A couple more shots from Brooksville. It sure gets cold way up there in the north.
Good sleeping weather though, as long as you have a good bag.
Next race was in Brighton, Florida. It's up on the northwest side of Lake Okeechobee. This is one of the closest races to Key West, only a 6 hour drive!
Neither Brent nor Ivor could make this race so I was on my own. I got to the property around 10pm and set up my tent and went to sleep.
In the morning I got a coffee, signed up for the race, and had a pancake breakfast provided by a local Boy Scout troop.
I did my practice lap and was pretty happy. The course was real fun. Some tight woods as always, but some open fields and mud holes made it interesting.
There also wasn't much soft sand, which I was happy about, although I was getting more confident in those sections and throttling through much better than my first race. I'm figuring out that confidence is a big part of racing.
Beginners race on saturday in the very last row. Junior A riders start in the first row, meaning they will usually start lapping slower riders (me) in the second or third lap. These are 13-16 year olds and they have absolutely no fear. They probably started riding as soon as they could walk and it shows.
Seeing them fly through the woods is a little demoralizing but also a good learning experience if you can stay behind them long enough to watch how they ride.
As I was getting ready to race, a guy walked over and introduced himself as Mel and said he noticed I was alone and wondered if I needed someone to hold my bike at the start. This is an example of the spirit of FTR and most likely with races everywhere. People with a common interest and love for riding, competitive but all about fun. It is common to see riders stop and help a fallen rider during the race, make sure they're ok, pull the bike out of the bush, etc.
Mel must have given me some good luck because my bike fired up on the first kick and I was off, my best start yet. As I got to the first turn there was only one rider ahead of me. Nearly got the holeshot, I was stoked!
Fortunately, there was a photographer there to capture the glorious moment.
The glory was short-lived, however. After the first couple of turns there was a big mud hole and I did not choose a good line through it and lost a couple of spots. Another lesson learned. (Glenn Gardner photos)
Overall it was a good race for me. I was in the top 5 for most of the race until the last lap. This was my first time completing 3 laps and the fatigue set in towards the end. I heard some faster riders approaching so I pulled to the side to let them pass. When I did I got in a bad spot and the bike stalled and didn't want to start. I was hot and out of breath so I rested a minute and drank some water. My heart sank as a couple of beginners passed by.
I ended up finishing 9th again but this time there were 20 in my line, so not too bad. I did really well until I got so tired, and had a lot of fun. I was definitely improving with each race. Damn this racing stuff is awesome!