Thursday, June 02, 2011
Well, not much more to say about these races really. They are a blast, amazing people, and a phenomenal workout regardless of your "sport." As a triathlete, these races expose me to some serious 'above threshold' efforts in a real race environment. They also train my bike handling skills a great deal as well to keep them sharp. And lets face it, triathletes, in general, are not known for their keen bike handling. Finally it allows me to network with other wheel riding people, that I have to say, are not so OCD, Type A, Compulsive, etc. Now, I can see you all now wrinkling your nose and scowling. I know I am part of this said group as well. I also know that there are many mt. bikers that are too... but I am pretty confident about the bike handling :) I'm just saying, it's a change of scenery. If you have not been to one...go. You will see what I am talking about.
Today's race was a big change. It was a lot more single track and more technical with tight corners and major rock sections. It is definitely not the area that I make up any time on people. I need the wide open trails...the wider the better. But for today, I would be learning. I was also a little fatigued from the 24 Hour Race efforts on Saturday and Sunday. Legs will be calling for some recovery at some point. Thank you Extreme Endurance!
I started on the front line and could not get my foot in. I went into the first corner about 10th out of 60. Not ideal. We immediately started a single track climb that I started to see a slight split. I knew not to freak out...I would let the others do that. I passed a couple guys, and we started another single track climb. The front 4 were pulling away. Patience. Things finally settled in and I figured I was with a group that I would be good with for a bit. One guy came off the lead group and we picked him up. We turned into a group of about 8, and I was riding 6. We hit some steep climbs where guys tried to move up...but then exploded over the top. After lap 1 of 2, we were down to 4. As we rounded the first corner into lap 2, I could see that Jessi made a special trip down to the race to cheer me on...or look at all the other svelte young guys :). I heard her cheer, and knew Owen was somewhere with a full belly of milk. It's so refreshing to see familiar faces (good looking ones too) that cheer your name. Makes the race feel more personal. I looked at my TIMEX Global Trainer to see how many miles a lap was so I knew when the finish would come at the end of lap 2. There were 2 guys from a local team "The Bike Hub" that did 90% of the work. The guys behind me only had an interest in getting ahead of me. The two "hubbers" navigated everything well and I was getting gapped on every technical section but could easily close on the open areas. As we rolled quickly into the last 2k or so, the road opens up. Like I have said before, when others do a lion's share of the work, I normally do not contest the finish. So I wound it up a bit and went to the front to give these guys a swift lead out. As I pulled in front of the lead guy, he took my draft. I could see the 4th guy making an effort for the finish, and I let it roll. I was hoping one of the "hubbers" would pull around me, but I think I gapped them all. As a result, I won the 4 person sprint. Wasn't really a sprint, but you get the idea. I ended up 4th overall...thanks to other people's work.
At the finish line the keg was already tapped and the rootbeer was being pulled from the cooler. Everyone has their own account of their race which is always fun to hear. Sometimes you can relate, and other times you wonder if they were on the same course.
I was looking for Jessi. Normally she can be found at the finish line where she gets the finish shots. I located her in her car with Owen...a little 'busy.' I chatted with a few more people. Robin from Fitness Fanatics was there. She was the host sponsor of this week's event. As a result Felt bikes showed up. People were able to demo their mt. bikes. Jessi emerged from the car and Owen was ready for a hug...and a diaper change. No matter how hard you ride, what place you finish, or how tired you 'think' you are...poop happens.
Here is a short video I shot on the way home from the race. Notice the guy in the brown Chevy to my right. He decides to show how cool he is by trying to 4x4 it through the water...only to flood his rig and literally become "dead in the water." He was pretty cool for about 3 seconds.