Racing and Getting Flats

This weekend I to Northstar-At-Tahoe for the Pro GRT race held there. I arrived Thursday evening and camped nearby with my friends Louis and Noah. We got up at 6 the next morning to register and practice. The racecourse was on “Boondocks,” a rocky, technical and fun trail. First run I figured out some lines and went down the trail carefully.  On the second run Noah got the first flat of the weekend. At the shop we bought a new tube and they gave Noah an old DH tire off of a rental bike. After a few more practice runs we went down “Livewire,” which is the jump trail on the mountain. It was extremely fun with lots of big jumps, but towards the end of the trail I got the second flat of the weekend. Now that the Cat 2 and 3 Pro GRT practice was over, we checked out the chairlift on the other side of the mountain to explore new trails. On the first run down the new trail, Noah got the third flat, and replaced his other tire with a DH one.

On race day Noah and I took a final practice run. I clipped in for this run, I felt good about the course and was ready to race. My start time was 10:28AM and I was among the first 30 riders to drop in. At the beginning of my race run I was feeling good and fast. About halfway down the course was an uphill section, and I became very winded. I did not pedal as fast as I did in practice and so was not able to fully clear a rock garden that I was gapping. I came up short, hit a rock with my rear tire, and got the fourth flat of the weekend. At that point I thought about not finishing, but remembered my goal that I would never DNF a race if it was possible make it down a course. So I kept going, very slowly, I was passed by two riders, but I finished to a cheering crowd with a time of 6 minutes, 20 seconds. Even though I was a 1:40 behind first place, I was stoked that I finished. After I replaced my tube, we continued to ride the trails of Northstar the rest of the day. I learned to throw some big whips down “Livewire”. Now I can’t wait to return to Northstar as soon as I can, this time with lots of spare tubes, tires and other parts.

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