On Saturday night I participated in my first actual mountain bike race. Since the race was a night race, I was finally motivated to spend the money on a much needed light. Bought the light on Friday afternoon, charged it and put it on the first time for the race....not a very good idea.
The race stated at the bottom of Quarry Hill Road with a mass start. Once we reached the top I was with the front pack up the service road to Fred's for the start of the single track. Probably sitting around 15-20th and then I realized my light was mounted in the worst possible place for riding. My light pointed directly in front of my tire allowing me to only see about 3 feet ahead of my bike. This made my ride more or less reaction riding than mountain biking. I pushed my helmet to the back of my head and rode the race with my neck cocked back as long and often as I could. I ended up fishing the race in 54 minutes and 36 seconds and placing 30th overall out of 53 riders. Not quite what I wanted but for my first race I will take it. Next year I will have a better idea of where to place my light, the pace I need to push and the better condition I need to be in.
The race itself was a great experience. It was described as a competitive, yet friendly ride and that was a perfect description. Trails were in great shape, race organizers and volunteers put the race together perfectly, and the weather was pretty ideal. The after party/awards at T-Bocks was also a great way to cap it off as well.