I didn't know a single person that was going to be there, other than in the "I read your blog" sense, so when I showed up and got ready, I kinda stayed on the fringes of the group. The people I recognized I knew were really fast, and seeing how I had never ridden that trail before, I stayed toward the back of the group when the ride began. The course was quite different than I expected, so I wasn't able to ride very fast at the beginning, and therefore quickly lost contact with the guys in front of me. Too many roots and tight turns. After dropping into the "Gully" and walking out, I ended up following a nice woman named Ann(ie?) for the rest of the lap. This was great, I got to learn the trail from a local who was riding the same pace as I was.
At the end of the lap, I said thank you, and headed out for another. This lap was much better, and I was pleased to find that I remembered most of the sections that I needed to remember. Back in the parking lot, as I was getting ready to pack up my bike, a couple of the BMCC guys came over. One of them, Tim W., had some nice things to say about my bike, and was super helpful answering a bunch of questions I had about raceday at Swanson. Thanks Tim!
It was mentioned that part of the TNR involves getting food afterward, but I needed to head back to Lincoln. Overall, a really fun night, on a cool trail. I hope to make it back up for another TNR.
Just a couple of notes about the course:
- Tim indicated that in the past the "Gully" had been taped off for the race. I'm kind of hoping thats true for Saturday, because I can just imagine the potential carnage.
- This course requires absolute focus. Some of the corners would be downright dangerous if you were to blow through them. There's one particular downhill switchback that is really easy to carry too much speed into.
- If you've never been there before it will definitely be worth your time to get there early on Saturday to do a pre-ride. In my opinion, bike handling will be just as important as fitness for this race. Plus, it will help to close the gap on all the Omaha racers riding their 'home' course.
- Some of the newer sections are really bumpy. My hands and arms were feeling it by the end of the night. I even ended up with a blister on my left hand. I'm still learning how to ride this rigid bike on rough terrain.