Last weekend I decided to join the race community, again. After pausing more than one year - I had a training crash in May 2008 breaking my left hands scaphoid bone - I could not resist. It was dry for weeks, the first time this summer in Germany, it was sunny, warm and only a 40 miles ride to the small village of Zierenberg near Kassel in central Germany. After paying 20 EUR fees for the 53km course and preparing myself an my bike I entered the starting area.
About 1000 participants on three different courses of 37km, 53km and 106km length were ready to rumble. This time the organizing team decided to separate the drivers of the different courses. The 106km marathon experts started 20 minutes in advance, we followed and at the end the smaller group of the "short track race" had to wait another 10 minutes. During the last years I learned from the real fast drivers: come late, occupy the front line and have an advantage when starting. Better than standing 5 minutes more in the starting block at the very end and try to overtake hundreds of other drivers later. The starting signal came suddenly and the pack hurried to enter the first an longest uphill of the race, approximatly 6 km long and about 400m uphill.
To my complete surprise I was able to follow the leading 10 drivers, in the middle of this uphill I decided to wait for another group of 15 drivers just 50m behind. It was simply a little bit too fast for me and nearly the whole track was just in front of me...I thought. So I managed to follow this second group making another beginners mistake. Never follow, try to stay in the middle! After one hour racetime we overtook the slower marathon starters. During of these actions in narrow trails our group split up. This happened two times more during the next hour. I ended up as a single driver on the last 5 kilometers. So I was able to finish on place 23 complete ranking, place 4 in my "old men" category. This was the good point. The bad one: I would like to do more races but it is nearly seasons end here.
When I close my eyes a series of late summer mountain bike snapshots flash by....

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