On Friday morning, after my wife found out that the Massasoit Lung Challenge in Taunton, MA was cancelled, she suggested I race the Fat Tire instead. At first I thought she was teasing me, but after several: "you're not f'ing w/ me?", and "you really won't mind at ALL?", I was getting my bike race ready and went for a quick leg testing ride. I of course broke several spokes on that ride, but was able to drop the bike off at Caster's on 4th, and had Freddie taking care of me! Picked up the bike on Saturday, cleaned and ready to go! Fred's the man!
Every year, I write the same sh*t about the Fat Tire Classic, so here is the copied and pasted part of my 2012 entry:
"I know many Mtb riders/racers who complain about the Winding Trails (WT) race. "Not techy enough", or "you can ride w/ a cross bike", and "it's a roadie course & all the roadies show up". All of these are true, but despite that, I have always liked WT. After most winters, my tech skills are barely out of hibernation and still need lots of stretching, so it's a nice way to start out the season as I can concentrate on just fitness (or lack thereof!). And it is a fitness course! A fast course that you need to pedal all the way around w/ no recovery whatsoever They have over the years worked hard to address some of the above complaints and have done as well as can be given the terrain that is there."
This year though they tried to add some small new sections, it was still a rehash of the same course we have been on for the past 10+ years. Time to race it backwards to mix things up a bit! I made the suggestion on the Rt66 Fb page, and someone responded that they are looking into it.
The weather was perfect: sunny and crisp. The crowd was larger than last year (then the weather kept folks at home), and I estimated about 30 lined up. It was the usual start on the sandy fire road that required a careful line to not either go over the edge off the road or get stuck in the soft sand. Somehow and unintentionally I found myself towards the front of the line up. When we went off, I was in the top 10 and was able to clear the lines w/ out traffic interference. Being off the front allowed me to single file it into the off camber single track on the side of the hill w/out having to navigate the traffic jam that happens when more than 1/2 of the field vies for the same line. As we hit the fire road, I got passed by a few of guys who had gotten stuck and was able to grab a wheel. I could see all the front runners and keep them in sight. The pace was really fast but somehow I was holding on...for the time being. We blew through the first lap at a crazy pace and I also blew through all my matches! Now, I was fried w/ three laps to go! Uh oh...
On the second lap, I had to significantly slow it down and even started to wonder if I was going to be able to finish the race. I was so fried, I was contemplating a DNF. Maybe pull over and fake a mechanical. A few riders passed me and I had nothing in the tank to pursue. When a few more went by, I decided I just had to chase and was able to settle in a more sustainable pace. I was able to stay on for most of the second and third lap. Since it was really a roady style course, I attempted to give back and take a pull but quickly blew up, and had to settle in my own pace. I stayed in no man's land for a while with the main goal being to just finish. Pj passed me 1/3 into the last lap and I stayed w/ him for most of the lap, which helped wrap this damn thing up.
As I was waiting for results, someone told me I finished 7th. I was quite shocked and needed to verify for myself. The number on the results sheet were faded and it was easy to miss that there was a "1" in front of that seven! So it was 17th out of 29. Not great but better than a DNF!