Monday, November 10, 2008

Eel Race Report

Yeah, so the Eel race happened. On Saturday. It was wet, muddy, and generally gross conditions for a race. Still, not a bad turn-out in spite of the weather. I rolled up to the rest of the Scorcher's crew, complete with fireworks, beer, crowns and Optimus Prime. It looked to be an epic race from the start. Registration, beer consumption and home-made number plates happened. Somewhere in all of this, Scorcher Dougy-Fresh came through.

The race wasn't your typical alleycat. It was about a 10mi loop that consisted of pavement, mountain bike trails, and gravelly foot-paths. The loop went up to a park, over 91, over the Founder's Bridge, into E. Hartford, back down south along the river, more single-track, back onto pavement and eventually over the 5/15 bridge back into Charter Oak Landing. (scroll down to find a link to a map for the race). 2 laps were required. Beginning in Charter Oak landing, we went north from the Gazebo. Once we made it through the parking lot, we wound up on a muddy, rock strewn path. Note-able sections included a narrow alleyway between a building and a huge retaining wall, with sharp rocks hidden under leaves just after...sketchy, leaf covered mountain bike trails, lots of rocky, rooty and fallen tree-branch landmines that tried to pull your wheels out from under you...soaking wet, slick pavement, mud puddles a foot deep (yes I rode though one, and barely made it out...heard Dougy-Fresh laughing as he watched me do it), more dark single-track once the sun set...a freshly scattered patch of leaves with a muddy streak underneath it (where someone cased for sure).

We were pretty much red-lining from the gate (just like a cross race). Good thing one of the organizers rode with us to show us the way...I definitely would have had trouble negotiating the trail sections as they weren't marked very well (event suggestion: maybe some yellow tape next year? more frequent flourescent[sp?] paint markings?) About halfway through the first loop, there were only 4 of us (not including the guy showing us the way). The group split up pretty good at the bridge going over 5/15 back down to Charter Oak Landing. I tried my best to keep up with the 2 front guys but they were making some serious headway. I got to the wooded section after completing my first lap with 2nd place jusssssst about out of sight. Realized I went the wrong way and dallied while trying to pick up the trail. Dougy-Fresh came around a corner and pretty much led me out of the woods. Sat in with him back towards downtown, heard him blow one of his shoe buckles off on a rock or a stick. We made it out of the woods and successfully dodged broken glass on the 91 overpass. Getting back to the the Founder's Bridge, I successfully avoided being squashed by a lady not paying attention (she must have hit her head she jumped so hard when I started talking to her right next to her window). Over the bridge and into East Hartford. Rode with Doug along the paved section and he led me through the woods again (thank you!). Once we were back out onto the pavement I wound up spinning away from him (I was running my cross bike w. gears, Doug was on his singlespeed). Pushed up over the bridge and back down to the finish.

When all was said and done, I took 3rd overall and 4th out of town with Doug not far behind me. A hot shower and warm, dry clothes haven't felt so well earned in a long time! Any time spent riding is a good time, fun was had by all. Thanks to the BeatBike Crew for putting the race on and thanks to the rest of the Scorchers who were there. Drew, I hope you can forgive me for botching the beer hand-up on my second lap. I'll buy you one next time...

1 comment:

doug said...

awesome time!

I saw flashes going off. where are those photos?


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