Finally a race that isn't 3-4 hours away, but only 90 minutes. Yay. And for this race on my "home turf" at Targhee, I went and injured myself the weekend before. Good thinking. But I went for a "friendly Thursday" ride, and didn't feel *too* much pain from the wrist sprain, so why not go racing.
Got there early and helped with registration as usual. Another small turnout, things not looking good for Ron. It was a 4.5 mile course with a cutoff as follows: beginners do 1.5 laps, sports 2.5, experts 3.5. From the start was a mile of climbing, with the first part gentler than the last half, on cat track. The rest of the course was rolling and bumpy new singletrack through forest and meadow until coming back to the lodge area and some gravel doubletrack/road.
My goal was to go easy and not exacerbate my preexisting injury. There appeared to be only one other sport/expert clydesdale despite this being the official Wyoming state championship and points race for both North and South Wild Rockies series. No sign of Mark, as promised.
Beginners got their racing out of the way at 10, then experts followed by sports at noon. Dave was also in attendance, along with a smallish field of vet sports. Away we went. As usual, I led them all out on the less-steep part, only to have them file by as it got steeper. Dave passed me shortly before the crest of the hill and immediately his crankarm fell off. He went back downhill to find a wrench. I transitioned from the relatively pain-free climbing motion to new trail with many bumps. Ow. SO I went pretty slow. There was some loose dirt in the corners, anyway, and I was definitely not going to crash again.
After a few switchbacks down the "bobsled run" the trail cut over via cat track to one more climb, with a dry streambed at the bottom that dismounted me every time. Oh well, jog up the hill. At the top of this one was the cutoff to head back after the requisite number of full laps, or roll through the meadows out in the nordic area.
It was a lovely day at 7000', and I let some more people by as I toodled through the (bumpy) meadows, but the altitude caught up with some of them and I needed to cajole them into moving a little faster to remain in front of me on the climbs. Given a long enough downhill they got enough of a gap on me that this wasn't a problem anymore. I thought I saw the other clydesdale behind me, but it turned out to be someone else wearing a blue jersey.
After a sudden surprising "rock garden" section, the trail turned into the aforementioned gravel road back to the base area and up the initial climb once more. Whee. Then the bumpy part again. Ow. Hikeabike as I fail to clean the streambed again. Meadows, dum ow de ow dum ow. Trees, rocks, ow. Zoom! Zach Shriver went by after the rocks. Last time up the first climb, at the streambed Stacy Stewart runs past. Finally I get to take the cutoff at the top of this hill and zip back down the doubletrack to the finish without getting lapped by any more experts. Yay. I still beat the other guy in my class by ten minutes, but my wrist isn't too happy about it. But hey, no more crashes today. Mission accomplished. Dave comes in a little later, having fixed his crank and then gotten to do the first climb as many times as the experts. Good for him.
Much hanging out through the awards, until they are ended by a sudden rain shower. It's over pretty quickly though, and the hanging out resumes. Waiting for Jay and Monica, actually, for they have invited Dave and I to share their cabin in Driggs with the rest of the "young staff" (teenage helpers). The cabin is just up the road from Brooke and Kelly's place, and they even jog by as we are sitting on the porch consuming chips and salsa. Card games, pizza, and thunderstorms help to while away the evening without so much as a TV - nothing on but reruns anyway. Plentiful entertainment is provided for all.
Dave takes off in the morning, but I head back up the hill with the rest of the staff to put on the dual slalom. Also the official Wyoming state championship, and also with a small turnout. Highlights of this event include timing cable trouble and my announcing in the finals when nobody else seems to be interested in the duty. I receive mixed reviews.
Then after teardown, I only have a 90-minute drive home. Bonus.