Race report: First Blood In Cross

My dad woke me up at 5:58, and I knew I was in for a long day.  I ate a quick breakfast and went to my room to change into my Half Acre kit.  I got my stuff on, ate a banana, and we left.  When we arrived, it was really foggy and wet, and the Flatlandia guys were still setting up the course.  We went into the forest and did the first singletrack section of the course.  We headed back, and they already had started the pre-ride.  We merged into the back as they did the twisty stuff through the grass.  We went through the course, and got back.  My dad went to the car to get me a pair of glasses to wear.  They told us that we can either go 30, 45, or 60 minutes.  I told my dad as he was coming back from the car that I would probably go 30, or push it to 45.  Then, they just said "ready, set, go!" really fast.

I just got on, and Dad asked, "Was that the start?!?!"  I answered "yes," and we started dead last.  We pedaled around a pavilion in the wet grass, went through the twisty section, and headed into a meadow before entering the woods.  In the woods, I went through my first dismount and scratched my leg with my pedal.  Thankfully, there was no blood.  Yet.  I continued through the singletrack alone, considering my dad went to try to pass other guys.  I got up to a section with three dismounts in a row, and that was torture on every lap.  I had trouble carrying my bike over the logs and bashed up my leg even more.  Then, I got into the doubletrack, and I was wondering what I had gotten myself in to.  I went into the section off to the side where you go down fast twice, turn a tight, muddy corner, and climb up a steep, rocky hill. I tried to run up the hill off of my bike, but it was to slippery, and I started slipping.  Some guy watching helped me up the hill, and I pressed on.  I pedaled on to the finish line, and started lap two.

I began to get lapped by Ben Popper and some other guys, and I wondered, Am I really this slow?   It was better than the first one, with my dismounts smoother but not even close to perfect.  I went on to lap three wondering when they will tell me when 30 minutes is over.  On the three log section, I sliced the back of my knee  on my pedal.  The blood was sticky and annoying on the back of my knee and it was starting to mix with mud.  I pedaled on through the doubletrack with my leg hurting and covered in mud and just skipped the lower section.  I wanted to leave the race, but they never said it has been a half hour and I kept on going.

I pressed through lap four cleanly, meaning no blood or injuries.  On lap five, I knew that I wasn’t doing five minute laps (not even close), so I knew that I had gone at least 30 minutes, if not 45.  My dad caught up to me right around the finish and said this would be his last lap, and I agreed.  I went through this lap quickest, and pushed through the doubletrack really hard.  On the last stretch, I heard a lot of encouragement from the guys who had already finished, and crossed the finish line with people telling me that I had gone a whole hour.

I was really tired and I knew why now.  I waited for my dad to come across, and asked him why he went another lap, and he said that they told him to.  My dad said that he had gone about 17 miles, so I went about 14.  We went to McDonald’s and I felt good about the race.

 -Jacob Thom