So woke up nice and early. Ate 4 strips of tasty bacon & 3 scrambled eggs. Took some coffee with me to go (then switched to water when I got to my buddies house). All loaded up, and headed on down to Fox Valley. Had to make a pit stop on the way as I had drank a lot of water that morning already, and well, you just don't fight the body. Signed in, and I got to watch my buddy John take off in the early AM race. He was 7th or 9th off the start in his group, and I could see the dust was going to be a PITA.
It was supposed to be 95+ today and sunny. Thankfully God smiled upon us with 85 & overcast. Unfortunately he didn't give us enough rain to settle the dust, so it was what it was....LOTS of lingering dust. About 45 minutes before my race, I geared up and did a whole bunch of jumping jacks, followed by some high knee running in place.....whatever you will call it. One of them things that they made the kids in High School track do that they all complained about. Anyways, I thought my race started at 12:30, and so at 12, I rolled over to the practice loop looking to do some circles, and saw the entire starting area packed. Mild panic, roosted back to the truck and got the rest of my gear.
By the time I got to the line, I had a theoretically piss poor starting position. I was 2 guys in from all the way inside of the first turn. In standard Harescramble form, the race started just about 15 minutes behind schedule. My 2nd gear starts were feeling positive, and from what I could gather, I was in the top 5 or 6 right off the start (keep in mind, my line was ALL of the B classes). I couldn't see jack squat. The AA & A lines ahead of us just left the place a dust bowl. And in the trees, there was 0 wind, so it just lingered.
I stayed on the tail of the guy ahead of me as best I could. I kept feeling as if my front tire was washing out. I'd put brand new tires on the bike, so I thought it was odd, but was thinking that they just sucked more than I remembered the last set I had. As I kept riding, I got myself into a groove as best I could, stayed up on the pegs and tried to let the bike float beneath me. I soon realized that the tires weren't the problem, it was just that the dirt was absolutely terrible. I explained it to a buddy of mine as "flour on top of absolute hardpack". You'd think that it was loamy\sandy dirt, but it was a trick. The dirt just POOFED away as you attempted to lock in, and then as you went to put weight on the front tire for the turn, it acted like a lubricant on the hardpack beneath it. Absolute crap, but wtf you gonna do? Everyone else is riding the same stuff. Deal with it, and truck on.
Like I said, I got myself into a groove and pushed on. I didn't want to push too hard out of the gate, as I knew since it was warmer and crappier conditions, that guys would eventually start making mistakes, and getting worn out. As I went through the scoring the first time, I saw that I was in 6th in my class. I knew I could do better than that, so I slowly began inching up my pace. I found that if I kept the bike in 3rd gear instead of 2nd that I held an overall faster average speed. So I began keeping it clicked in 3rd (bless this 6 speed gear box I swapped in), and only dropped into 2nd if I absolutely had to. It worked, and I found myself pulling up into 5th position.
I soon had a guy come up behind me, who I thought that this early, must be in my class. I picked up my pace a bit and pushed on. I overshot a turn or something, and he went past, only for me to realize that the guy was in a totally different class. Not a big deal, except that when I went to get back going, shortly thereafter, I washed out my front and dropped the bike on the left hand side. I looked back, saw no one close, so I took a little extra time in getting the bike restarted. I knew if I rushed, that I'd only hurt myself (use up energy), and end up further behind. This worked, as I got the bike running and was back on my way.
All was well until the 45-60 minute mark. My body felt like it was locking up. My rear suspension literally felt like it was locked solid, and it was jack hammering the ever living piss out of my body. My kidneys felt like they were being pounded on by a baseball bat on my back. It sucked, but I knew I had to truck on and somehow some way it'd go away. Just as I passed a guy in another class, I gas it through a creek, and as soon as I get on the other side, it's like someone clamped a vice on my sides. I screamed a few choice words and sat down, attempting to keep on the throttle, as I had just passed the guy. It was like torture. As I got out of that section, and into the next, I saw the guy wasn't too close behind me, so I calmed myself down and did my best to take long deep breaths. I took another quick sip of water, and again, deep breaths. This seemed to work, and made me realize that I was holding in my breath too much. It was the only thing that made sense.
As soon as I loosened up my breathing, my pace began to pickup. My movements were getting more fluid, and I felt I was picking up my pace. I noted that there were some guys I had passed who were in my group, so by this point I knew I was in 5th place. As I went to cross the second log by the start\finish line (tall log), the bike felt like the throttle rocketed on me. All was well as I landed. I saw as I passed through scoring that I was 10 seconds behind 4th place. The hunt was on........or so I thought.
I got on the gas coming out of scoring, and as soon as I let off, it was like the bike went WFO. I figured something jiggled loose (despite my safety wired throttle cable), and began checking the cable at the carb & throttle housing. Both areas looked fine. I figured maybe I could run with it revving to the moon, just ride in a high gear, and somehow make it work. I rode for a little bit, and soon realized this was a sure fire way to get hurt, and knew at that point....it was over. 75 minutes into the 105 minute race, and my Husky failed me again.
I made it back to our truck by modulating not the clutch, but the kill switch. I was fuming, as I was so close....so close. But that was it. That's racing. I left the bike on its side while I sat down and attempted to collect myself. Needless to say I was an unhappy camper. I regained my composure and joked about how this husky has been nothing but issues for me. But I suppose, that's racing.
I had fun, and despite my jokes with friends that if I had another DNF this weekend that I'd be done racing, I'll be back at the races in 2 weeks time. The next race is an enduro, where I had the first one (and my first DNF). I hope to be slightly more prepared for this one, but the Husky has a few minor issues that I need to address. Easy enough, but some small ones that just piss me off. (Weak radiators that seem to break upon looking at them wrong), and a few other things.
I'll be at that enduro, and then unfortunately, the following enduro is 6.5 hours away, so I'll be going to a Harescramble closer by on August 19th, and then another harescramble on the 26th just before my birthday.
I'll post more, but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of this....overly sized IPA I've got here & watch some Game of Thrones.
PS - Thanks for words of encouragement from all. Despite the shitluck, I had quite the exciting ride today.
PPS - I forgot my GoPro today. At least it wasn't a forgotten helmet like the one race last year