Miner's Revenge

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Miner's Revenge

"Sweet, a bike race through a mine! I'm gonna sign up for four laps so I can go through the mine as many times as I can!"

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thought this.  I am, however, one of the few who kept thinking this even after riding the course.  You know, the course with the killer climb up the ski hill and the crazy technical decents that sent pretty much everybody over the bars at least once.  

So anyway, I got down there Saturday afternoon for the preride (more laps through the mine!) and festivities (beer!). I was sort of winging it on the light front. I was hemming and hawing over a couple of cheap LED lights The Bike Shop had- Steve and Caleb said they'd be good enough for the underground section of the course and make a pretty good light for night skiing later on.  By process of reverse logic, I figured that the headlamp that I was currently using for night skiing and I considered as "pretty good" would therefore be suitable for the mine section. Twenty or thirty zip ties later and I was ready to do the preride.  I initially left the zip ties uncut just to be weird (better mind ray reception, man)- but on the first lap they proved to be functional as they'd scrape the rood the mine before anything more substantial hit.   There was one rather low spot that required getting off the bicycle.  

After a couple laps through the mine and over some of the more technical features of the trail, I decided it was time to get on with the evenings festivities. At about 1AM, I decided enough was enough and hit the sack.  The diehards apparently kept going until about 5AM.  I was up at 6:30.  

The race organizers had some pretty good coffee ready around 7:30 and I spent the morning discussing my race strategy with my fellow competitors: Lose with as much dignity as I can muster and free from serious injury. It was also readily apparent that pretty much everybody was bailing for the easier two lap option.  I decided that completing the four lap version would keep a couple shreds of dignity intact as long as I could finish it.  Now I just had to avoid seriously maiming myself.  

My worst suspicious were confirmed when I lined up at the start of the four lap race and looked around at a small pack of some very fierce competition.  They'd all be in front of me in no time. What worried me most was the pack of two lappers who'd be starting 5 minutes behind me. A combination of crazy people, fast people, and crazy fast people in that crowd meant I'd be spending a good portion of my second lap surrounded by a lot of encouragment to ride over my head. 

We rolled off the starting line and I kept it jovial with anybody who cared to hang back with me.  Turns out, there was a guy doing four laps of this madness as his first mountain bike race ever.  I was feeling pretty good that I had one better than DFL wrapped up for myself. 

I managed to make it through the race with only a minor incident when I brushed a wall in an old foundation after making a sharp right through a doorway. Nothing serious, but there was enough blood to leave the folks at the aid station concerned.  For the most part, I kept it reigned in to avoid crashing and as a result, never really got cranked up into race mode.  I probably could have kept going another couple laps before I really started getting tired.  Or at least that's what I tell people.  Still managed to come in two places ahead of DFL. Bob was nice enough to try to do four laps on a single speed and as a result, finished about 5 minutes behind me.  Technically, I was pretty much single speeding most of the course in 22-34 anyway. 

And yes, it goes without saying that riding a bike through a mine is just damn cool.  With various prerides, I must've done 10 laps through it.  My light was barely adequate, but the mine portion of the course was pretty easy compared to the rest of the course anyway.  


Pictures by Chris
Pictures and video by Josh & Nancy    

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