I got back late last night and did not get a chance to update, then had to work today.
I ended up with a 13th out of 18 riders this time around, so no trophy this time, but I still had a great time. The track was pretty tough, and some sections were downright brutal. It was wet and slippery in some places, some had both the front and rear slipping at the same time - like ice, with a few of the tougher uphill sections that had riders struggling on every lap as I came through. There were not as many DNFs as I expected, though, so most of the folks were dealing the conditions pretty well. Only 1 DNF in my class, and only 5 DNFs total for the afternoon race. Contrast to the last race at Brushy Mountain where there were 3 DNFs in my class and 22 DNFs for the afternoon overall. Personally, while the laps were shorter, I thought the conditions were tougher than Brushy, yet the attrition rate was lower. Go figure. There seemed to be about 30 fewer riders in the afternoon race this time around, so maybe the DNF'ers just didn't show up this time around.
My buddy Tarheel Wheeler joined me this time around so we rode up together. TW had a great race - came in 4th in his class out of 12, SEN C 45+ - way to go TW! 4th in class the first time out - that's awesome!
I think our results for the overall out of 150 riders were 114th for me and 87th for TW. But this was only TW's first hare scramble, so I'm sure he'll be moving up in the order as he gets a few under his belt and gets it all figured out. He's a very experienced rider and a quick learner and is experienced at other forms of racing, so I figure he'll be running closer up front soon.
TW being there did serve somewhat of a gage for the level of racing in the NCHSA, though. I'm not sure how the series stacks up to others in the region like Mideast and SETRA, but TW is a great rider and leaves me in the dust at will every time we ride, so I had little doubt he would do well. When we all go riding together, he's generally the fastest of the group, unless BC61 shows up.
But for comparison, TW finished 2nd in class at last year's SandBlast Rally with an 8th overall in that event, with some pretty darn fast riders from all over the east, even Canada I think. Comparing our times in this hare scramble, I was averaging 12.1 MPH for my 114th out of 150 (not great), TW was averaging 14.3 MPH for his 87th (good), the leaders in my class SEN C 40+ were averaging 16.8 for 24th overall (very good), and the top 10 of the overall afternoon race which is aging "B" riders + "C" class, were averaging 18+ MPH with the overall winner at just under 20 MPH at 19.36 (excellent!). But this was only TW's first hare scramble, so would expect him to improve on that, but even so, the top guys in each of the classes are finishing probably in the top 20 to 30 of the overall, those guys are really hauling the mail! So given what a great rider I know TW to be, that just puts things into perspective a little bit for me, all things considered. I know I'd have to really step it up and improve what seems like an order of magnitude to keep up with TW in the woods. And then that he would have to do that to run with the front runners. So ... dang, I'm just not sure I could ever get to that level, that would take some serious time and dedication. I'd love to get there, though.
But then consider the national level of competition, for example, in the GNCC's, and you're probably talking yet again another whole order of magnitude. The level of riding that those guys do begins to boggle my mind.
At any rate, I felt like I rode OK considering the conditions. There were a few of the greasy slick clay sections where I felt downright sketchy and I basically just nursed it through those. And I did get held up for several minutes on the next to the last lap. Someone got hurt and they held up about 8 of us while the emergency workers got the injured rider out. I'm not sure if it affected my results, but if it did, it would have only been a position or two, which likely would not have changed whether I took home a trophy anyway. Regardless, I'm not at all bothered by having to wait, I hope the injured rider is OK and the emergency crew were able to get him out faster and more safely without having to worry about other riders coming up the trail in the opposite direction.
I used a new helmet cam this time around, and the video quality is markedly improved, but it is taking forever for my computer to convert the format to something that FCE can use. I hope to get that posted soon, I may just post the whole first lap like I did with Brushy Mtn Part I which will save editing time.
All in all, it was a great day, tough course, my arms feel like I did 500 push ups yesterday. It was great carpooling up and pitting with TW - he's a helluva rider and all-round good guy. Hope we can do more of these together, maybe he can teach me his secrets.