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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Race: Legend of Stanky Creek
Location: Memphis, TN
Class: Beginner 30-39

On the Tuesday before the race, I chose to ride the course as if I were racing to get an idea of what kind of time I should expect. It has been really dry here and the course was in superb shape. Stanky has the potential to retain water and be muddy in spots, but on Tuesday it was perfect. I did the loop in 52 minutes (~10 mph) with two wrong turns (these were because the beginning of the race course is different than the regular trail) and for some reason I could't make myself go all out. No worries, I should be able to improve on that time with the adrenaline flowing and other racers pushing me (maybe 11 mph/ 49 minutes).

On Saturday I head up to the trail to pre-ride the race course. I was really happy I did this too, because they had taken out a couple of technical sections and it would have really thrown me if I had to deal with this during the race. During my pre-ride the clouds move in and we get a light rain. Since the course is almost 100% wooded single track, I hardly feel any of the rain. Everything seems great.

That evening though, the skies open up and Memphis gets drenched. The next morning I’m thinking to myself that it is going to be an ugly day. The beginners don’t race until 1:30 on Sunday and I’m guessing the course will just be trashed. I get over to the course about 50 minutes before we start. I get registered and see there are 6 others in my class. Fortunately, it has been dry all day and I hear the course isn’t that bad. I do my warm-up and head to the START!

Since there were only 7 in my class, I get to line-up on the front row. We head out and I’m immediately in second place.:eek: Wow, this is really cool, my best start of the 4 races I’ve done (previously fourth was my best start). Although, the course is very deceptive! The dirt seems fairly solid, but in places it is really slick. To top it off Stanky has A TON of roots, and they are extremely slippery!!! So, I’m being extra careful in the turns. This is only the second time I’ve ridden the course when it was wet (I try to stay off wet trails, but this may have hurt me for the race). Since I’m taking the turns slower than usual I figure I will start to hear people behind me coming to pass. BUT, what’s this? No sounds, and I notice I am right on the tire of the leader.

Now strategies start rolling through my mind, (1) Do I relax and wear down the leader? (2) Is he holding back and will he blow me away at the end? (2) Since I have more in me, do I pass and try to put as much distance between us as possible? Well a few minutes later he answers the question for me. He hits a big puddle and goes down. I quickly brace myself for the puddle a go by him. He gets up and does a good job of recovering, but is a ways back.

Now I come upon 2 racers from the 19-29 beginners. I politely ask if I can pass and they are very gracious and let me by. When I pass I think I inspired them to speed up, because they are now hanging on my tail. The course is still tricky but I think I’m getting the hang of the wet stuff. That is, until I come to a large log pile. I aggressively attack the pile and clear it fine, but on the other side my front tire slips as I try to make the immediate left turn.

One, two, three and I think four racers go by. “FUDGE!!!!!!” (PG version) I start to panic just a bit. “Did two 30-39 racers just pass me?” Now I’m in third. “Crap”, I start to take a few more chances and WHOOPS fall again on a root in a sharp turn. SHOOT!!!! Now I’ll never catch-up! :madman: Calm down and just ride. This is about having fun. Relax. I settle back down and I catch and pass the 19-29 beginners again. Okay some progress is being made. Now I see the racer that was initially in the lead. What’s this? He bites it when he tries to clear a bridge over a downed tree. I clear it fine and I’m off. WOW, if I can keep this up I could get second place. If I push myself maybe I could catch the leader and fight for first.

With 3 miles left I get a glimpse of a rider way ahead of me (opposite direction on a big hairpin turn). I realize I probably can’t catch him and decide to focus on riding and improving my own time. All of a sudden it starts to pour and the course gets REALLY slippery. Now, just focus on staying upright. I make to the finish in one piece.

The race felt good, but probably slow due to the conditions. I check my time and placing,
TIME: 55:47 min, 9.69 mph
PLACE: 1st What??:eekster:

In all the confusion of my fall I miscounted how many people went by. One, two, three, NO four!

It’s fun to have some success, but I realized I really just love riding.:D
 

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Great race report. :thumbsup: I felt like I was in the race myself, and it was scary since I'm from Calif and terrible at riding wet roots. Good job on your result too. It's awesome when you place better than you thought after a race. "What, I won?!?"
 

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I saw you finish that race, we had to convince you that you were indeed in first place. As you race more you will get better at keeping up with your place when you are racing.
I hope you liked the trail, I have helped with it from the start. I'm resposible for those nice "tree bridges"
I raced Expert 40+ and had a great time, never falling in three laps, just a lot of "moments".
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great race report. I felt like I was in the race myself, and it was scary since I'm from Calif and terrible at riding wet roots. Good job on your result too. It's awesome when you place better than you thought after a race. "What, I won?!?"
Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you liked it. Race reports are fun to write, but you also want others to enjoy it too.

"What, I won?!?"
That is exactly how I felt.

Santacruzer

Even though I wasn't as tired as I thought I would be, I wasn't even paying attention at the end of the race. One other racer told me that he thought I won and I told him "I thought I took second."

I saw on the midsouthtrails.com board that you guys may be getting a group ride together. Is that still a go? I would love to ride with some more experienced guys who can leave me in the dust. It forces me to improve my skills and confidence.
 

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jspharmd said:
Santacruzer
I saw on the midsouthtrails.com board that you guys may be getting a group ride together. Is that still a go? I would love to ride with some more experienced guys who can leave me in the dust. It forces me to improve my skills and confidence.
We ride Stanky every Thursday around 5-5:30, then we do have the Ironbutt coming up on July 8th. The Ironbutt involves riding a lap of every trail in the Memphis area and riding to all the trails. Its about 50 miles of singletrack with 40 miles of roads thrown in. Look on Midsouthtrails.com for more info.
 

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Its by far and away my favorite trail around memphis. The trail is not marked that well for someone that has never been there, once you learn it you notice the marks but as a noobie there you wont get it.

Go to the website and print the map and just follow an easy rule, go clockwise, and always take a left when you get to a intersection. You will ride, blue, yellow, then white trail. The only false to that is the outhouse loop in the middle of the white you take a right to get onto it and merge back onto white with another right. just check the map.


Blue is really technical trail, yellow is great mix, and white is pretty easy and fast with lots of up and down gully/hills. baby hills but they will fool you.

Anyway great trail.


As for the original poster my friend and I were going to race that same beginner class ride, but I had to work till 4am the night before and I was just too tired. I am running 44-45 min laps out there too ;)
 
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