Saturday my brother, Rush, his dog Helmutt, his friend, Sam, and myself loaded into the VW van and headed up to the Xterra venue for a pre-ride. This was all Wendy Simms fault, she suggested I do an Xterra as I have run, swam and cycled competitively and Xterra have prize lists the likes of which are not even dreamed about in mountain biking.
After arriving at Yellow Creek state park and securing a campsite at a shady (not just from trees) campground we headed out for a preview of the mountain bike course. For the most part things went really well. Along fire roads, up some single track, down some more fire roads across a creek ... then it all went wrong. Not with my bike but with Sam's bike. He ripped his derailleur right off the bike. My brother was off the front somewhere so I told Sam to start walking while I caught my bro and got a chain tool.
Several miles later I caught up to Rush and we headed back to find Sam. Another racer had stopped to help with the singulation of Sam's bike. This took a long time and it didn't work out so well because the hanger had broken off high up and the quick release did grab enough so the wheel kept going crooked. Rush and I realized that the course went right past the campground so we sent Sam to the campsite then headed off to the van. At this point the sun had set and the evening was just getting started.
I had told my brother that I was taking care of the food, assuming that he would bring kitchen stuff for cooking. He did, kind of. As Sam worked on his bike and Helmutt wandered off, I made the discovery that we had no pot for cooking our pasta. Crap. It was wonder doggie to the rescue, Helmutt had packed a stainless steel bowl for drinking which us humans quickly conscripted as a pasta cooking bowl. With dinner out of the way it was time for bed, three of us and the doggie squeezed into the tent in hopes of a few hours of shuteye.
Morning came much too soon with not enough sleep. At registration I asked how we started, being a complete newbie I wasn't sure if we split up between men and women or age groups or beginner and expert. Mass start was the answer, we can walk into the water then it's a free for all. That's something I can deal with, it couldn't be nearly as hectic as the start of a World Cup cross race or bunch sprint in a crit.
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