So after I crashed at Chequamegon and was hurting pretty bad I took a complete week off because I had to. After that I dont think I did a single "training" ride leading up to Berryman. I rode my bike in the woods plenty, lots of long 4 hour trips around lake Clinton and the like. I knew going down to Berryman was going to be a good challenge and I felt pretty out of shape but I figured it would be pretty fun no matter what.
Got down there Friday night and headed out for some preriding. Felt absolutely awesome, one of those rides when you wish the race was going on. Saw the Ethos crew, got some recommendations on terrible accomodations in Steeleville and headed to sleep basically.
Three miles of gravel or so and the race entered singletrack. I think I was about the 5th person into the woods. It didnt take too long and I had snuck up to 3rd and Schottler was in sight so I figured I was in fine position for 4 hours of racing. Then the trail split and I thought the BigShark jersey had gone left, he hadnt. I led Stolte and a few others a few hundred yards up the wrong trail before someone started yelling at us and we had ot cut through the woods. Schottler and Tilford were gone and we got back in line around 10th place probably. Fast forward a few hours....Im cruising down a long fireroad descent. Ive been going down for proably 5 minutes when I start to notice the trail getting worse and worse. Im about to stop when I see Bill Stolte emerge from the woods and tell me we have gone the wrong way. Basically, the race is over for us. We walk back up the hill for probably 5 minutes and there is a pack of 5-6 more coming down. We stop them and get on our bikes to pedal back up. By the top there are 20 of us and we have wasted about 15 minutes.
I start pedaling and am feeling pretty fresh and dont really care how the race ends up. I start picking off guys at a nice clip and I figure Im well into the top 10 again. Final gravel slog back to the finish, I miss a right turn that should take me to the end and I end up in the parking lot instead. I cruise around the back of the building, see the finish line and go through it, but a bunch of guys have already passed through that i had gotten by so I tell the lady not to worry about my place. Free beer and bbq was more important.
Normally I would be pretty mad about the crappy course marking. Getting off course 3 times is ridiculous. Its partly my fault that I dont pay much attention to the arrows and what not. Im used to racing on short loops that have tape and arrows all over the place so its impossible to get off course. Plus im typically pretty busy dealing with pedaling, shifting, braking, locking out shocks, etc. On top of that, during these longer races I usually dont pay much attention to anything but cadence or Ill find myself thinking about all sorts of stuff and slow way down.
I cant wait for next year. Im gonna be back with some motivation. Its the off season now.... If someone wants a place in the Iceman Cometh, I dont think Im going to make the trip.