For about the past 3 weeks or so I have been thinking that I need to add more Stans to my tires. I would spin them and hear nothing. No liquid. On the other hand they were still holding air just fine. So even though I knew better, I headed off to a 6 hour race with dried up Stans in my tires.
The race itself was going well. Some heavy hitters showed up as well as the usual WEMS folk. (This is cool because it looks like the WEMS races are becoming more and more a thing to do for some of the real fast guys in the area.) The warm-up for quite a few of us consisted mostly of standing around and the Le Mans start. I took the start easy but fast enough to hit the single track about 10th out of the single and duo riders. I didn't want to go too hard and blow up early. I rode with Ron K. a bit but he was having some troubles with the rocky corners so I went around him. I settled into my 6 hour pace and slowly picked off a few more riders.
That is until at the 5 mile mark(9 mile laps) I felt my handling get really screwy. It was very floppy if I leaned the bike at all. My front tire was very low, not flat yet, but low. I decided to push through the lap and find a pump at the turn around since at that point I thought I burped some air out. In retrospect, I probably should have filled it out on the course, seeing how riding wet trails with 10 pounds of pressure in your front tire is a leg eater.
I got back to the turnaround and asked around for a pump and started filling up. There Matt G. was adjusting his shock pressure for the rocky trails. I got back into the woods after a few minutes and Matt joined me a few minutes later. We rode together for a while, trying to pull back a small group that didn't stop at the turnaround. But after about 4 miles I realized I was doing too much work trying to follow Matt so I backed off slightly. Which is funny because we passed each other right outside the turnaround of lap 2, so I probably should have just stayed with him.
It was in mile 2 of lap 3 that I realized I hadn't just burped air in the front tire, it was leaking. I stopped and put almost a full CO2 into it to get it back to about 30 pounds. The rest of the lap was filled with decision making. I really wanted to do 6 laps, but I didn't want to do it if I wasn't racing. I didn't think I had it in me to actually take the time to put a tube in and then make up the lost time, and I didn't want to ride a flat front and constantly refill it either. Besides, running it flat wasn't safe on those trails.
So, I resolved that I was done with a few miles left on my 3rd lap. I cruised in, then contemplated going out again after talking to Brett and Marcin, I thought maybe I was just not feeling it, which I could have sucked it up and pushed through. But after I squeezed my tire I remembered why I was calling it a day.
I still had fun and I was glad I went and finally raced. The fitness is starting to come together and I think I am in a good spot for this time of year. (I'll try to get some pictures next time.)