me ride down while Joe would run down. But after tackling some technical portions of the course, we felt pretty confident in our tandem skills, so we went for it!
Now that we had completed 1 of 2 laps, we headed back out for some more. By the way, the Ergon GC3 grips were excellent in providing the extra leverage I needed to control the tandem.
Joe and I had such a blast racing the course. But I’m not going to lie, it was TOUGH! I have to give Joe some major props in being a great stoker. He kept the pep talks going and was my second set of eyes and legs on the course. I’d like to take this time to thank the folks of SC Velo for organizing a fantastic event. I also want to thank our Team Sponsors, Evomo Clothing, Ergon, Ice Toolz, VIP Energy,Dirty Dog MTB and Serfas
I do want to mention that I won the Granny Gear Race! I earned myself a cool $50! Below is the video from the race and if you watch it towards the end, you’ll see footage from the Granny Gear Race, good times!
Photo credit: Ken Choi, Robert Medina, Joe Roberto and JS3 Images.
Video Credit: MtnBikeRiders.com